Bordeaux River Cruise: Culture, Cuisine, and Chateaux with Paris

Extraordinary landscapes, delicious fare, winemaking that has been refined to an art and a wealth of historical riches. Enjoy all this on a romantic 11 day river cruise through the Bordeaux region.

12 Days
Paris to Bordeaux
From (USD)
$ 7,620
Dates & Pricing

2019 Paris > Bordeaux

Discover the diverse treasures of the most famous wine region in the world as we ply the Garonne and Dordogne Rivers through the rolling hills of southwest France. Venture into ancient towns and villages where half-timbered houses and medieval churches meet Renaissance gems, and enjoy a warm welcome at some of the most prestigious wine estates in Bordeaux. Set out on walks and bike rides to explore a gentle countryside that—like its wines—begs to be savored, and sample award-winning vintages from world-class appellations like Saint-Émilion, Médoc, and Sauternes. Along the way, soak up the insights of the National Geographic expert and a National Geographic photographer on excursions and onboard talks.
Tour Map
Tour Code:
12 days
Departure City:
Return City:

Selected Itinerary

12 Day Itinerary

  1. Day 1 - Paris, France

    The ‘city of light’ is your host this evening, so kick off your holiday with a delightful welcome reception at your luxurious Paris hotel.

  2. Day 2 - Bordeaux

    Traverse the World Heritage-listed landscapes of the Loire Valley in style aboard the TGV to Bordeaux.  Settle into your suite aboard the Scenic Diamond and enjoy dinner on board this evening.

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

  3. Day 3 - Libourne/Saint-Émilion

    Cruise the Garonne and Dordogne Rivers to the 13th-century port town of Libourne, and perhaps enjoy a cooking class in Scenic Culinaire along the way. Spend the afternoon in picturesque Saint-Émilion, an ancient village of cobbled alleyways and half-timbered houses set above rolling vineyards. Take a tour of the village’s Monolithic Church and catacombs, which were carved out of a limestone hill in the 12th century.

    End the day at the glorious Château Siaurac, where we’ll toast the sunset with the estate’s excellent wines.

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

  4. Day 4 - Libourne/Bergerac/Pauillac

    Choose from the following excursions today: visit the Château Franc Mayne to taste its grand cru classé, or enjoy a  Gabarre Boat Cruise and journey to the historic city of Bergerac. Alternatively, head out of the city by bike, pedaling past vineyards and stopping at historic wine estates along the way. We will visit a chateaux owned by relatives of National Geographic Explorer Jacques Cousteau, who was born in this region.

    Cruise to Pauillac in the afternoon.

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

  5. Day 5 - Pauillac/Médoc

    Travel the scenic Médoc wine route today, gaining insights from our expert and capturing images alongside our National Geographic photographer. Opt to explore the region on foot, walking from one historic wine estate to the next and sampling local vintages along the way. Or cycle to Château Lagrange, featured on Napoleon III’s Official Classification of Bordeaux wines in 1855.

    This evening, enjoy a classic musical performance at the medieval Château d’Agassac.

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

  6. Day 6 - Pauillac/Cadillac

    Glide south along the Garonne, soaking in beautiful vistas of the Bordeaux region on the way to Cadillac, a port town whose fortifications date back to the Hundred Years’ War.  Take part in a cooking class on board in Scenic Culinaire if you wish. In the evening, local entertainers perform on the ship.

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

  7. Day 7 - Cadillac/Sauternes

    Spend the morning discovering the Sauternes region, known for its dessert wines. Cycle through rolling vineyards to Château de Myrat for a tasting of grand cru classé wines, or visit the Château Guiraud to try its prestigious vintages.

    Enjoy a master class in French cuisine in Scenic Culinaire, set off on a hike to the village of Loupiac. Alternatively, visit the historic Château de Roquetaillade with the family that has owned it for centuries, or visit a truffle farm and sample the delicious regional delicacy.

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

  8. Day 8 - Bordeaux

    Immerse yourself in the vibrant rhythms of Bordeaux today.

    Join a chef at the market to select produce, and then cook it up during a culinary class on board in Scenic Culinaire. Or take a guided tour—by vehicle or by bicycle—of the city’s bridges, gardens, and historic sites. Then join a local historian for a private visit to the Musée d’Aquitaine, which traces the tumultuous history of this region from prehistoric times to the modern era.

    After a dinner of regional delicacies, set out on an evening cruise to see the city lit up at night and attend a performance by a classical musician.

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

  9. Day 9 - Bordeaux/Arcachon/Bourg

    Enjoy a day on the Arcachon Bay, edged by nature reserves and long sandy beaches.

    Go on a bird-watching hike with a local conservationist in the Teich Bird Reserve, where more than 300 species have been observed. Alternatively, stroll through the town of Arcachon and its outdoor market, head to the beach to climb the highest sand dune in Europe, or stay in Bordeaux and take the tram to the new Cité du Vin museum.

    Dock in picturesque Bourg for the night.

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

  10. Day 10 - Bourg or Cognac/Blaye

    Start the day with a tour of the Château de la Citadelle in Bourg, including its carriages museum and guardrooms. Then visit the Grotte de Pair-non-Pair with a site researcher on an excursion specially arranged by National Geographic. Discovered in 1881, the cave yielded many thousands of tools and fossils, as well as wall paintings—an incredible glimpse into life on Earth some 60,000 years ago. Alternatively, enjoy an excursion to Cognac, a fortified town renowned for its brandy, and stop for a tasting at the Rémy Martin property.

    Relax on the sun deck as we sail into the historic port of Blaye this evening.

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

  11. Day 11 - Blaye/Bordeaux

    Take in sweeping views of vineyard-striped hills from the historic Blaye citadel on a tour of the town. Or enjoy a morning of cycling on the Captain’s Road, named after World War I captains who purchased homes along the waterway.

    Join a final cooking class in Scenic Culinaire or just relax on board as we make our way back to Bordeaux. Gather for a Captain’s farewell dinner tonight.

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

  12. Day 12 - Bordeaux

    Disembark after breakfast and transfer to the airport or train station in Bordeaux for your journey home.

    Please note: Itinerary is subject to change.

    Meals Included: Breakfast

Tour inclusions

The National Geographic Difference
  • Cycle through the vineyards near Libourne, stopping at the Château Belles-Graves, owned by relatives of Jacques Cousteau, who grew up in the region and spent time at the castle.
  • Follow a historian on a guided tour of the Musée d’Aquitaine, home to treasures from prehistory to the 20th century.
  • Head out with a conservationist on a bird-watching hike at the Teich Bird Reserve, where water birds, eagles, and all manner of migratory species have been spotted.
  • Venture into the Grotte de Pair-non-Pair to see prehistoric cave art with a private guide, and meet with a researcher to learn about other significant finds here.

Pricing & Availability