This cycle tour around the Gironde Estuary leads you through the vast peninsula of the Medoc in France. You will take a ferry to cross the estuary and then you will continue your cycling holidays on the other side, in Charente Maritime, then Haute-Saintonge and Haute Gironde. You will take the Wine Road of the Medoc, home of the most famous wine-growing chateaux in the world and then you will meet the wine-producers of the famous “Cognac” and “Pineau” of Charentes. On this bike trip you will cross some marshes and visit windmills and old fortified castles, superb Romanic churches, caves and some unique Gallo-Romanic sites. This journey with various landscapes alternates bicycle paths through forests and flat roads alongside streams and vineyards, will allow you to discover the exceptional natural surrounding which will fulfill yourself with its diversity. You will be warmly welcomed every evening in three or four stars hotels and charming guest houses.
Day 1: Arrival in Pian-Médoc
Arrival at Bordeaux’s train station or airport. Taxi transfer to Pian Medoc and accommodation in a three stars hotel. Welcome pack of the area and circuits will be given as well as your bike.
Day 2: Pian-Médoc - Moulis/Listrac, ~25-38 km/15-23 miles
Departing from Pian Medoc to Macau, the chateaux’s road goes alongside the Gironde towards Margaux, Saint-Estèphe, Moulis...Wine and spirit houses are waiting for you. This road which crosses the Medoc is surely one of the most beautiful! You will start your bike itinerary by crossing the vineyards of Margaux, Haut-Médoc and Moulis-en-Médoc with strolls among some of the most well-known Chateaux. If you go on jaunt toward the estuary, you will make the most of this itinerary without any difficulty whilst encountering pleasant and diversified landscapes whatever the season. This circuit will lead you to the heart of the “Medoc rouge”, where you will spend the night in charming guest houses.
Day 3: Moulis/Listrac - Pauillac, ~52-60 km/31-38 miles
Departure from Moulis or Listrac for a walk into famous vineyards and across the marshes that separate them. You will also discover the history of Medoc through its remnants such as walking across the archaeological site of Brion in St Germain d’Esteuil, the Chateau of Castera, the Abbey of Vertheuil and the Fort Medoc built by Vauban. You will go to Paulliac, the Medocan capital. Its 18 “Grands Crus Classes” and its charming little harbor make this place an inescapable destination with glorious chateaux from Latour to Lafite Rothschild. In the late afternoon you will be welcomed in a “3 epis” charming guest house located in the middle of the vineyards.
Day 4: Pauillac - Royan, ~55-60 km/33-36 miles
Today you are cycling in direction of the end of the estuary. This area of the Medoc is fascinating with its unrecognized landscapes which unfold in front of the cyclist, offering new sensations. This trip to the headland of the Medoc is an easy ride, dedicated to the atmosphere of the atlantics until the end of its territory.
Day 5: Royan - Mortagne, ~35 km/21 miles
The Territory of the Royannais offers an infinite variety of landscapes to the joy of the strollers. Pine forests, marsh, coast, cliffs, small picturesque ports, oyster-farming landscapes and rural areas. The sight of the rider is always captivated and their legs become lighter. The artisanal village of Talmont-sur-Gironde with its church and blooming streets, the cave dweller dug in the limestone cliffs of Meschers-sur-Gironde, the archaeological site of Fa and the monolithic retreat of Saint Martial constitute great stops during this stroll. Located at the entrance of Gironde, Royan has been a balneal town for about two centuries. The town center distinguished itself by its incredible architecture. Around the beach of La Grande Conche, contemporary and “belle époque” villas alternate. You will leave Royan by taking the “Boulevard Garnier” and its beautiful villas from the XIX century. You will stop at the Park of the estuary, “pole nature” de la Charente Maritime. You will enjoy its unique feel and wooden area, dominating the estuary. The Park offers interactive exhibition and animations allowing you to discover “everything” about the estuary.
Day 6: Mortagne - Soubran, ~40-45 km/24-27 miles
You will cycle inside the land to discover the chateaux wine-making of Cognac and Pineau similar to St-Dizant-du-Gua. The tortuous roads will lead you past old windmills, sunflower fields, fountains, posh houses and sumptuous chateaux. The small roads in the marsh will make you join the banks of the estuary, where you will be able to feel the wildness and immensity of the area before reaching the vineyards of the Bordelais. First you will approach Cotes de Blaye then Cotes de Bourg by following the hills covered with wheat and vineyards.
Day 7: Soubran - Bourg-sur-Gironde, ~50-60 km/30-36 miles
You will keep going along the banks of the estuary and discover Blaye and its famous citadel built by Vauban. Massive and majestic, the citadel dominates the estuary with 33 acres in the heart of the city, then offering a magnificent view on the Gironde. Finally, you will go towards Bourg-sur-Gironde, alongside the “Corniche Fleurie”, where many palm trees, pink laurels and green oaks participate to this mild climate. Stones amateurs will want to visit the village of Bourg sur Gironde, a jewel of architecture. On a roc, surrounded by walls, the village is among the most beautiful and preserved of the Estuary. Your journey will lead you to one of the oldest ornate caves in the world. Those caves are a remarkable evidence of the artistic skill of the Prehistoric man.
Day 8: Alas, end of your trip or extra nights in Bordeaux
7 nights in carefully chosen 3*** hotels and chambre d'hôtes de charme
5x dinner (3 course menu)
7x tourist tax
ferry to Royan (day 4) taking your bags with you
transfer from Bordeaux to Pian-Médoc (day 1)
transfer from Bourg-sur-Gironde to the station of Saint-André-de-Cubzac (day 8)
detailed documentation, brochures and maps
self-guided tour - 8 days / 7 nights
arrival every day
route (1): ~273-293 km/170-182 miles
how to get there
by car: motorway to Bordeaux
by train: to Bordeaux
by plane: nearest airport Bordeaux
free at the hotel in Pian-Médoc
transfer back to the hotel 15€/person and to the train station or airport 35€/person
dinners on day 1 and day 4 are not included.
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