Region Overviews: France Travel Guide: Overview
Long considered a global center of art, science, philosophy and sophistication, France boasts incredible diversity in its offerings to travelers.
DESTINATION ENTRY REQUIREMENTS
There are currently special requirements for travelers to this region. Learn more.
Decadent. Sophisticated. Extraordinary. Last night’s glass of Bordeaux or your week along the Garonne? Some of the most coveted wines in the world at your fingertips. Some of the most impressive scenery from the seat of your bike. And one of the most incredible trips imaginable on your river cruise bike tour.
THIS ITINERARY: 8 days, 7 nights
ACCOMMODATIONS: Small Luxury Ship
Start/End locations may vary. Do not book flights until your trip details are confirmed.
DAYS 1-2 Warm up with a leisurely ride beginning in the Château Margaux region and heading through an array of picturesque villages | Arrive in enchanting Bordeaux, one of the largest urban World Heritage sites, with more than half the city restored and protected | Get to know St-Émilion’s beautifully restored Romanesque architecture and narrow cobblestone streets | Spin through a bucolic grapevine-laden landscape, home to world-famous wineries and Grand Cru wines | Pedal inland through the French countryside en route to the wine-making town of Libourne, where the Isle and Dordogne Rivers meet.
DAYS 3-5 Trace the Dordogne River while biking among medieval villages and the vineyards of the Fronsac AOC | A wine expert shares insights about Bordeaux’s famed vines | Follow a gorgeous corniche road to the town of Blaye, known for its impressive 17th-century citadel, a World Heritage site | Venture into the rolling hills of the Côtes de Bourg AOC and admire the bounty of the Dordogne River as you ride by stately châteaux | Live music, dancing, wine and revelry await you in Bourg | Soak up fairy-tale scenery paired with some of the world's most prestigious vineyards, from Pichon Longueville and Pontet-Canet to Mouton Rothschild.
DAYS 6-8 A leisurely cruise aboard the ship takes us to Cadillac, our entry point for a beautiful ride into the coastal Sauternes AOC, renowned for its fungus-affected sweet wines | Leave vineyards behind to explore the Atlantic coast, catching sight of the Dune de Pilat, Europe’s tallest sand dune | Discover the golden beaches of Arcachon Bay, a favorite seaside escape of the 19th-century French bourgeoisie | Cap off your adventure with a ferry ride and the chance to sample fresh Cap Ferret oysters | We dock in the heart of Bordeaux, where city lights accompany a memorable meal on our final night aboard the ship.
A luxurious custom-designed ship featuring stylish private staterooms, panoramic windows, French balconies, an onboard team of classically trained chefs and inviting areas to socialize with fellow passengers. (pool)
The earlier you book, the more choice you'll have and the lower your price. And you can always change your mind — you won't be charged to transfer to a different trip before your final payment is due. View cancellation policy
Please note: Due to the multiple stateroom options available on this trip, reservations can only be made by contacting one of our Trip Consultants on 800-462-2848 or via email.
Click on dates for specific ships, pricing, and itinerary variations. Price is per person, double occupancy.
Every Backroads trip is designed to appeal to a wide variety of interests and fitness levels. Several routes and a range of levels are offered each day so you can choose how much or how little activity you want to do. Learn more about how we determine activity levels.
The key to a stellar day's ride is a bike that's perfectly in tune with your cycling style… Backroads has you covered with the best bike fleet in the world! Read on for your available bike options for this trip.
We want to make sure you're on the right trip and that you have the best experience possible. Every Backroads trip is unique and this one is no exception.
The ships we sail on are like floating luxury hotels, so you can visit a new destination each day without touching your suitcase once you've settled in. Our ships are custom‐designed with a variety of inviting spaces that offer plenty of room for both relaxing and socializing. These ships are vastly smaller than most cruise ships, with up to just 150 passengers on our river trips and up to only 250 on our ocean trips.
We sail with up to 30 Backroads guests per group. Occasionally there may be more than one Backroads group onboard and you may cross paths with the other group on routes or at restaurants. When this occurs, each group will have their own dedicated onboard Backroads leaders.
If you're new to Backroads active cruise trips, there are a few things you need to know. Our cruises are smaller, and much more intimate than a typical cruise. They are also quite lively, social experiences, shaped by both our Backroads group and the larger ship community. Additionally, even with an itinerary subject to fixed nautical schedules that may occasionally limit our time on shore, we get out and explore far beyond the cruise norm. If you love meeting new people, enjoy the ease of unpacking once, and don't mind a set schedule of port departure times, you'll love our approach to active river and ocean cruising. Nobody does it like we do.
On our active cruises, we seek out diversity by including regionally authentic and inventive meals for onshore lunches, picnics and the occasional onshore dinner. On-ship meals, though delightful, are meant to appeal to a wide cross section of passengers and may at times feel more conventional for some, and less reflective of the region than on Backroads hotel trips.
Every river has its own unique temperament and for centuries water levels have shifted due to rain, temperature and agriculture. High water levels may mean the ship cannot pass under a bridge, low water levels result in slower sailing, and a disabled lock can also lead to some extra cruising time. Should any unforeseen change happen during your river cruise, we will work closely with AmaWaterways' Captain and staff, who are very experienced in going with the flow.
In contrast to our usual land-based trips, which have similar room categories, the AmaWaterways ships offer a wide range of stateroom categories. The top-tier staterooms often fill fast so book as early as possible if this is important to you.
Most port conditions require that ships tie up alongside each other, in which case you may need to walk through another ship to access our ship. This is a part of river cruising due to its popularity. You may experience obstructed views from your stateroom when the ship is double-docked, but rest assured that as soon as we set sail again your beautiful views will be restored.