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The South of France by River: Wine and History From Sarlat to Bordeaux

Program Number: 19359RJ
Start and End Dates:
5/8/2013 - 5/20/2013; 5/7/2015 - 5/18/2015; 9/5/2015 - 9/16/2015; 9/15/2015 - 9/26/2015; 10/12/2015 - 10/23/2015;
Duration: 12 nights
Location: France
Price starting at: $3,752.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Adventure Afloat Study Cruise; River Boats; History & Culture
Meals: 30; 11 Breakfasts, 9 Lunches, 10 Dinners    
Meal Options: Vegetarian    

In the South of France, wine is a beloved part of everyday life. It’s also big business. Voyage along the Dordogne and Garonne rivers and explore some of the world’s great vineyards in Saint-Émilion, Médoc and Graves. Learn about AOC’s, microclimates and the development of the French wine industry. From prehistoric cave drawings to Roman times to the Hundred Years’ War, learn this region’s story.




Activity Particulars

Extensive walking along unpaved lanes and cobblestoned streets; some stairs without railings and/or uneven. Participants should be able to stand for at least one hour.



05/07/15 and 09/05/15 program dates are on the MS Cyrano de Bergerac. 9/15/2015 and 10/12/2015 sail on the Princess d'Aquitaine.



Itinerary At-a-Glance

Sarlat, 4 nights; aboard vessel, 7 nights.



Day 1: Overnight flight from the U.S.A.




Days 2-5: Arrival Bordeaux (France) / coach to Sarlat:

Explore the medieval town of Sarlat-la-Canéda. Learn about the region’s cuisine through a cooking demonstration with a grand chef.
Lodging: Centrally located hotel.



Day 6: Coach to Bordeaux / embark MS Princesse d’Aquitaine:

Discover how the “black pearl of the Périgord,” a rare and highly desired truffle, is unearthed with the help of truffle hogs.



Day 7: Pauillac:

At vineyards in the Médoc wine region, learn about Bordeaux’s First Growth wines from local experts and go down into wine cellars for tastings.



Day 8: Blaye:

Visit a lesser-known Côtes-de-Blaye winery. Journey along part of the Corniche, a scenic road winding along high cliffs.



Day 9: Cadillac:

On the left bank of the Garonne is the Graves AOC (Appellation d’origine contrôlée). Here, delve further into terroir, the “sense of place” that the land bestows on wine.



Day 10: Libourne:

Explore the famed AOC of Saint-Émilion and learn about France’s complex system for cataloguing and rating vineyards. Step inside the town’s monolithic church, carved by Benedictine monks.



Days 11-13: Bordeaux / disembark / departure:

Take in the beautiful architecture of Bordeaux’s urban center and learn the city’s history. A founder of the Museum of Wine and Wine Trade welcomes you for a behind-the-scenes visit and private wine and cheese tasting.



MS Cyrano de Bergerac

The newest vessel in Croisi Europe's fleet, built in 2013, the MS Cyrano de Bergerac has three decks, a lounge, bar and dance floor, large sun deck with recliners, an elevator, and gift shop.


France

The epicurious and the curious find much to admire in Western Europe’s largest nation, whose agricultural riches and terrain of beaches, mountains and fertile fields have drawn residents for thousands of years. The northern region hosts the nation’s Parisian capital, as well as unique Breton culture, while the sun-drenched Mediterranean coast sports the chic beach-goers and the terraced vineyards of the interior.



Accommodations
Lodging: Centrally located hotel in Sarlat; comfortable cabins aboard deluxe two-deck riverboat.
Meals and Lodgings
   Hotel Montaigne
  Sarlat, France 4 nights
   MS Cyrano de Bergerac
  Bordeaux, France
Pauillac, France
Blaye, France
Libourne, France
Cadillac, France
Bordeaux, France
7 nights
 Hotel Montaigne
Type: Hotel
  Description: Ideally located just steps from the medieval center of Sarlat, the Hotel Montaigne welcomes guests in 28 beautifully appointed rooms.
  Contact info: 2 place Pasteur
Sarlat-la-Canéda,  24200 France
phone: +33 553 31 93 88
web: www.hotelmontaigne.fr/eng/index.php
  Room amenities: Direct dial phone Television Air conditioning
  Facility amenities: Buffet breakfast Elevator Air conditioning Wifi is available in the hotel free of charge
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights prior: TBA Please contact Road Scholar Travel Services for details.

 MS Cyrano de Bergerac
Type: Luxury Barge
  Ship Information: The newest vessel in Croisi Europe's fleet, built in 2013, the MS Cyrano de Bergerac has three decks, a lounge, bar and dance floor, large sun deck with recliners, an elevator, and gift shop.
  Contact info: 12, rue de la Division Leclerc
Strasbourg,  67000 France
phone: +33 (0)3 88 76 44 44
  Room amenities: Private bathroom with shower, satellite television, hairdryer, safe, radio
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes


Travel Details
  Start of Program:
This program begins with an orientation in the evening at the program hotel in Sarlat, France. You will be staying at Hotel Montaigne that night.
  End of Program:
This program ends after breakfast aboard the ship. You will be staying at MS Cyrano de Bergerac the night before.
  Required documents:
The Road Scholar Health & Safety Form is required.
  Parking availability:
N/A
Transportation (For Independent Travelers)
  Train or bus availability: There is train service available from Bordeaux to Sarlat; the cost is usually between 30 and 60 US dollars.
To Start of Program
  Location:  Sarlat
  Transportation to site: A group arrival transfer is organized for all participants who purchased an air inclusive program and arrive on the group date. Independent travelers may take the train from Bordeaux Saint-Jean Station to Sarlat; the price is usually between 30 and 60 US dollars.
  From End of Program
  Location:  Departure
  Transportation from site: A group departure transfer is organized for all participants who purchased an air inclusive program and depart on the group date. Independent travelers can take a taxi from the hotel to the airport or can ask the purser on board for assistance in arranging a shuttle transfer.
Elevation Note: 500 feet is the highest elevation.

The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.


Daily Schedule

Day 1: Departure
(Wednesday, May 8)
   
 Depart From: Depart from U.S. for overnight flight to Paris.

Day 2: Arrival in Bordeaux
(Thursday, May 9)
   
 Morning: Arrival at Bordeaux airport and transfer to group hotel. Check into hotel upon arrival in Sarlat
 Lunch: Lunch on your own
 Afternoon: Free time to rest or explore on your own.
 Dinner: Meet the group for a welcome dinner and cocktail.
 Evening: Take an evening walk around the beautiful medieval city of Sarlat as your Group Leader points out sites of interest. Rest of evening at leisure.
   
Accommodations: Hotel Montaigne
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 3: Prehistory in the Perigord: Cave Paintings and Les Eyzies
(Friday, May 10)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at hotel
 Morning: Discover the Cave of Rouffignac "Cave of a Hundred Mammoths" on an electric train ride through the caverns and view the more than 250 animal figure etchings that are scattered in this underground maze, made over 140 centuries ago.
 Lunch: Lunch in Les Eyzies
 Afternoon: At the National Museum of Prehistory in Les Eyzies you will have the opportunity to view one of the most important stone and bone tool collections in France, and the premier collection of Paleolithic engravings and sculpture in the world. Later, visit the original Lascaux caves which were discovered in 1940, and feature paintings claimed to be 17000 years old. During a guided visit of Lascaux II you will discover the faithful recreations of the original Bulls room and central corridor and discuss interpretations of the paintings in this Paleolithic sanctuary.
 Dinner: Dinner at a local restaurant.
 Evening: Evening at leisure
   
Accommodations: Hotel Montaigne
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: La Roque Gageac and Cuisine in the Perigord
(Saturday, May 11)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel
 Morning: Explore the beautiful village of La Roque Gageac and enjoy a ride aboard a gabare boat on the Dordogne river. Learn more about the history of the region and about gabares, the traditional flat-bottomed boats used for transporting goods between the Massif Central and the ports of Bergerac, Libourne and Bordeaux. Continue on to an on-site lecture and cooking demonstration led by a Grande Toque du Perigord (Grand Chef). Learn about regional cuisine of the region and sample some local specialties.
 Lunch: Lunch features dishes prepared by your chef.
 Afternoon: At a local distillery discover the regional fruit wines, juices and liquors that have been produced here for generations. Learn about the economic impact of this industry while you enjoy some sampling.
 Dinner: Dinner on your own in Sarlat to sample the local fare.
 Evening: Evening at leisure
   
Accommodations: Hotel Montaigne
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 5: The Pilgrimage Site of Rocamadour
(Sunday, May 12)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel.
 Morning: Coach to Rocamadour along the scenic Dordogne valley route and stop a few times to admire the spectacular views. This morning you will discover the spectacular setting of Rocamadour, built on the side of cliffs overlooking the valley. Learn about the history of the town and the significance of the Black Virgin and other sites.
 Lunch: Lunch in Rocamadour
 Afternoon: At a local farm producing Rocamadour Cabecou cheese you will have a chance to learn about the production method and how the AOC was obtained, and of course enjoy a sample!
 Dinner: Light dinner at a local restaurant in the city center.
 Evening: Evening at leisure
   
Accommodations: Hotel Montaigne
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: The Market and the Black Pearl of the Perigord
(Monday, May 13)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board
 Morning: This morning you get to enjoy the local market. Sarlat has an exceptional market that features all the local produce and local products. Start off exploring with your Study Leader before going off on your own.
 Lunch: Lunch on your own to enjoy some fresh market food or explore local fare.
 Afternoon: At a farm in St Cyprien you will learn about the "Black Pearl of the Perigord" and discuss the history of this rare and mysterious truffle that has become a luxury product and a sign of wealth. You will also learn about truffle hunting and uses in cuisine.
 Dinner: Dinner on board
 Evening: Evening at leisure
   
Accommodations: MS Cyrano de Bergerac
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 7: The Gironde, Bordeaux AOC and the Red Wines of the Medoc Region
(Tuesday, May 14)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board
 Morning: This morning you will learn about the origins of viticulture and the history of winemaking in the region. Discover the appellations (AOC) within Bordeaux and sample some of the wines to develop your palate.
 Lunch: Lunch on board
 Afternoon: The Medoc vineyards produce some of the best wines in the world. This region of the Bordeaux wine AOC is blessed with unique solid and micro climates. This afternoon we drive trough the vineyards of Pauillac, St Julien, Margaux and the Haut Medoc, stopping at a few exclusive properties for a cellar visit and a special tasting.
 Dinner: Dinner on board
 Evening: This evening the ship has special evening entertainment planned.
   
Accommodations: MS Cyrano de Bergerac
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 8: The Gironde Estuary and the Scenic Corniche
(Wednesday, May 15)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board
 Morning: This morning we examine the wines of the Cote de Blaye. This is a lesser known vineyard that produces some very nice local wines with very little exposure in North America. Enjoy the rest of the morning on deck observing the scenic vistas of the Gironde Estuary and the cliffs of Meschers - sur- Gironde. Your Study Leader using our exclusive listening devices will share some historical commentary.
 Lunch: Lunch on board
 Afternoon: Discover the Corniche a beautiful scenic road that follows the Dordogne river as it joins the Gironde to form the estuary. The narrow road goes along high cliffs revealing some interesting local architecture. Later on we visit a small vineyard to taste the local Cote de Blaye before returning to Blaye to explore the citadel
 Dinner: Dinner on board
 Evening: Evening at leisure
   
Accommodations: MS Cyrano de Bergerac
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 9: The Dordogne and the Wines and Underground Sites of St-Emilion
(Thursday, May 16)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board
 Morning: This morning discuss the great wines of St Emilion. By far the most famous vineyards in the world. Learn about the complexe system of cataloguing and rating the vineyards and discover how these unique wines are made. Enjoy a commentated tasting. Enjoy the rest of the morning on deck observing the scenic vistas of the lower Dordogne as we enter the river just north of Bordeaux. Observe the unique landscapes as your Study Leader using our exclusive listening devices shares some historical commentary.
 Lunch: Lunch on board
 Afternoon: Explore St. Emilion and its many historic sites including the Eglise Monolith, the largest underground church in Europe which was carved by Benedictine monks during the 9th-12th centuries.Visit a vineyard in St. Emilion for a sampling of their wines. Many of the area growers still keep up the old tradition of planting roses at the ends of the rows, which in pre-pesticide days served as an early-warning system against infection, the idea being that the commonest bug, oidium, went for the roses first, giving three days' notice of its intentions.
 Dinner: Dinner on board
 Evening: Evening at leisure
   
Accommodations: MS Cyrano de Bergerac
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 10: White Wines of the Graves Region
(Friday, May 17)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board
 Morning: This morning discuss the white wines from the Graves and Sauternes region, learn about the unique geology and geography of the terroir and enjoy an introduction to the appellations and commented tasting. Enjoy the rest of the morning on deck observing the scenic vistas of the upper Gironde after we past trough Bordeaux. Observe the vineyards as your Study Leader using our exclusive listening devices shares some historical commentary.
 Lunch: Lunch on board
 Afternoon: This afternoon, we venture out into the vineyards of the Graves and Sauternes. Take time to explore two very distinct producers and learn about their art and taste their finest wines. Along the way explore some of the loveliest villages of the Bordelais.
 Dinner: Dinner on board
 Evening: Evening at leisure
   
Accommodations: MS Cyrano de Bergerac
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 11: The History of Bordeaux and the Importance of Wine
(Saturday, May 18)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast buffet in the hotel.
 Morning: This morning discuss the importance of Bordeaux in French history. Start with the role of Wine and the Wine merchant on the history of Bordeaux. Discuss the cities close connection with England and its role in the Hundred Year War.
 Lunch: Lunch on board
 Afternoon: This afternoon set off on foot and Tram and explore some of the great monuments of Bordeaux. Led by your Study Leader a native of the city enjoy a unqiue perspective of this UNESCO World Heritage site.
 Dinner: Dinner on board
 Evening: Your evening at leisure.
   
Accommodations: MS Cyrano de Bergerac
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 12: Bordeaux / Farewell Dinner
(Sunday, May 19)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board
 Morning: Enjoy a unique inside visit and lecture to the Museum of the Wine Merchant. Lead by one of the founders of this unique museum explore the final part of Bordeaux History and enjoy a unique tasting of Wine and cheeses.
 Lunch: Lunch on board
 Afternoon: Enjoy an afternoon off to either explore Bordeaux on your own or to stay onboard the ship and enjoy the sites of boats sailing up and down the Garonne.
 Dinner: Farewell dinner on board
 Evening: Evening at leisure
   
Accommodations: MS Cyrano de Bergerac
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 13: Departure
(Monday, May 20)
   
 Breakfast: Early breakfast on board.
 Morning: Group transfer to the airport for departure.
   
Meals Included: Breakfast
Important information about your itinerary: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information featured on this website. Itineraries are based on our best information at this time. Circumstances beyond our control may require us to adjust itineraries or other details. We regret any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding. Information will be sent to you from your Program Provider approximately three weeks prior to the program start date. The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Suggested Reading List


A Traveller's History of France


Author: Robert Cole


Description: This fast-moving survey covers the conquests of ancient Gaul through the heady days of revolution to modern times.



A World Lit Only By Fire: The Medieval Mind and the Renaissance, Portrait of an Age


Author: William Manchester


Description: Organized into sections on the Renaissance, Reformation and Discovery, Manchester's popular history evokes in vivid detail the great figures and daily life of the 16th century, including Henry VIII, Magellan, Borgia, da Vinci and Martin Luther.



Adventures on the Wine Route, A Wine Buyer's Tour of France


Author: Kermit Lynch


Description: A delightful and warmly anecdotal book, highly recommended for anyone touring the wine regions of France. Lynch brings the domains and appellations of French wine to full-blown life, and his portraits of the grand personalities who make the wine are priceless.



Birds of Europe


Author: Lars Svensson


Description: Featuring 3,500 glorious paintings by Killian Mullarney and Dan Zetterstrom, the second revised edition of this exquisite guide has been brought up to date with revised text and maps.



Bordeaux Map


Author: IGN


Description: This magnificently detailed city map includes a separate 68-page index. 1:13,000.



Bordeaux, A Consumer's Guide to the World's Finest Wines


Author: Robert M., Jr. Parker


Description: Parker's wine bible, organized geographically, includes every chateaux in Bordeaux.



Cadogan Guide The Dordogne, Lot & Bordeaux


Author: Michael Pauls, Dana Facaros


Description: A comprehensive guide to the region from Bordeaux to Toulouse with detailed information on cultural attractions, history and travel planning.



Cathedrals and Castles, The Cathedral Builders of the Middle Ages


Author: Alain Erlande-Brandenburg


Description: This pocket-size encyclopedia of the art, architecture and culture of the Middle Ages features hundreds of drawings, color illustrations and a brief chronology.



Eyewitness Guide Dordogne


Author: Eyewitness Guides


Description: Featuring hundreds of color illustrations, local and regional maps and site diagrams.



France, A Traveler's Literary Companion


Author: William Rodarmor (Editor)


Description: This collection contains literary gems from all corners of France--not just Paris--by a select group of 20th-century French writers, from Colette to Georges Simenon.



Lonely Planet French Phrasebook


Author: Marie-Helene Girard, Anny Monet


Description: This handy phrasebook focuses on pronunciation, basic grammar and essential vocabulary for the traveler.



Made in France, A Shopper's Guide


Author: Laura Morelli


Description: Both a fascinating history of France's artisanal legacy and an insider's shopping guide, the book includes illustrations, maps, a primer on French shopping culture and craft festivals.



The Autumn of the Middle Ages


Author: Johan Huizinga


Description: A pioneering work of social and cultural history, this well-translated classic is a richly detailed portrait of life, thought and art in 14th- and 15th-century France and the Netherlands.



The Finest Wines of Bordeaux, A Regional Guide to the Best Châteaux and Their Wines


Author: James Lawther


Description: Master of Wine Lawther gives readers inside knowledge of 90 chateaux of the Bordeaux region, covering the winemakers, properties, history and, of course, the wines.



The Food of France


Author: Waverly Root


Description: An evocative and beautifully written survey of French food. First published in 1958 and revised in the mid-1970s, the book covers the important regions of French cuisine by dividing them into domains of Butter (northern France), Fat (Alsace) and Oil (the south).



The Road from the Past, Traveling through History in France


Author: Ina Caro


Description: Time travel through France by way of its finest castles, chateaux, cathedrals and monasteries. This unusual travelogue is an invaluable companion for traveling in Paris, southern France, the Dordogne and the Loire Valley, combining personal observation with large doses of well-presented history.



Wine and War, The French, the Nazis, and the Battle for France's Greatest Treasure


Author: Donald Kladstrup


Description: This thrilling account of how the vinters of France saved their crops -- and their bottles -- as the Nazis approached shows that to be French is not just to fight for your country but also for your wine. Kladtsrub, who writes for Wine Spectator, and his wife Peatie, the authors focus on the activities of five winemaking families in Burgundy, Alsace, Champagne, Bordeaux and the Loire Valley.





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