Grand tour of Paris, Bordeaux & Saint- Émilion

Grand tour of Paris, Bordeaux & Saint- Émilion

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9 Days
From

$2689

Grand tour of Paris, Bordeaux & Saint- Émilion

9 Days

Visiting: France

Tour operator:

Riviera Travel

Tour code:

BXP6

From:
$2689 (USD)

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Tour Overview

We'll start in the sand-coloured streets of Bordeaux. The city may be known as the gateway to France's most celebrated wine-producing region but there's still plenty to see here, including 362 historic monuments and some impressing architecture. Of course, we couldn't visit the region synonymous with wine without venturing out into the countryside to Saint-Ã?milion - the oldest wine-producing region in the area - for tastings of food and wine.  

We'll also visit Paris to discover why the city is nicknamed La Ville-Lumière ('The City of Light') on a Paris by night tour. You'll visit old Montmartre and the Palace of Versailles and have time to discover the incredible treasures of Paris for yourself with time at leisure. 

This tour was created for the French enthusiast, whether you're a first-time visitor or a frequent visitor there's something for everyone. 

Highlights

  • Journey around the world, throughout the ages and across countless civilisations to discover more about wine at the City of Wine – a museum dedicated to the living heritage of wine. 

  •  

  • Wander through the sand-coloured streets of Bordeaux to see highlights such as Place de la Bourse and the famous water mirror. 

  • Tour a quintessential chateau and winery in the renowned Saint-Émilion for a tour and tasting. 

  • Venture underground in Les Cordeliers to see the impressive tunnels where their sparkling wine has been aged for centuries and taste their crémant wine. 

  • The Signature Tour 

  • option includes all of the above as well as: Enjoy a delicious lunch at a historic chateau in the Saint-Émilion region featuring fresh local produce. 

  • Step into the art on a visit to Bassin des Lumières, a fascinating art exhibit in an ex-submarine base. 

  • Taste the future of winemaking on a visit to an organic, biodynamic vintner for a tasting. 

  • Enjoy the more exclusive atmosphere of travelling in a small group with an average of 22 guests.

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Itinerary

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Day 1

Arrival in Bordeaux

Travelling by train, you'll get to enjoy the changing scenery as you travel from London to Bordeaux. When you start to see vineyards, you'll know you're only about an hour away. And you'll arrive in Bordeaux in style too, disembarking in the magnificent Saint-Jean train station - a beautifully restored, cathedral-like building designed by the legendary Gustave Eiffel (yes, that Eiffel).

Free evening in Bordeaux

Known as the "Pearl of the Aquitaine", Bordeaux is one of the largest UNESCO World Heritage sites in the world. It has a rich and varied history spanning 2,000 years. For 300 years it was ruled by England, creating an inextricable link between the city's history and our own. Most people know it for its wine-producing areas and the city is a gateway to some of the world's most famous vineyards - so you'd better believe that the wine on offer is some of the best around. However, you can't have the best wines in the world without food to match - and the gastronomy here is also top-notch. You almost can't go wrong on the hunt for dinner this evening. We recommend a local favourite, Entrecote Bordelaise - steak with shallots and red wine sauce - which pairs perfectly with a Bordeaux-style wine, of course.  

After dinner at leisure, you could take a star-lit stroll to the Port of the Moon - a part of the city created during the Enlightenment, with so many preserved buildings it was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2007. 

Day 2

Bordeaux city tour

An intoxicating mix of world-class wine, inventive gastronomy and relaxed river-side living, it's no wonder Queen Elizabeth II deemed Bordeaux 'the very essence of elegance' on a state visit in 1992. And the city has only grown more intriguing in the last 30 years, thanks to extensive restorations carried out in the mid-1990s and the city's UNESCO World Heritage status.

The paved streets that weave through the city are lined with 18th-century, yellow-stone buildings. Yet, you'll notice there are no crumbling facades here - the buildings are pristine. And you won't find high-rises on the left bank of the Garonne (which splits the city in two) so we wouldn't blame you for wondering if you've accidentally stepped back in time. Just a stroll here is a pleasure in itself.

You can enjoy the perfume of jasmine and orange blossom that settles over the city in the mornings as we start our Grand Tour in earnest this morning with a guided tour of Bordeaux. By foot and by coach, we'll explore the city, stopping at the riverside to admire the aristocratic grandeur of Place de la Bourse and the famous Miroir d'Eau, one of the city's main attractions. Adored by adults and children alike, this magical display rhythmically changes from a pool of water that reflects the 18th-century facades of the surrounding buildings to an eerie mist to a shallow pool - and back.

As we continue on our tour, we'll stop to appreciate the colonnaded Opera House and the merchants’ houses that line the riverside. We’ll also see the quayside - it's considered one of the most magnificent waterfronts in the world thanks to the beautiful historic buildings that line the river.

At the end of our guided tour, we’ll enjoy our signature experience at an organic winemaker before spending the evening at leisure.

Included experience:

Guided tour of Bordeaux.

Signature experience:

After our guided tour of Bordeaux, we'll enjoy a wine-tasting at an organic, biodynamic wine merchant. We'll taste wine at its purest - no chemical pesticides or herbicides - and learn more about the organic farming techniques that make this possible. Will this be the future of winemaking? You decide.

Day 3

Saint-Émilion

Wine enthusiasts need no introduction to Saint-Émilion (for those not in the know, it's famous for some of the most prestigious wines – using predominately merlot and cabernet sauvignon grapes). This small village is also known as one of France's most beautiful villages – the village and surrounding area are UNESCO-protected as "an outstanding example of an historic vineyard landscape that has survived intact". Here, the rolling hills are covered in family-run vineyards and quaint little chateaux. 

Today, we’ll visit a local chateau for a tour, tasting and our next Signature experience – a delicious lunch. Follow a guide as they tell us about the history of the chateau, the terroirs and the grape variety - everything that makes Saint-Émilion the best place to make merlot and cabernet franc. Finally, you'll be able to taste the final product for yourself and draw your own conclusions. 

Les Cordeliers

After our Signature lunch at a traditional chateau, we'll visit the old cloisters of Les Cordeliers. Maintaining much of its historic structures, you can imagine the religious order of the Franciscans strolling through the honey-coloured cloisters in their knotted robes and brown cloaks. As part of our guided tour, we'll venture underground to see the 3km of tunnels that run under much of Saint-Émilion citadel and the surrounding vineyards (don't worry, we won't make you walk all of it). At 20 metres underground, they are dark and have a near-constant temperature of 12 degrees Celsius - the perfect conditions for ageing wine. And, in the magnificently restored 15th-century church, you can taste their bubbly crémant - and buy a bottle to sneak home in your suitcase.

After a fascinating day in the heart of some of the world's most famous vineyards, we’ll return to Bordeaux this afternoon and spend the rest of the evening at leisure.

Included experience:

A tour of Saint-Émilion winery with a wine-tasting and a visit to Les Cordeliers with a crémant tasting.

Signature experience:

In the beautiful surroundings of a typical Saint-Émilion chateau, enjoy a delicious lunch made with fresh, locally grown ingredients and seasonal produce - along with a glass of their famous wine, of course.

Day 4

City of Wine

As you'd expect from a region renowned for wine, Bordeaux has a fascinating wine museum - and everyone agrees it's not to be missed. Inspired by the movement of wine when it's swirling in a glass, the sight of La Cité du Vin is one that will stay with you long after you leave Bordeaux. If you love hands-on learning, you'll love this immersive interactive experience.

You can explore the history of wine through the ages - in France and worldwide and (digitally) tour vineyards in far-flung destinations - including hard-to-reach croplands clinging to a South American cliff-side or basking in the Australian sunshine. If you want to understand more about wine bouquets, there are bell jars full of seemingly random items to teach you about the smells, tastes and textures of wine with hands-on (or rather nose-on) examples. You could begin a new career as a sommelier!

After thoroughly exploring the exhibits, the visit ends at the top of the building where you can taste wine while looking out at stunning views of the Garonne River and Bordeaux. Choose one wine to try from a wide range of local and international options - is there a wine you've always wanted to try? Just ask.

After visit to the City of Wine, we’ll enjoy a mesmerising Signature experience at Bassins des Lumières, and spend the rest of the day at leisure in Bordeaux.

Included experience:

Visit to the City of Wine Museum.

Signature experience:

Hidden in Bordeaux's former submarine base is Bassins des Lumières - a mesmerising digital art centre featuring high-quality visual and audio exhibitions. Projected onto the concrete wall - and reflected in the tranquil water of the wet dock - are some of art's most iconic pieces. It surrounds you. You'll really feel like you've stepped into the painting.

Day 5

Journey to Paris

This morning, we'll retrace our journey back to Paris, the City of Light, by high-speed train. From the train, you'll see the vineyards fade into the distance and a little over two hours after you board, we'll be back in one of the most romantic cities in the world.

Free time in Paris

Here, we'll check in to our hotel, where we’ll stay for four nights, and spend the rest of the afternoon and evening at leisure. The city is awash with inviting sidewalk cafes, elegant boutiques and world-class museums - there's an almost endless amount of things to do. We'll see the famous landmarks on our city tour tomorrow so today is perfect for seeking out the lesser-known spots that make Paris so beloved by travel fanatics. As always, your Tour Manager is on hand to help you decide what to do, and how to get around.

For shopping, head away from the Champs-Elysées (we’ll head there together tomorrow) and look out for Paris's covered passages. Dating back to the 19th century, these were the city's first malls, and beneath their vaulted ceilings and wrought iron, you'll find a host of unusual wares: antique books stores, art galleries, quirky toy shops and more. Just north of the Palais Royal is the city's most elegant arcade, Galerie Vivienne.

Day 6

Paris

After breakfast, the coach will take you on a comprehensive sightseeing tour of the city. From the iconic Eiffel Tower to the romantic banks of the Seine, the bustling Champs Élysées and the world-famous Louvre, today we'll see almost every Parisian landmark you have ever heard of.

Free time in Paris

This afternoon is at leisure to explore as you wish. You could revisit some of the famous landmarks we’ll see on our city tour up close or head off in search of new sights.  

As well as the iconic Louvre Museum, there are several other world-class museums in the city. Fans of Monet may want to visit the Musée de l'Orangerie, the only place you can stand in awe in front of his famous Water Lilly murals, or you could find a more varied selection of Impressionists at the Musée d’Orsay. Alternatively, visit the home of a Parisian art-collecting couple turned museum, Musée Jacquemart-André, which houses works by Rembrandt, Bellini, Botticelli, and more in an exquisite 19th-century mansion.  

You could head to the beautiful open spaces of Parc des Buttes-Chaumont or Jardin Luxembourg. Or take the French word 'flâner' (to stroll) to heart, forgoing the Métro to walk the city and experience it properly. (Don’t worry, if you get too tired to walk back to the hotel, you're never more than 500 yards from the nearest Métro station!) 

This evening, enjoy a gastronomic adventure. Paris is known as a hub for haute cuisine and laid-back bistros - a favourite with locals. The kaleidoscope of food experiences, influences, flavours and atmospheres on offer here make every night in Paris ripe with possibilities. From classic local dishes to delicious Thai, Korean and Japanese food, there's something to satisfy every craving.

Included experience:

Sightseeing guided coach tour of Paris.

Day 7

Versailles

This morning, we'll leave Paris, taking a short drive to Versailles. The majestic palace of the 'Sun King' Louis XIV is a must-see, and we’ve arranged timed tickets so you can skip the queues and explore the palace and gardens at your own pace. An audio guide is included which will bring the five centuries of the palace’s history to life.  

You'll discover the magnificent Royal Apartments with their sweeping ceilings, view some of the 60,000 remarkable works of art and stroll through the glittering Hall of Mirrors - the historic spot where the famous Treaty of Versailles was signed, ending the First World War. It is also a pleasure to wander around the manicured Versailles Gardens where you can admire the numerous ornate fountains, exquisite sculptures and splendid baroque garden designs. 

Free time in Paris

Returning from Versailles in the afternoon, you can choose whether to be dropped off in Paris and make your own way back to the hotel at leisure or continue to the hotel.

Paris by night

Paris is nicknamed ‘City of Light’ and, tonight, we’ll find out why. Our coach will take us on a tour of Paris ‘By Night’. The whole city’s a work of art with monuments and buildings elegantly illuminated, their reflections dancing on the River Seine with the majestic Eiffel Tower dominating the skyline: it looks so delicate it could almost be made of lace. The tour won't take up the whole evening, so you'll also have time to sample some of the famous Parisian nightlife, should you wish.

Included experience:

Tour of Paris by night.

Signature experience:

This morning, we'll leave Paris, taking a short drive to Versailles. The majestic palace of the 'Sun King' Louis XIV is a must-see, and we’ve arranged timed tickets so you can skip the queues and explore the palace and gardens at your own pace. An audio guide is included which will bring the five centuries of the palace’s history to life.

You'll discover the magnificent Royal Apartments with their sweeping ceilings, view some of the 60,000 remarkable works of art and stroll through the glittering Hall of Mirrors - the historic spot where the famous Treaty of Versailles was signed, ending the First World War. It is also a pleasure to wander around the manicured Versailles Gardens where you can admire the numerous ornate fountains, exquisite sculptures and splendid baroque garden designs. 

Day 8

Montmartre

After breakfast in our hotel, we'll board a coach and make the short trip to Montmartre. With cobbled streets, grand basilicas, artists and bistros, Montmartre is perhaps one of the most atmospheric quarters of Paris.

The skyline is dominated by the white dome of Sacré-Cœur. Built on the Butte Montmartre, the view from in front of the doors is breathtaking with all of Paris before you. Its ostentatious Romano-Byzantine style makes it distinct from the quaint - sometimes crooked - buildings and windmills that make up Montmartre and, inside, you'll find the largest mosaic in France.

In the 'Artists Quarter' you can follow in the footsteps of Picasso, Renoir, Degas, Monet and Van Gogh, who stayed and lived there. Even now, you'll spot modern-day artists setting up their easels, inspired by the picturesque, seemingly rural neighbourhood in the heart of a thriving modern city. You could see sights such as the Moulin Rouge, where Toulouse-Lautrec found most of his models; the famous club of the Lapin Agile; the oldest vineyard in Paris to name just a few of our favourite spots.

Free time in Paris

We'll return to the centre of Paris this afternoon to continue to explore at leisure or you could make your way back to the hotel for a well-earned rest.

If you want to see Paris from a new perspective, you could choose to join our optional boat trip along the Seine. Seeing the city from the river, allows you to take in the historic heart of the French capital in a new way. You’ll want to keep your camera on hand as we pass must-see sights like the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, the Notre Dame, the Conciergerie and the Musée de l'Orangerie.

This evening is your last in the City of Lights, 

 why not take in another facet of Paris's history and culture? Personalise your holiday with a visit to experience glamorous 17th-century Paris at the world’s oldest cabaret and enjoy the Paradis Latin Show entitled L’Oiseau Paradis with a three-course dinner.

Included experience:

Visit to Montmartre.

Day 9

Return home

After a leisurely start to the day, the coach will return you to the Gare du Nord station to take an early afternoon Eurostar service, arriving back in the UK at London St Pancras International just 2 hours 15 minutes later.

What's Included

  • The price of this holiday is per person, based on two people sharing a twin room. Sole occupancy rooms are subject to availability at the relevant supplement. The price includes:;; 4 nights in four-star accommodation; Daily breakfast; Return standard class reserved seat on Eurostar and return coach transfer from Saint-Jean station to your hotel or return flights and transfers; All tours as listed; All local accommodation taxes; The services of a Riviera Travel tour manager;

  • The price of this holiday is per person, based on two people sharing a twin room. Sole occupancy rooms are subject to availability at the relevant supplement. The price includes:;; 8 nights in three to four-star accommodation; Daily breakfast, 1 lunch; Return standard class reserved seat on Eurostar and all transfers; All local accommodation taxes; All excursions as stated; The services of a Riviera Travel Tour Manager;

Check out our Q&As

  • How long has the tour company been trading?

    For almost 40 years

  • I have reduced mobility; can I still travel?

    We want to ensure you make the correct choice before you book your holiday with us. If you have any concerns regarding the suitability of the holiday due to reduced mobility we would encourage you to contact us to discuss these concerns

  • Do I require travel insurance?

    It is a condition of booking that you carry suitable travel insurance.

  • What is my luggage allowance?

    You will receive details of your luggage allowance with your final travel documents, which are sent approximately 10 days prior to your date of departure.

Reviews of this Operator

David Clarke (Google Reviewer)  

This review is for the...

08-Aug-2023

This review is for the italian Lake Como trip Aug 1-8 Wow what a trip. Riviera from start to finish were excellent the booking and help line answering questions were very good and clear. The travel booklet you get is laid out that it is simple to read and follow with step by step info from booking in to flights to meeting the guides. Our guide Matt Purse was just the best guide and real credit to Riviera with his knowledge and straight forward approach to running the trips. Matt kept us informed and told us all the sort of info you want to know without going over the top....This chap should teach other reps ..thank you so much. The coaches they use are all clean and well equipped with usb chargers and have aircon. The places chosen to visit were well researched even down to where coaches park or drop you off. The Bernina Express was the highlight for our family and matts photo tip was welcomed. The only down point was the hotel,a little dated and evening meal in main restuarant was a bit of a let down. I think we were lucky with our room on level 7 and with balcony as the walls are very thin and noise travels. We would book again with riviera

Barbara Shillaker (Google Reviewer)  

I have been on three...

11-Jan-2024

I have been on three trips with Riviera Travel so far, with two more booked during 2024. Highly recommended. Excellent tour guides. Great program of visits. Great hotels used.

Valerie Pascoe  

We would go again in a heartbeat

22-Jan-2022

Oh my goodness, what a relief it was to actually get away! Full marks to all at Riviera for keeping us up to date before our trip and for the help so cheerfully and patiently given with the extra admin that Covid brought our way. We felt totally safe with the measures taken on board, thank you very much for this. Without exception, Staff were fantastic and our every need was attended to. The additional Covid testing ran smoothly, organised by our Riviera Reps. The guided tours were most interesting: the guides very knowledgeable and more importantly, interesting to listen to. We loved this trip and would do it again in a heartbeat. Thank you again Riviera, you were FAB!

Chris Wilson (Google Reviewer)  

Second escorted tour with this...

25-Jul-2022

Second escorted tour with this company. Did 5 days in Iceland tour. Everything went smoothly, excellent tour guide, Per. Extremely knowledgeable and interesting guy. Very friendly too. Highly recommend. Just let down by the room given at the hotel, but I guess the travel company doesn't have control over this.

Kathryn Jurin, GB  

Riviera South Africa tour - awesome

21-May-2021

Riviera have amazing holidays and tours to choose from. The one we chose was South Africa and wow! It turned out to be our best trip ever - incredible memories we will never forget. We’ve been all over the world which was because of all our experiences, this one was awesome. The organisation of the holiday, the guide and the travel was e cells that. The choice of hotels, meals, restaurants, trips was absolutely fantastic - very good quality and character - nothing bland or boring! The Riviera guide was permanently with us along with a South Africa guide and they were both extremely friendly, professional, informative and you could ask any questions you want! I would massively recommend this holiday/trip and when you’ve experienced it, you realise how reasonable the price is. We reflect on this trip a lot and thank you Riviera for giving us such a wonderful experience.

Trustpilot
Barry, GB  

Rhine Christmas markets cruise

09-Dec-2019

Just completed a 5 day trip on the Rhine. Our first river cruise and a tester for future cruises. The boat was well appointed and the cabin and public areas were spotlessly clean. The staff were attentive and contributed to the very relaxed atmosphere on the boat. The quality of the food surpassed that which we have experiened on sea cruises in recent years. I have written little because it was a faultless experience. We have booked a further cruise (in France) on the basis of our experience.

Trustpilot
Joan Yarker (Google Reviewer)  

My first cruise and I...

23-Sep-2023

My first cruise and I couldn’t have done better than my recent Seine River cruise. Carmen the tour organiser was excellent and always willing to go the extra mile to sort out any problems. The crew were amazing , friendly and helpful, the captain was great when explaining the controls on the bridge. Everything was very clean, food truly delicious and the pianist a delight and I was able to indulge my passion for dancing. My fellow guests were a delight and I made many new friends. Thank you Riviera

Christine Hardy (Google Reviewer)  

Although most people seem to...

10-Mar-2024

Although most people seem to book and pay for their holidays online, because we live close by we prefer to make a personal visit. In my opinion if they are offering this as an option they should be better equipped to accommodate visits in person. We have not been on our river cruise yet, so can't comment on that yet.

Rob Steele (Google Reviewer)  

My 3rd Riviera trip within...

16-Feb-2024

My 3rd Riviera trip within a year and I wasn't disappointed 😁 This time it was https://www.rivieratravel.co.uk/escorted-tours/southern-india-coastal-route-solo-travellers This trip, although not cheap, it really offers exceptional value for money as you see a lot of Tamil Nadu and Kerela, stay in fantastic hotels, excellent breakfasts every day as well as some lunches and dinners also included. George Bareham, our "Tour Manager" was brilliant, very professional, but also friendly and diligent. Satheeshan, our local guide was helpful and picked me up antibiotics when I got ill, he was a nice chap, if (for my taste) went on a bit and used 20 words when 1 would suffice. Mr Sweeny, our coach driver was fantastic,really professional and an exceptionally good driver. His assistant, Murgon wad a delight, always smiling and attentive. This is a full on trip, early morning starts and quite a packed itinerary, but still leaving time to laze around some brilliant hotel swimming pools. Only a couple of suggestions to improve the holiday. More shopping time in Cochin and change carriers from Etihad who, unfortunately aren't the excellent airline they used to be. But, will I use Riviera Travel again - Yes 😁

Barbara Parkes (Google Reviewer)  

Presently in Croatia staying at...

22-Sep-2023

Presently in Croatia staying at Arauana Hotel, supposedly a 4 star property, but wouldn't give it any star rating. Rooms are small and dirty. Wallpaper blistering. Meals served in a shed like lean-to. Food like warm, greasy and always self service. Second holiday with Riviera this year and neither at standard advertised. Have travelled with them previously and everything was fine, but standards have really dropped. Have booked a holiday with them next year and now dreading it. Certainly don't provide the standard advertised. We have never stayed in such a hovel and have visited youngsters in back packers accommodation which was far better than this supposedly 4 star accommodation. There are no indoor bars or lounges only a shed as a so called restaurant. Absolutely disgusting. Won't be boking with them again

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Book with Confidence

  • Low Deposit

    Riviera Travel requires a minimum deposit of 200 GBP per person or the full booking value, whichever is less, with the final balance not due until 75 days before departure.

  • Cancellation Policy

    We don't charge a cancellation fee, here is a summary of riviera travel charges.

    Up to 75 days before tour starts: Forfeit 100% of deposit.

    At 74 days before tour starts: Forfeit 50% of booking price.

    At 60 days before tour starts: Forfeit 70% of booking price.

    At 30 days before tour starts: Forfeit 90% of booking price.

    At 14 days before tour starts: Forfeit 100% of booking price.

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