Chateaux, Rivers & Wine

Main destination France · About River or Ocean Cruises

Chateaux, Rivers & Wine

Main destination France · About River or Ocean Cruises

iscover the ports, vineyards, farms and forests of Aquitaine, once Europe’s richest kingdom. See Bordeaux’s fountains and cellars. Hunt for truffles in Périgord, then taste them in a home-cooked meal. Create your own personal blend of Cognac at the Camus distillery. Savor France’s finest oysters fresh from the bay at Arcachon. Sip Saint-Émilion, Médoc and Sauternes in their own terroir on an 8-day cruise through Bordeaux—a region synonymous with fine wine and finer living.

Itinerary Overview

Day 1— Bordeaux, France

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. Later this evening, you may want to join an escorted evening walk of Bordeaux. While its monuments are beautiful during the day, they are stunning at night. (D)

Day 2— Bordeaux, 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. (B, L, D)

Day 3— Cadillac (Sauternes), France

Begin your day with a walking tour of Cadillac and then head across the river for your excursion to Sauternes. View picturesque landscapes where vineyards blanket the countryside hills and visit a château to learn how their prized wines are made. Enjoy a tasting before returning to your ship. (B, L, D)

Day 4— Libourne, 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 this afternoon, 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. (B, L, D)

Day 5— Bourg & Blaye, France

Enjoy a leisurely morning in Bourg as you take a stroll through the historic village. 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 take a tour of the Camus family business, one of the most tradition-steeped Cognac houses in the area, and try your hand at blending. During lunch, your ship sets sail for Blaye. This afternoon, take a guided tour of the extraordinary 17th-century citadel, dramatically set on a rock beside the river. The citadel of Blaye, its city walls and two other forts are collectively listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. (B, L, D)

Day 6— Pauillac, France

Relax on board your ship this morning as we sail downstream, passing islands and gentle slopes, arriving in Pauillac in the early afternoon. Enjoy a wine country tour and tasting, including the area’s famous full-flavored Margaux. This evening, travel through the rolling vineyard-laced hills to dinner at a château, accompanied by the château’s own wines. (B, L, D)

Day 7— Bordeaux, France

Enjoy a final morning of cruising 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. Alternatively, you may choose from a number of optional excursions. Take a full-day tour to Arcachon, a commune on the Atlantic coast. Enjoy a boat ride along the estuary to Cap Ferret, and taste the oysters, a local delicacy. Perhaps learn how wine barrels are made and enjoy the vintage aged within them on an insightful excursion. Or, participate in a market visit with the Viking Chef to see where the local chefs of Bordeaux find their fruit, vegetables, meats and fish. (B, L, D)

Day 8 — Bordeaux, France

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. (B)

* Ground transfers are included with Viking Air purchase.

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Terms, conditions and restrictions apply; pricing, availability, and other details subject to change and/ or apply to US or Canadian residents. Please confirm details and booking information with your travel advisor.

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