Board the Amadolce and enjoy 2 nights in Bilbao and 2 nights in San Sebastian leading up to a 7-night roundtrip Bordeaux cruise, followed by 2 nights in the Loire Valley and 1 night in Paris. On your roundtrip Bordeaux cruise enjoy one of the world’s undisputed wine regions. Iconic châteaux, timeless vineyards and delicious wine tastings are plentiful as you visit Cadillac, Pauillac, Saint-Émilion and Libourne. This trip is a must for anyone interested in the best of French culture, lifestyle, wine and food.
Visit the Atrium, one of the signature traits of Frank Gehry's architectural design
Tour Arcachon, one of the gems of the French Atlantic coast
Explore the Castle of Roquetaillade, a masterpiece of medieval architecture
Go to Château Gruaud Larose or Château Léoville Poyferré
Bilbao is a city of contrasts as it successfully blends its traditional Basque culture with a new vision for the future, which you’ll discover on your tour. Superb architecture includes the Frank Gehry-designed Guggenheim Museum; a timeless Metro system designed by Sir Norman Foster; Zubizuri, a stunning suspension cable footbridge; the Torre Iberdrola by Cesar Pelli; and Vizcaya Bridge, a World Heritage site built in 1893 and the first of its kind. The medieval part of the city, Casco Viejo, is also locally known as “las 7 calles” in Spanish or “Zazpi Kaleak” in Basque (the seven streets), since these were the seven streets that formed the original medieval town. The beautiful narrow streets are mostly pedestrian-only and are filled with an abundance of taverns offering many opportunities to sample the local fare.
Day 3: Bilbao | San Sebastian
After checking out of the hotel, you’ll visit the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, representing a magnificent example of the most groundbreaking 20th-century architecture. Of the 24,000 square meters occupied by the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, 11,000 are reserved for exhibition spaces. Once inside the museum, visitors access the Atrium, the real heart of the Museum and one of the signature traits of Frank Gehry's architectural design. With curved volumes and large glass curtain walls that connect the inside and the outside, the Atrium is an ample space inundated with light and covered by a great skylight. The three levels of the building are organized around the Atrium and are connected by means of curved walkways, titanium and glass elevators, and staircases. The museum houses prominent modern and contemporary works. After visiting the museum, transfers to the seaside resort of San Sebastian and check into your hotel. Enjoy an evening walk through San Sebastian’s Old Town, Parte Vieja, which is the heart of San Sebastian. Pedestrian-friendly streets are lined by centuries-old buildings that house numerous restaurants, shops and bars. Its main square, Plaza de la Constitución, is an old bullring converted into the perfect place to relax and absorb the city’s colorful atmosphere.
Day 4: San Sebastian
San Sebastian has the longest history in the Basque Country, and proudly reigns as its capital – a “small country with a big identity,” whose language and traditions are some of the oldest in Europe, and still thriving today. On your tour, you’ll discover why San Sebastian is one of the world’s most beautiful cities. In addition to it culinary excellence, it’s home to breathtaking natural wonders, including the “shell beach,” Playa de la Concha, one of the city’s three beaches, and one of Europe’s most beautiful urban shorelines. It’s also home to an abundance of eclectic architecture with some of the finest located in the area called the New Town. Laid out on both sides of the broad Avenida de la Libertad are enchanting buildings with sprout towers and turrets, domes and steeples. Styles range from Neoclassical to French Revival to Art Nouveau—especially notable along Prim and Reyes Católicos Streets—with elaborately carved wooden doorways, stunning stained-glass panels and unusual ceramic-tile touches.
Day 5: San Sebastian | Arcachon, France | Bordeaux | Embark
Check-out of your hotel and board a motorcoach to the legendary land of wine, Bordeaux. En route to the ship, you’ll stop in the resort town of Arcachon, one of the gems of the French Atlantic coast, offering a mix of beaches, extensive Belle Époque architecture, great atmosphere and its famous oysters. Cap the day off with a Welcome Aboard Wine Toast.
Visit the impressive Castle of Roquetaillade, an amazingly preserved masterpiece of medieval military architecture owned by the same noble family for 700 years. Afterwards, travel to the Sauternes wine region to either Château de Rayne Vigneau or Château Guiraud to taste the highly prized golden-hued sweet wines produced here.
Pauillac, a lovely village on the Left Bank of the Gironde Estuary, is gateway to the famed Médoc region renowned for producing some of the world’s finest Bordeaux wines. You will see some of the most beautiful and famous wine estates, including Château Latour, Château Mouton Rothschild, Château Lafite Rothschild and Château Pichon Longueville. You’ll then visit either Château Gruaud Larose or Château Léoville Poyferré for a tasting of Grand Cru wines.
Once in Blaye, you can join a tour of its 17th-century citadel, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. For a more active excursion, take a bike ride from Blaye through the idyllic French countryside. During the afternoon, you can cruise to Bourg or join a bike tour along Santiago’s path—a famous pilgrimage route—to Bourg. While in the ancient village of Bourg, visit the Carriage Museum, which houses a wonderful collection of horse-drawn vehicles and then explore the underground passageways that lead you to the immense oil tanks from the Second World War. Later in the day, experience the hospitality of this charming medieval village with an exclusive wine festival complete with live French music, dancing, wine and hors d'oeuvres.
Libourne provides a gateway to one of Bordeaux’s most elite wine regions, Saint-Émilion, known for its picturesque architecture, monuments and celebrated vineyards. Join an excursion to historic Saint Émilion, and while here, explore the monolithic church carved out of one piece of limestone rock, and then go under the church to discover its catacombs and caves. Afterwards, enjoy a wine tasting at either Château de Ferrand or Château de Pressac. Prefer a more active adventure, pedal through the vineyard-rich countryside to Saint-Émilion and then to Château Soutard for a Grand Cru Classé wine tasting.
Tour the magnificent Château Vayres, one of the most prestigious historic buildings of Aquitaine, or spend time discovering the Bastide town of Libourne and then stroll through its colorful open-air market tasting some of the region’s specialties. For a more active exploration of the countryside, enjoy a hike followed by a wine tasting. Later in the day, you will have two options of excursions. Visit Château de Montaigne, a stunning 14th-century castle that was the family residence of philosopher Michel de Montaigne and enjoy a lovely wine tasting. Alternatively, visit Fronsac, where you can taste some of the regional wines at a grand wine cellar.
The breathtaking capital of the wine world, Bordeaux, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and classified as a “City of Art and History.” You’ll have an opportunity to experience much of the rich culture and architecture on a city tour followed by a visit to the Bordeaux Wine Museum, housed in an awe-inspiring building. Bike enthusiasts will wish to join a tour along the city’s amazing network of bicycle paths.
Day 12: Bordeax | Disembark | Tours | Amboise
Disembark your ship in Bordeaux and continue your journey by TGV train to Tours, France—gateway to the Loire Valley châteaux. Renowned for good food and good living and teeming with art, history and lovely gardens, it’s the perfect place to explore or join a walking tour. You’ll then be transferred to your hotel in Amboise.
Day 13: Amboise
Visit three of the Loire Valley’s regal châteaux starting with the Château de Chenonceau, one of the most beautiful castles in France. This châteaux has been referred to as the “Women’s Castle” since it is the only castle in the region that has been built, inhabited and saved by women during the Renaissance. Château du Close Lucé was Leonardo da Vinci’s last home where he completed some of his most famous works under the patronage of the King of France. The Château d’Amboise, perched on a promontory overlooking the Loire River, was the first Renaissance château built in the Loire Valley and features extravagant residences, gardens and a Gothic chapel, where Leonardo da Vinci is buried.
Day 14: Amboise | Paris
En route to Paris, visit two more majestic châteaux. While Château de Chambord, located at the heart of Europe’s largest enclosed wooded park, began as an unassuming hunting lodge, it is now the biggest château in the Loire Valley with 426 rooms, 77 staircases and 282 fireplaces. Next, marvel at the residence of seven kings and ten queens of France at the famous Château de Blois where you'll discover the secrets of the French court. Afterwards, transfer by motorcoach to your hotel at Charles De Gaulle Airport.
Day 15: Paris
Bid farewell to Paris and prepare for your flight home.
The trip was terrific with great planning on your part. Most of the adventures were not mainstream and somewhat off the beaten path which made it especially enjoyable!! We felt taken care of and you all were readily available to respond to questions and issues. I would highly recommend your company and friends have already expressed interest based on our pictures and excitement.