Mention Bordeaux and you will spark thoughts all around the world of good wine. As you travel through the vineyards by bike on carefully chosen routes you will experience much more of the Gironde. Unique castles will catch your eye, rivers meander their way across beautiful countryside, the unspoilt Natural Park, oyster beds and the Atlantic coast add a multitude of dimensions to your journey. This is an easy-going, hotel-based on-road cycle tour exploring the delights of the Gironde region. Best known for the vineyards that produce Bordeaux wines, this area that stretches south of the Dordogne and west to the Atlantic also harbours shady forests, the Garonne River, quaint rural villages and enormous sand dunes on the coast. Apart from the rolling nature of some of the vineyards, the ride is generally flattish and covers modest daily distances. There will be plenty of time for relaxing, looking around and perhaps having a few long lunches. All in all it is a leisurely tour for enjoying the ample delights of rural France - and especially the great Bordeaux wines.
This trip is graded introductory to moderate (grade 2) with daily cycling distances from 20 to 53km/12.5 to 33mi. The terrain is relatively flat, with short climbs out of the river valleys onto the intervening vineyard areas. This makes cycling easy and enjoyable.
Make your own way to Bordeaux. When you arrive at the railway station or the airport you will be transferred to the first accommodation. Your hosts will hand over your road book, bike and any extra documentation there. The area is in the middle of the wine growing area and dinner will be served in the Bacchus/guesthouse or a nearby restaurant. Overnight in Rions or Cadillac - we use one of 3 guesthouses or hotels (3*) tonight depending on availability.
Today's cycle takes you into the ‘Entre-Deux-Mer’ area, through the Premieres Cotes de Bordeaux wine growing area. Enjoy superb views of the Garonne River and visit the charming old merchant town Saint Macaire. A short cycle from town are the former residence of artist Henri Toulouse-Lautrec, Chateau Malrome, and of writer Francois Mauriac, Domaine de Malagar. Saint Macaire is an old ‘bastide’ town and the chateau is worth a look. Overnight in Saint Macaire in a 3* hotel in the heart of the medieval city. This was an old merchant’s house dating from the 16th century and has been completely renovated to provide the perfect combination of the beauty of local heritage and the latest modern facilities. If there no availability, accommodation will be in a charming guesthouse in Caudrot (7km/4.5mi further on). Dinner is included tonight.
From the village of Saint Macaire you cross to the left bank of the Garonne River and follow the twisting roads through the world famous vines of the Sauternes area, including the jewel in its crown, Chateau Yquem. You pedal on to Budos then through valleys carved out by the River Ciron to Leogats and Nouaillan. Continue to Balizac where you enter the ‘Landes de Gascogne Regional Nature Park,’ before reaching Origne, where you stay overnight.
Your accommodation tonight is a charming guesthouse located in the centre of the village. Dinner is included.
Today’s ride takes you through the Regional Nature Park. You will be riding along a lovely little forest road offering great scenic variety and taking you westwards. Heading towards Louchats, the pine forest becomes denser and the scent of pine resin richer. Leave your bike at the site of the lagoons of Gat–Mort to discover the water beneath the ferns. The lakes of Hosten offer plenty of shade by the shore, perfect for an afternoon nap! Continue cycling along the track, between pine trees and heather, to the small town of Le Barp. Overnight in a 2* hotel, stone built, with a swimming pool and terrace shaded by vines. This hotel closes on Sunday nights except in July & August, so bear this in mind when organising your holiday.
Today you begin with a gentle cycle along the bike track to Mios, where you join a minor road as the pine forest gradually thins. Crossing over the railway line takes you to Le Teich, where the Park meets the sea. You can have a look around the ornithological park and take a break. From here you take the coastal path, with the salt from the bay under your wheels, and follow the scent of the sea air to Gujan-Mestras. In your own time, continue to your hotel in Arcachon, a 3* hotel in the heart of the town, 150m / 492ft from the beach. The hotel has comfortable standard rooms, living room and a shady garden. Dinner is included.
From Arcachon, you can keep cycling to the Atlantic seaboard and visit the Dune du Pyla, the highest dune in Europe, where you can leave your bike and climb to the top for great views (approx. 20km/12.5mi return).
Today you can take the boat with your bike across the Bay of Arcachon to reach Cap Ferret and ride on the other side of the bay. Leave your bike to walk up to the top of the lighthouse and then pedal on to reach the very pretty oyster village of l’Herbe, some reservoirs and the ‘Tapper’s Shack.’ You must however be careful not to miss the last boat departure back across the bay.
Alternatively or additionally, and if you didn't yesterday, cycle to the Dune du Pyla, the highest sand dune in Europe. Overnight in Arcachon. Dinner is at leisure so you are free to sample one of the local restaurants.
Leaving your bikes behind in Arcachon, you take the train to Bordeaux (approx 50 mins, ticket not included). Although you won’t have access to your room until later in the day, the hotel won’t mind you leaving your bags so that you can go out and explore Bordeaux, which is home to an appealing variety of historic buildings and museums. Overnight in a 3* centrally located hotel, which makes it easy to access all the sights and sounds of this wonderful city.
Depart after breakfast. The standard hotel is located within walking distance of the airport shuttle bus.
Per Person, Twin Share