Chateaux, Rivers & Wine (vkcrw)
Cruise Name: Chateaux, Rivers & Wine
Start: Bordeaux Finish: Bordeaux
Cruise Operator: Viking
Cruise Code: vkcrw
Countries Visited: France
AU $4,219 pp
Fly to Bordeaux. We meet you at the airport and take you to your ship. The rest of the day is yours to relax or explore Bordeaux on your own. Second only to Paris in French historic monuments, Bordeaux's thoughtfully preserved 18th-century urban areas make it a desirable film location, and its graceful port on the Garonne River is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. We remain docked overnight.
Bordeaux & Cadillac, France
Tour the city center this morning and see some of Bordeaux's highlights, including the Place des Quinconces, one of the largest squares in Europe; the neoclassical Grand Théâtre de Bordeaux; and several spectacular churches. Visit the Musée d'Aquitaine for a guided tour of the collections that highlight the region's triangular trade route and Bordeaux's position in it. Later this afternoon, we sail upstream along the Garonne River to Cadillac, a small town with a towering castle that gave its name to the American car brand.
Cadillac (Sauternes), France
Begin your day with a tour of Cadillac then head across the river for your excursion to Sauternes where you will learn how the area's sweet dessert wines are made, and taste some examples during your tour.
Libourne (Saint-Émilion), France
Disembark this morning for a leisurely stroll to Libourne's picturesque city square, lined with buildings dating as far back as the 16th century; or take part in one of two optional excursions: an exploration of the Bergerac area in the Dordogne to learn more about truffles, a great French delicacy; or a wine tasting, at a nearby château, of some local vintages from the Saint-Émilion and Pomerol appellations. Later, take a tour to Saint-Émilion, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, where you see the town's superb medieval lanes and delightful views of the surrounding vineyards from the upper town. Spend a pleasant afternoon exploring the town's streets and shops.
Blaye & Bourg, France
Blaye boasts an extraordinary 17th-century citadel, dramatically set on a rock beside the river, incorporating the ruins of an ancient Gothic château that contains the tomb of Charibert II, king of Aquitaine. Legend has it that the Frankish hero Roland, who served Charlemagne, is also buried here. The citadel of Blaye, its city walls and two other forts are collectively listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Take a guided tour of the citadel, then enjoy some free time in Blaye. Return aboard for lunch, and later take an afternoon stroll through the historic village of Bourg. Or, you may choose to take an optional excursion to the charming medieval town of Cognac, birthplace of one of the world's best-known types of brandy. Here, you will tour the Camus family business, one of the most tradition-steeped Cognac houses in the area, and try your hand at blending.
Pauillac (Margaux), France
We sail downstream this morning, passing islands and gentle slopes, arriving in Pauillac in the early afternoon. Enjoy a wine country tour featuring several wine-tasting opportunities, including the area's famous full-flavored Margaux. Travel through the rolling vineyard-laced hills to dinner at a château, accompanied by the château's own wines. Relax aboard your ship this evening, or explore Pauillac's marina and the Plaza Lafayette, where the Marquis de Lafayette set sail to the New World. Pauillac, the undisputed capital of the Médoc wine region, is home to Châteaux Lafite Rothschild, Latour and Mouton Rothschild, among others. Before returning to your ship, catch a glimpse of the Île de Patiras lighthouse in the middle of the Gironde.
Relax aboard your ship this morning as we make our way back to Bordeaux. You have the afternoon at leisure, giving you more time to appreciate the well-preserved architecture of Jacques Ange Gabriel and son, and to taste the city's cuisine and wine appellations. Perhaps pick up a few bottles to take home with you. You won't want to miss the Place de la Bourse, with its mirror-like reflecting pool, impressive by day but absolutely stunning at night. You also have the option of taking a full-day excursion to Arcachon, a commune on the Atlantic coast, to see the Victorian-era villas, walk on the boardwalk and taste the oysters, a local delicacy. Or, you have the option of participating in a market visit with the Viking Chef to see where the local chefs of Bordeaux find their fruit, vegetables, meats and fish.
After a final onboard breakfast, disembark and we take you to the airport for your flight home. * Or, extend your journey with three nights in Paris.