Classic itinerary day-by-day
1. Day one
Arrive in Bordeaux and check into your hotel in the heart of this elegant city. Listed as a World Heritage site for its stunning 18th Century architecture, there is much to discover here. Enjoy its chic golden triangle of lingerie, chocolate and perfume boutiques that make any visit to France special and linger in a cafe or two. Your host will meet you in the early evening to run through your itinerary and show you the restaurant quarter of St Pierre.
2. Day two
Bordeaux to Dardenac
First thing your host will see you off from Lastresne at the start of a cyclepath that runs along a former rail-track through a secluded valley that winds its way into the Entre Deux Mers . Halt at one of the old stations for a coffee and then continue to the former Bastide town of Creon. The market square here offers several choices for lunch or you may choose to picnic at the shaded tables alongside the cycle path. The local Maison de Vin nearby could be your source for a taste of local produce. Continuing on the cyclepath you reach La Sauve Majeure where the ancient Abbey buildings are worth a visit and you may encounter modern-day Compostella pilgrims breaking their journey to Santiago in North-west Spain. Within another 6 km leave the cyclepath to ride through country lanes to the hamlet of Dardenac where Francoise is your host at Chateau Dardenac.
17 miles (27 km)
3. Day three
Circular ride to St Emilion and back
Today you have a choice of lounging beside the pool at the chateau or discovering World Heritage listed St Emilion. The ride there heads down to the Dordogne and then crosses the valley to reach this medieval town. With two cloisters, an underground church and much of its moat, walls and towers intact, there's a network of cobbled streets to explore and an array of wine bars, cafes and cellars all beckoning to passing visitors. Enjoy! Return to Dardenac for dinner.
Optional 15 miles (24 km)
4. Day four
Dardenac to St Macaire
Rejoin the cyclepath this morning to continue eastwards through a deep wooded valley rise to reach St Brice in the Entre Deux Mers heartlands. Turning off the cycle path here and pedal through a series of small villages to reach St Germain de Graves where you descend to Verdelais. Here you may choose to take lunch in the village cafe (if you haven't already dined at the destination restaurant at Coirac) before exploring this bucholic little hamlet with its pilgrimage church, Calvary and the grave of the artist Toulous-Lautrec in the cemetery. Rested continue to St Maixant and follow the Garonne flood-plain upstream to St Macaire. This former river port and centre for barrel-making had a turbulent history but that is now behind it and its shaded streets offer sleepy cats and crumbling masonry. Your charming hotel boast neither of these but its plunge-pool and dining room provide an excellent welcome to cyclist guests.
20 miles (32 km)
5. Day five
St Macaire to Cadillac
Perhaps take a pre-breakfast stroll along the foot of the ramparts to appreciate what a daunting task faced St Macaire's attackers before leaving the town by crossing the Garonne and on the outskirts of Langon heading for Roillan and the fortress of Roquetaillarde. This is one of the Pope clement V nephew chateau and has been lived in by members of the same family for just on eight hundred years. Turning north at this point takes you through woodland to the Sauternes where in the village you can sample this sweet white wine and choose from either of the two village restaurants. Alternatively continue down to Bommes and picnic and rest alongside the Ciron river. Either way you now track the river downstream to reach Barsac another sweet white wine appelation. Then continue through vineyards to cross the river at Cadillac and reach the Chateau de la Tour hotel where the outdoor pool offers a chance to relax and the grounds are big enough for a pre-dinner stroll after a tour of the Duke of Epernon's Palace next door.
16 miles (26 km)
6. Day six
Cadillac to Martillac
Heading downstream close to the Garonne this morning you will find Rions - a medieval time - capsule where film crews often occupy the narrow alleys. Following country lanes and tracks your route reaches the old chateau at Langoiran and then Langoiran itself, where a riverside restaurant competes with a traditional typical village cafe. Just adjacent at Le Tourne is a long established boat-building yard displaying the variety of craft that used to ply the river. Crossing the river here the Chateau de Mongenan at Portets with its eccentric collection of bygones and Masonic Temple heirlooms is well worth a stop before a series of left bank villages lead to Martillac where your overnight stay is in the Chateau de Lantic with its wonderful pool and terrace.
15 miles (25 km)
7. Day seven
Martillac to Bordeaux
Your final day of cycling leads through the Prestige Pessac-Leognan vineyards where prior booking can secure a tour at Chateau Smith Haute Lafite or Chateau La Louviere. If the exertions of the week have earned a little pampering, the Source de Caudalie spa is also on your route and to help put back some of the calories burnt one of its two restaurants boasts a Michelin star. The cycling distance today is short enough to allow time for a quality chateau tour or a return to Bordeaux early enough for a few more city pleasures.
12 miles (19 km)
8. Day eight
Sip a final coffee in one of Bordeaux's squares and depart at your leisure.
you have a choice of lounging beside the pool or discovering World Heritage listed St Emilion