Saint Emilion Aug 2010

A return to the self-proclaimed capital city of bikes. This time its castles, caves (prehistoric) and chateaux (wine)

Bordeaux has 500km of dedicated cycle tracks through the vineyards that surround it – west to the Atlantic Ocean, east through the Dordogne vineyards, south to the forest.

Day 1 Fri 27th August – Bordeaux

Meet at airport 15:30. Flight departs 18:00 Edinburgh arrives Bordeaux 21:30. Take laine 1 bus into town to Merideck Lycee and change to Tram A to Jardin Botanique. Runs very 10 minutes. Catch end of Tour De France Grand Prix run in Bordeaux city centre. Stay in Etap Bordeaux in the Bastide across the Pont de Pierre for €25 each which includes breakfast. Go to Saint Aubin bar for evening drinks – open till 1am.

Day 2 Sat 28th August – Blaye Citadelle – 35 miles

Take tram A to Place Gambetta to collect bikes at 10am from Pierre Qui Roule. Strap bags to back of bikes ( no luggage deposit). Cycle north on tour de France route. Visit Jacobite vineyards and Chateau. 45,000 Jacobites settled in this area after Culloden. We will pass by Michael Lynch’s chateau north of Macau then 1 mile later Burke’s Chateaux Siran. We will visit Chateaux Clarke now owned by baron Rothschild. After lunch we will visit Fort-Medoc part of a trio of fortresses across the Gironde estuary built by Vauban in 17th centuary. Take ferry from Lamarque to Blaye at 17:00 or 18:30 passing Fort Pate and stay overnight in shadow of Blaye citadelle in Villa St Simon with its own wine cellar. Breakfast included for €40 each.

Day 3 Sun 29th August – Saint Emilion – 40 miles

Cycle east along Gironde coast and visit market town of Bourg built from local limestone and only accessible on foot. Then at Dordogne River visit the prehistoric caves nearby inhabited for 80,000 years with rock carvings – we are booked in at 10:00 and tour last 40 minutes for €7. Pass through Libourne and visit the famous medievil St Emilion founded by a monk in the 8th centuary. We stay in the Hotel Balladins with swimming pool 2 miles outside town for €25 each, breakfast extra. The streets are cobbled and restauranst expensive but probably dine here tonight. Visit to the Eglise Monolithe the largest troglodyte church in France carved out of rock. Possibility of seeing Bordeaux v Marseille on TV kick off 21:00. Trains at 18:05 and 19:09 into Bordeaux but not clear about return.

Day 4 Mon 30th August – Bordeaux – 40 miles

South to Saint Sulpice de Falayrens where we visit the prehistoric menhir. Then return to Bordeaux by bike on Piste Roger Lapebie. Stop at ou legumes oublies to see and perhaps taste vegetables no longer mass cultivated. Vross the Garonne River and get to Place Gambetta before 19:00 Get bus number 1 at about 19:30. Flight home departs at 21:55 arrives 23:10.

Approximate costs

3 nights accommodation at €35 per night

flights £25 return

bike hire €20

lunch and evening meal

Bordeaux May 2010

2010 May A cycle trip to the self-proclaimed capital city of bikes. Bordeaux has 500km of dedicated cycle tracks through the vineyards that surround it – west to the Atlantic Ocean, east through the Dordogne vineyards, south to the forest.

Day 1 Wed 19th May arrival – flights get in around 16:00

Meet at airport 11 am. Flight departs 12:50 Edinburgh. Buy 7 day Bordeaux travel pass for €10 and take laine 1 bus into town to St-Bruno – Hôtel de Région and change to Tram A. Runs very 10 minutes. Stay in Etap Bordeaux in the Bastide across the Pont de Pierre for €26 each. Perhaps take petit-train tour of city for 45 mins at €7. We will eat at the Cassolette at 8pm – 5 courses and bottle of wine for €15. Breakfast additional €4.

Day 2 Thu 20th May Lacanou Ocean – 26 miles

bikesTake tram A then C to get no 3 bus from Quinconces (Munich) bus stop at 9:27 or 9:43 to St Medard eglise. Walk to Oxyjeune bike hire where we leave the hand luggage. Start cycle about 11am. Cycle Piste Bordeaux-Lacanou to Atlantic Ocean and stay in 3 star Hotel du Golf in Lacanou Ocean for €40 each. Heated pool. Breakfast additional €10.

Day 3 Fri 21st May – Atlantic coast to Arcachon – 34 miles

Cycle Piste Medoc. Take the cycleway to Cap Ferret and then get water bus across the Bassin to town of Arcachon at 14:30 or 16:30 for €10.5 inc bike. Visit largest Sand Dune in Europe. Stay in a 2nd empire villa built around 1824 called Villa Regina for €37 in the famous “Hiver Ville” area of Arcachon. Breakfast available at extra fee. This property is self catering so a cheap evening meal is possible.

Day 4 Sat 22nd May – Gasgogne National Forest – 48 miles (35 or 20 option with train)

Early start! Train at 8:26 or 9:26 to Biganos. Go along piste Mios- Basas. Champions league final tonight. Stay in 15th century windmill in forest overnight near village of Sore for €30 including breakfast. If anyone not up to today there is a train option into Bordeaux then change to go to Langon 20 miles from destination.

Day 5 Sun 23rd May Cycle the wine region – 33 miles

Possible stay in Chateau de Grand Banet. Train from Cerons 2:12 and 5:41.

Day 6 Mon Mon 24th May – 26 miles

return to Bordeaux by bike on Piste Roger Lapebie then out to St Medard to return bikes and get cases. Get number 3 bus back into centre Quinconces. Get bus number 1 at about 19:30. Flight home departs at 21:55 arrives 23:10.

Approximate costs

5 nights accommodation at €35 per night

flights at £40 return

bike hire €62

lunch and evening meal

St Malo May 2012

A fairly flat route through some splendid medieval citadels including lively St Malo and colourful, charming Dinan. A cycle path follows the scenic River Rance and Ille et Vilaine canal to Rennes, the grandiose capital of Brittany. After the fascinating old town of Vitré and the medieval chateau of Fougeres, another cycle path takes the route of a former railway towards France”s second most iconic tourist spot, the ancient and extraordinary island of Mont St Michel. A third cycle route, often on dykes, crosses beautiful and blissfully flat marshland. Next is a stunning coast road with a string of windmills and pristine sandy beaches. Once you have had your fill of oysters in Cancale, it”s back to St Malo for crepes or whatever else takes your fancy. Map here. Train lines in black

Mont St Michel

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