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Brilliant Bordeaux

8 Days | Bordeaux to Bordeaux

4.4/5  266 reviews

from
$2,199

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Brilliant Bordeaux
  • 8 days
  • 1 country
  • UNESCO

Uncover the proud legacy and heritage of Southwest France.

Set sail along three stunning rivers, the Garonne, Dordogne and Gironde, on one fascinatingly historical and invigorating journey. Explore the country’s breathtaking backdrops, wines and cultural treasures across the region in Bordeaux, Fort Médoc, Cadillac, Blaye, Libourne and more. Wander through archaeological marvels, historic landmarks and magnificent vineyards where you’ll be treated to a sampling of quintessentially French experiences.

Embark on a scenic drive from Blaye to Bourg along the Route de la Corniche Fleurie and marvel at the sights of Blaye Fortress and Lansac Windmill along the way. Slow things down in Libourne and on your return to Bordeaux with multiple wine tastings, village tours, a farmers’ market visit and Bordeaux heritage walking tour. Join us on a showcase of the best Southwest France has to offer.

Brilliant Bordeaux Map
LEGEND
  • UNESCO
  • Motorcoach
  • Embark/Disembark
Note: The itineraries presented are subject to modification due to water levels, closures because of public holidays or other uncontrollable factors. Every effort will be made to operate programs as planned, but changes may still be necessary throughout the cruise. This day-to-day schedule is subject to change. Your final day-to-day schedule will be provided onboard on the first day of your cruise.
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Day 1

Bordeaux (Embark)

Bordeaux

Arrive at Bordeaux-Mérignac International Airport. If your cruise package includes a group arrival transfer or if you have purchased a private arrival transfer, you will be greeted by a Uniworld representative and transferred to the ship.

Note: For Arrival, Departure and Transfer details, please visit Uniworld.com/transfers. For Port Location details, please visit Uniworld.com/ports.
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Day 2

Cadillac

The French phrase “la douceur de vivre” is an accurate description for your time in Cadillac, known for its deliciously flavored dessert wines. Visit Château Royal de Cazeneuve, site of Henry IV’s and Queen Margot’s tempestuous love. Meet the owner around a glass of Sauternes in the reception hall.

In the evening, a special Captain’s Welcome Reception and Dinner will be prepared for you.

Note: Sailing this stretch of the Garonne depends on the tides. If it is not possible to sail to Cadillac, you will be transferred to your destination via motorcoach.

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Private owner's tour of Royal Château with Sauternes toast

You’ll journey through the vineyards to Château Royal de Cazeneuve, a polygonal 14th-century fortress with a royal pedigree. A favored residence of Henry IV, who inherited it from his mother, Jeanne d’Albret. The beautifully restored château still belongs to descendants of...

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Private owner's tour of Royal Château with Sauternes toast

You’ll journey through the vineyards to Château Royal de Cazeneuve, a polygonal 14th-century fortress with a royal pedigree. A favored residence of Henry IV, who inherited it from his mother, Jeanne d’Albret. The beautifully restored château still belongs to descendants of the Albret family. After your intimate visit you will meet Louis and Caroline de Sabran-Pontevès, the owner and his wife for a Sauternes toast, sampling the unique perfume and flavor of the area.

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The colorful life of Toulouse Lautrec at Château de Malromé

Uncover the history of artist Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec with a visit to Château Malromé. Originally the home of his mother, Adèle, Malromé would soon inspire much of his artwork. As one of the best painters of the post-impressionist period, Toulouse-Lautrec is known for...

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The colorful life of Toulouse Lautrec at Château de Malromé

Uncover the history of artist Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec with a visit to Château Malromé. Originally the home of his mother, Adèle, Malromé would soon inspire much of his artwork. As one of the best painters of the post-impressionist period, Toulouse-Lautrec is known for his distinctive and colorful take on Paris in the late 1800s as well as his fascination with Moulin Rouge dancers and famous singers, who were prominent in much of his work. Venture to the nearby town of Verdelais, where you’ll notice two beautiful central walkways lined with trees and 19th-century façades. It is in Verdelais’ cemetery that Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec is buried. After, you’ll be treated to an absinthe tasting at Café les Pèlerins.

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Day 3

Cussac Fort Médoc

The legendary Médoc region abounds with prestigious wine châteaux in a dizzying array of architectural styles, as well as miles of grapevines stretching to infinity. Take a scenic drive through the storied Médoc wine route, followed by a wine tasting at a beautiful wine estate.

Featured Excursion

Fresh Médoc oysters tasting

Fresh Médoc oysters tasting

Fresh Médoc oysters tasting

Choose between...

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“Let’s Go” bike in the Médoc vineyards

Combine fresh air, gorgeous scenery and fine wine with a bicycle ride among the prestigious Médoc vineyards. Meet your guide and mount your bicycle in Pauillac and wheel out of town, pedaling through the lush landscapes of historic estates that have seemingly remained unchanged for...

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“Let’s Go” bike in the Médoc vineyards

Combine fresh air, gorgeous scenery and fine wine with a bicycle ride among the prestigious Médoc vineyards. Meet your guide and mount your bicycle in Pauillac and wheel out of town, pedaling through the lush landscapes of historic estates that have seemingly remained unchanged for centuries. Truly experience the atmosphere—the earth, the sunshine—of this famous wine-growing region.

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Médoc Châteaux route with private wine tasting

In 1855, when Napoleon III asked for a classification of the best wines in France to give visitors, some 60 Médoc wines were awarded Grand Cru status—out of 61 total. A panoramic tour of this legendary landscape takes you from Pauillac to the tip of the Médoc peninsula, past...

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Médoc Châteaux route with private wine tasting

In 1855, when Napoleon III asked for a classification of the best wines in France to give visitors, some 60 Médoc wines were awarded Grand Cru status—out of 61 total. A panoramic tour of this legendary landscape takes you from Pauillac to the tip of the Médoc peninsula, past storied vineyards of the region, including Château Latour, Mouton Rothschild and Pichon Longueville Baron, and through the villages of Margaux, Saint-Julien and Saint-Estèphe. You might be surprised to discover that the peninsula is only three miles wide, though it is 50 miles long, and the road carries you past a dizzying array of architectural styles— Renaissance, Greek Revival and medieval—as well as miles of grapevines. You’ll turn off the road and enter one of these estates for a private tour and a tasting of premier Grand Cru wines—but you won’t know which one of these exceptional châteaux is your destination until you open your invitation.

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Day 4

Blaye, Bourg sur Gironde

Blaye

The Route de la Corniche Fleurie…could this be the most beautiful road you’ve ever traveled? Find out today on the drive to Blaye Fortress, passing through one impossibly picturesque hamlet after another. Once you arrive, you’ll discover the wonders of this historic fortress, a UNESCO-designated citadel that once protected Bordeaux from attacks by sea.

Choose between...

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Intimate Experience with Local Wine & Art Connoisseurs

Intimate Experience with Local Wine & Art Connoisseurs

Intimate Experience with Local Wine & Art Connoisseurs

or

Panoramas of Route de la Corniche Fleurie with Blaye Fortress

This little road between Blaye and Bourg-sur-Gironde winds through picturesque hamlets with equally picturesque names—Pain de Sucre, Marmisson and Roque de Thau among them—limestone cliffs on one side, the Gironde on the other. Fishing huts on stilts stand above the waters of the...

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Panoramas of Route de la Corniche Fleurie with Blaye Fortress

This little road between Blaye and Bourg-sur-Gironde winds through picturesque hamlets with equally picturesque names—Pain de Sucre, Marmisson and Roque de Thau among them—limestone cliffs on one side, the Gironde on the other. Fishing huts on stilts stand above the waters of the estuary; charming 19th-century stone houses built by sea captains sit tidily along the road. Many of these captains traveled to far-off places and returned with exotic plants, which they planted in their gardens and along the road (hence the route’s name). But the history of these cliffs extends far beyond the 19th century—people have inhabited the area for thousands of years.

Upon returning to Blaye, your guide will take you through the 17th-century demilune-shaped citadel built by famed military engineer Vauban. This fortress design was the one Vauban, Louis XIV’s favorite military engineer, found most satisfactory, and he built some 300 of them in the Sun King’s realm. The citadel contains the ruins of a medieval castle, houses, squares, streets, even a convent, all enclosed within stark walls. If you stand on top of those walls, you will have a terrific view of the estuary— this view was the field of fire, giving the citadel command of the river.

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Day 5

Libourne (Saint-Émilion)

Libourne

With Libourne as your base, travel to nearby breathtaking Saint-Émilion and immerse yourself more deeply in the region’s history and wine culture. The medieval town of Saint-Émilion is an ideal place to linger. Wander its cobblestone lanes lined with wine shops and bakeries, and stop to admire the amazing rock-hewn church that extends beneath the city’s streets. Another treasure awaiting you underground? A wine tasting in the cellars of a Grand Cru estate.

Note: Today's lunch will be on your own; ask your Cruise Manager for recommendations on the best nearby restaurants.

Featured Excursion

Saint-Émilion walking tour with wine tasting

Hilltop Saint-Émilion offers both exceptional architecture and historic vineyards. The Romans were the first to plant grapes here, and this was the first vineyard region to be protected by UNESCO because of its history. Shops brimming with wine and wine tools line the steep cobblestone...

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Saint-Émilion walking tour with wine tasting

Hilltop Saint-Émilion offers both exceptional architecture and historic vineyards. The Romans were the first to plant grapes here, and this was the first vineyard region to be protected by UNESCO because of its history. Shops brimming with wine and wine tools line the steep cobblestone streets; medieval ramparts that bore witness to battles for control between French and English monarchs still stand; and vineyards encroach upon the village. Of all the sights, however, perhaps the most extraordinary is the 12th-century church carved into a cliff. Only the tower is above ground; the rest of the church is subterranean. Its numerous underground galleries provided refuge during periods of strife, and include the grotto where St. Émilion, for whom the town is named, lived out his life in the ninth century. You have to see it for yourself—you’ll be amazed by its almost unfathomable construction. After touring Saint-Émilion, you’ll visit the cellars of a premier Grand Cru estate where you’ll taste some of the world’s most highly rated wines.

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Day 6

Libourne, Bordeaux

France’s rich agricultural tradition is the heart and soul of the region’s exquisite cuisine—and what better way to get a taste for the freshest vegetables, cheeses, breads and fruits than with a visit to Libourne’s lively farmers’ market?

Featured Excursions

Libourne “Village Day” with farmer's market

How could you visit this rich agricultural land without delving into a farmer's market? Libourne’s market is the heart and soul of the town; everyone comes here to choose the freshest vegetables, the ripest cheeses, the most luscious fruits, the loveliest flowers, and to chat with the...

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Libourne “Village Day” with farmer's market

How could you visit this rich agricultural land without delving into a farmer's market? Libourne’s market is the heart and soul of the town; everyone comes here to choose the freshest vegetables, the ripest cheeses, the most luscious fruits, the loveliest flowers, and to chat with the producers and growers. Check out the stalls brimming with produce in the market square, then duck into the covered market and savor the enticing aromas of bread and cheese, fish and meat. After exploring the market, you and a small group of other travelers will be invited to push open the doors of ateliers, homes and shops, meeting the artisans who make some of the goods arrayed so enticingly in the market.

Nights Out: After Hours at the Bassins des Lumières

Bordeaux’s Port de la Lune is home to a submarine base with a checkered past. Originally built during the German occupation of France in WWII, and later the target of allied bombings, this building has since attracted artists who wish to reclaim the site for beauty and culture. Its stark...

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Nights Out: After Hours at the Bassins des Lumières

Bordeaux’s Port de la Lune is home to a submarine base with a checkered past. Originally built during the German occupation of France in WWII, and later the target of allied bombings, this building has since attracted artists who wish to reclaim the site for beauty and culture. Its stark walls and history have served as a poignant backdrop to artistic installations for decades. Tonight, you’ll experience this for yourself at the Bassins des Lumières, a stunning and immersive light show projected against the walls of the base.

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Day 7

Bordeaux

Discover Bordeaux’s many charms today, either on foot with a local expert or on two wheels—the locals’ preferred way to navigate the city’s charming backstreets. You have a wonderful selection of active opportunities to see this magnificent UNESCO World Heritage Site.

In the evening, a special Captain’s Farewell Reception and Dinner will be prepared for you.

Choose between...

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”Let’s Go” bike Bordeaux backstreets

Hop on a bike and wheel with your expert guide along the Quai des Chartrons, a riverfront neighborhood that was the purview of British wine merchants back when they dominated the wine trade. It fell on hard times in the 20th century, but the tall merchant houses have since been reclaimed; now they...

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”Let’s Go” bike Bordeaux backstreets

Hop on a bike and wheel with your expert guide along the Quai des Chartrons, a riverfront neighborhood that was the purview of British wine merchants back when they dominated the wine trade. It fell on hard times in the 20th century, but the tall merchant houses have since been reclaimed; now they house welcoming shops and cafés. Pedal past the antiques shops of Rue Notre Dame and the Church of St. Louis on your way to major city squares such as the Bourse and Parliament before heading back to the ship along the banks of the Garonne. Of course your outing will include a stop for refreshments at one of the delightful cafés you pass.

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“Do as the Locals Do” Bordeaux walking tour

Catch a tram at the Quai des Chartrons to the Place de la Comédie, the heart of Bordeaux’ Golden Triangle. Though Bordeaux was the capital of Aquitaine in the Middle Ages and has its share of Gothic churches, it reached its apex in the 18th century. The splendid honey-colored stone...

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“Do as the Locals Do” Bordeaux walking tour

Catch a tram at the Quai des Chartrons to the Place de la Comédie, the heart of Bordeaux’ Golden Triangle. Though Bordeaux was the capital of Aquitaine in the Middle Ages and has its share of Gothic churches, it reached its apex in the 18th century. The splendid honey-colored stone buildings from this era make up a city core that UNESCO has designated a World Heritage Site (this is the district that inspired Baron Haussmann when he redesigned Paris at the behest of Napoleon III). Trade with the French colonies built this handsome district, furnishing vanilla, sugar, spices and cocoa to inventive chocolatiers and bakers, who used these goods to create iconic desserts. Chocolate, once a Spanish monopoly, became part of Bordeaux’ culinary heritage when banished Spanish Jews brought the art of chocolate-making to France. What are Bordeaux’ present-day residents enjoying when they step inside the luxurious food halls and elegant shops in this neighborhood? Find out as you sample the delicious handiwork of Bordeaux’ bakers, as well as cheeses and chocolates—learn a few recipes, too!

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Day 8

Bordeaux (Disembark)

Disembark the ship. If your cruise package includes a group departure transfer or if you have purchased a private departure transfer, you will be transferred to Bordeaux-Mérignac International Airport for your flight home.

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Optional Extension

Paris

Paris

No visit to France would be complete without seeing the city that is widely regarded as the most beautiful in the world—Paris. Nothing compares to the charm of its neighborhoods, the grandeur of its awe-inspiring architecture and monuments, or the cosmopolitan elegance of its boulevards. Delve into the delights this magnificent city has to offer, from the Eiffel Tower and the Champs-Élysées to the quaint neighborhood cafés beloved by locals.

  • 2 nights at the Hôtel du Louvre (or similar)
  • Breakfast daily and all service charges, taxes and porterage
  • Opera Garnier Discovery Walk (or similar)
  • English-speaking expert
  • All transfers

Click here for full details.

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What's Included

Dining

  • All meals onboard, prepared using the finest and freshest ingredients
  • 7 breakfasts, 5 lunches, 7 dinners
  • Captain’s Welcome and Farewell Receptions
  • Welcome and Farewell Gala Dinners
  • Unlimited beverages onboard, including fine wine, beer, spirits, specialty coffee and tea, soft drinks and mineral water

Excursions

  • 6 days of excursions, including “Choice Is Yours” options, all fully hosted by English-speaking local experts
  • Guided “Let's Go,” “Do as the Locals Do” and “Village Day” programs
  • State-of-the-art Quietvox portable audio-headset system on all excursions
  • Use of bicycles and Nordic walking sticks

Accommodations

  • 7-night cruise in a riverview stateroom on the breathtaking S.S. Bon Voyage
  • Lavishly appointed riverview staterooms and suites have handcrafted Savoir® Beds of England, high thread count 100% Egyptian cotton sheets and European duvets, and a menu of pillow options
  • Free Internet and Wi-Fi access

Experiences

  • 1 country: France
  • 3 UNESCO World Heritage sites
  • Captivating onboard local entertainment
  • Cultural enrichment, including Signature Lectures
  • Services of an experienced Uniworld Cruise Manager
  • Group Transfers are included on arrival and departure days (please see terms and conditions for transfer guidelines)
  • Gratuities for onboard personnel (ship staff, crew, Cruise/Tour Manager) are included during the cruise/tour
  • Exclusive Connoisseur Collection on select summer departures

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Brilliant Bordeaux

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