The next day the tour flows down the valley of the river Dropt through Duras towards La Reole on the Garonne. A picnic lunch here on the riverbank will be enough fuel to carry you across the flat valley bottom to the Canal Laterale - a photographers delight with its tree shaded reflections, lock basins and forbidding Chateau. A delightful riverside route then brings you to St Macaire - an ancient river port- and your home for the night, Les Feuilles d'Acanthe. The hotel has an excellent restaurant and a relaxing plunge/whirlpool.
The first destination of your third day is the ancient and tiny cathedral 'city' of Bazas. Your route there takes you through vineyards of the Graves appelation as it meanders across the Girondine landscape to join a dedicated cycle track that like so many, once carried steam locomotives. Bazas itself peaked sometime in the 15th century since when it has quietly dozed in it rural backwater. A stroll around the ramparts and a peek inside the cathedral may be all you have time for if you first enjoy an extended lunch break. Returning to the smooth cyclepath will lead you into the edges of the Gascon forest and towards either Uzeste or Villandraut where you overnight.
The following day has been set aside for either lazing or exploring a little of the local area in more detail. So in addition to paying your respects to Papa Clemente V you could visit the royal hunting lodge of Cazeneuve, tour the ancient fortress of Roquetaillarde where the same family has been in residence for over 700 years, or leave the history lessons and paddle a canoe down the Ciron.
The valley of the Ciron is your route east the next day when you cycle through the rich green vineyards of the Sauternes perhaps stopping off at the village of that name for a tasting. The Chateaux Malle also lies on this route and offers a fascinating view of a living country house interior. Swinging North you ride through more vineyards and invitations to taste until you reach Cerons where you cross the river to head for the home of your charming hosts at Domaine Pascaud. Supper that evening may be taken within the walls of the fortified village of Rions which is only a brief stroll away.
You retrace a little of the previous days route in the morning to enter Cadillac - the small town that by a roundabout route gave its name to a large motor car. It too, has encircling walls and towers plus the chateau of the Dukes of Epernon. Continuing north you pass through the Entre Deux Mers region and past the abbey of La Sauve a waypoint on a Compostella pilgrimage route. Before you emerge on the banks of the Dordogne at Branne in the distance you will catch sight of St Emilion's towers. Dismount as you enter its steep streets to better enjoy its character and bustle. Tonight you stay at a hotel in the town or a Chambre D'hote a little outside it.
Unless you book the 9 night/10 day option of an extra day here you need to squeeze as much as you can into the morning before setting off towards Creon and the Roger Lapebie cycle route that snakes down the valley of the Pimpine to regain the Garonne. Here at Latresne it is an easy last few miles to reach Bordeaux by a riverside route where you are re-united with your luggage for the last time. A night at a city centre hotel completes your tour unless you choose one or more excursions to the coast or Medoc from this beautiful city.
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Europe France Outdoor: Land Rambler Bicycle Touring
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