Discover the rich Bordeaux region during the autumn vendange aboard the deluxe AmaDolce. Home to Eleanor of Aquitaine, Queen of France, Queen of England and one of the most powerful women of the Middle Ages, Bordeaux’s fame as a capital of culture and wine has only grown since her day. Sample Sauternes and rich varietals from the Médoc and the UNESCO–designated Saint– Emilion regions and visit the renowned châteaux where the grapes are grown. Stroll the streets of Bergerac and other charming villages and admire the splendidly-preserved medieval Château de Roquetaillade. A post–cruise extension to Dordogne is also planned.
We are pleased that Kathryn Calley Galitz, a scholar of late eighteenth- and nineteenth-century French art, will be traveling with us. At The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Dr. Galitz has organized international exhibitions on artists including Girodet, Turner, and Gustave Courbet, which was awarded Best Historical Show 2008 by the International Association of Art Critics. She will be joined by Professor Christie McDonald of Harvard University and other distinguished experts.
WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 18: U.S. DEPARTURE
Depart the U.S. on a flight to Bordeaux via Paris.
THURSDAY, OCTOBER 19: BORDEAUX, FRANCE
Upon arrival, transfer to AmaDolce. In the late afternoon, attend a welcome reception with our study leaders at La Cité du Vin, an exciting new museum devoted to the two millennia of wine history in the region. R,D
FRIDAY, OCTOBER 20: PAUILLAC
After a morning introduction to wine tasting and terroir, dock in Pauillac on the left bank of the Gironde Estuary. Well-known reds such as Merlot, Malbec, and Cabernet Sauvignon are produced in this area. Visit an award-winning wine estate—either the Château Mouton Rothschild, with its Museum of Wine in Art that is acclaimed as one of the world’s finest collections of wine-related treasures; or the Château d’Arsac. The latter is as celebrated for its Margaux wines as it is for its sculpture garden of works by Robert Indiana, Niki de Saint-Phalle, and others. Alternatively, you may wish to join an easy hike for views of the châteaux and estuary. Tonight the captain hosts a welcome dinner. B,L,D
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 21: BLAYE / BOURG
Blaye, on the right bank of the estuary, was an important stronghold in the medieval wars against the English. Visit the imposing, UNESCO-recognized citadel, which contains spectacular fortifications as well as the ruins of a Gothic château. On an island in the middle of the estuary enjoy a private lunch of regional specialties and views from the nearby lighthouse. AmaDolce docks overnight in Bourg. Join a walking tour in this charming medieval town of picturesque alleyways and ancient buildings, or visit a local winemaker for a tasting in his chai (wine storeroom). B,L,D
SUNDAY, OCTOBER 22: LIBOURNE / SAINT-ÉMILION
Drive to the renowned wine capital of Saint-Émilion, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Discover the town’s medieval architecture and underground monuments, including the remarkable Monolithic Church, one of the largest underground churches in Europe. B,L,D
MONDAY, OCTOBER 23: BERGERAC / LIBOURNE
In charming Bergerac, visit the Récollects Cloisters to learn about the Dordogne’s 13 AOCs (official wine regions). See St. Jacques’ Church, originally built in the 12th century and a stop on the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage route. At the market, sample locally produced foie gras, walnuts, and truffles. B,L,D
TUESDAY, OCTOBER 24: CADILLAC
History lovers may admire the splendidly preserved, medieval Château de Roquetaillade—whose original fortifications were built by Charlemagne—or the ruins of Sauve-Majeure Abbey, a masterpiece of Romanesque architecture. Alternatively, oenophiles may choose to visit a private château whose owner will greet us for a sampling of Sauternes, a sweet white wine. B,L,D
WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 25: BORDEAUX
Today is devoted to Bordeaux, center of the region’s wine trade. Learn about the historic ties between the city and America and go backstage at the elegant Grand Théatre, one of the finest theaters in France and a model for the Paris Opéra. Or you may wish to join an architectural tour of the UNESCO-listed Old Town. Admire its splendidly restored 18th-century buildings and the Cathédral Saint-André, featuring a gargoyled belfry; and tour the Musée des Beaux-Arts, home to masterpieces from the Renaissance to the 20th century, including works by native son Odilon Redon. The afternoon is free, perhaps to see the Contemporary Art Museum, housed in an old colonial warehouse, or the current exhibition at the Bernard Magrez Cultural Institute. The captain hosts a farewell dinner this evening. B,L,D
THURSDAY, OCTOBER 26: BORDEAUX / U.S. RETURN
Disembark AmaDolce and transfer to the airport for flights home. B
An optional three-day postlude in the Dordogne region is offered from October 26 to 29.
Please call National Trust Tours for details at 888.484.8785.