Riding holiday in France
Riding holiday in France
Riding holiday in France
Riding holiday in France
Riding holiday in France
Riding holiday in France
Riding holiday in France
Riding holiday in France
Riding holiday in France
Riding holiday in France
Riding holiday in France
Map

This equestrian vacation is ideal for lovers of fine wines, with faster than average horseback riding among some of the great names of Bordeaux Wines. During the tour guests have the opportunity to taste white, red and rosé wines: Médoc, Côte de Blaye, Côte de Bourg, Bordeaux Supérieur, Lalande-Pomerol, St Emilion, Entre-Deux-Mers, Graves and the famous sweet and strong white Sauternes. Visit the Citadel of Blaye, the Medieval City of St Émilion, the feudal Castle of Rauzan and the medieval fortified town of Cadillac. Overnight accommodation is in comfortable hotels and B&B's.

Please Note: The opinions expressed in these reviews are the author's and do not necessarily reflect the views of Unicorn Trails Ltd. These reviews are "directly from the horses mouth" and unedited. Unicorn Trails may make additional comments for clarification clearly identified in red.

Review received from AA of Chilton on 01/06/2018

Ride Summary
What was your overall impression of the holiday
Fit forward thinking horses, friendly guides, great food, lovely going through the vineyards.
Overall impression
Unicorn Trails sales staff

Riding tour leader

Additional Comments
Britta and David make a great team
Horses and Tack

Additional Comments
Comfy saddles were a bonus!
Meals

Accommodation

Miscellaneous

Was this trip accurately described to you beforehand?
YES
Please give more details to explain your response:
We met all but two of our fellow riders waiting for the transfer which was a good chance to get to know each other. Ollie was in charge of ‘logistics ‘ - basically everything from food for us to fencing for the horses and he was excellent! We had one poor nights accommodation and meal in Cadillac when we couldn’t stay at the amazing guest house where the horses were turned out. I don’t think this was a usual hotel for the trail.
Was there anything you should have known and were not told? YES
Please give more details to explain your response:
Take some soft long riding socks in case your half chaps chafe! Also, we did take insect repellent but still got some good bites so I would definitely recommend packing plenty of antihistamine!
What could we do to improve this ride?
How would you rate the difficulty of this ride out of 10 where 1 is very easy and 10 is very advanced?
7
Please explain why you scored it as you did:
The guides can tailor the speed of the ride to the group but it’s a long day in the saddle,especially some days, and we did get some good fast canters in!
Would you recommend Unicorn Trails to your friends?
YES
Please give more details to explain your response:
This was our 4th holiday booked through Unicorn Trials and the second we have done with friends
May we use you as a reference for other people wishing to go on this ride?
YES
Any other comments:
We had a real sense of achievement as we rode 195km over the 6 days - and learnt quite a bit about wine along the way!
Unicorn comments: Superb review - many thanks!

The following is based on the Moulid en Médoc to Sauterne route. Please note that on some departures this itinerary is operated in reverse. 

Day 1

Arrival and transfer from Bordeaux airport at 18.30 to accommodation in Moulis en Médoc.

Day 2
After breakfast, the ride starts with a day's hike leading through the wooded landscapes and vineyards of the Entre-deux-mers region. Pass the 13th century Chateau de Rauzan on the way to the picnic spot. After lunch, continue riding through the vineyards and returning to the Chateau du Courros, a few kilometers south of St Emilion, for a tasting. Dinner and overnight at a B&B in Ruch.

Day 3 
Drive along the Dordogne to Merlande and through the vineyards to St Emilion. Pass the Chateau de Pavie on the way to a picnic at Chateau Franc-Mayne. An ancient Gallo-Roman road runs alongside the vineyards. This was the route used by pilgrims through the centuries on their way to the Santiago de Compostela. In the afternoon visit the estates of Chateau Petrus, Chevel Blanc and Chateau Figeac. Leave the horses in Pomerol while the group dinner and overnight at the hotel.

Day 4 (Afternoon Ride)
Enjoy a leisurely morning exploring the fascinating town of St Emilion before heading off for a picnic and to meet the horses. Ride through the countryside and small woods to Chateau Mayne-Veil, where the horses spend the night and the group head to the hotel in Libourne for dinner and overnight.

Day 5
Head to Mouillac through varied landscapes and vineyards to enjoy a picnic at the Romanesque church. Continue on to Cubnezais. The landscape is divided into vineyards and forests of Pine and hardwoods. Leave the horses at Domaine de la Gravette while riders transfer to Civrac de Blaye for dinner and overnight in a B&B

Day 6
After breakfast, ride through rolling hills in the Côtes de Bourg and enjoy a tasting at Chateau Lamothe. Departure around 3pm to the Citadelle de Blaye and a horseback tour of the 18th century citadel, with 1.5km of ramparts, gates and underground passageways. Overnight and dinner at a hotel in Blaye.

Day 7
After breakfast the group saddle up and leave for the ferry to cross the Gironde river (with the horses) to Lemarque and Médoc (40 min). Ride through the Mérdoc vinyards to the picnic spot at Moulis de Médoc. The afternoon is at leisure with a tasting at Chateau Maslescasse. Overnight and dinner at a B&B in Moulis en Médoc.

Day 8
Riders will be transferred to the airport (1.5 hr) after breakfast to arrive at 11am. There is only one shuttlle offered. Those travelling by train can take a shuttle bus from Bordeaux airport to the Bordeaux train station (30 min).

 

 

 

Please note: All itineraries are given for your guidance only and it may be altered on the ground and in accordance with the prevailing conditions by the organising team.

Horses & Riding

The horses used on this trip are pure or cross-bred Paint, Arabian or Thoroughbreds and warmbloods varying in height from 15.5hh to 17hh. Most of them were born at the local farm. The horses are calm, experienced, well-behaved and suitable for all types of rider. Comfortable trail riding saddles, saddlebags, poncho, and water are provided but riders are asked to bring water bottles with them. Horses are ridden in “Myler” bits. Helmets are mandatory and are not provided. The pace on this trail varies according to the terrain. There are long periods of walking, but plenty of opportunities to canter and gallop; often faster than comparable trails. The terrain varies day by day and includes rolling hills, vineyards, farmland and woods. There are no drop-offs or extreme terrain.


Rider requirements

Wearing a safety helmet is mandatory. Cheval Voyages doesn’t provide them so please bring your personal safety helmet. Riders must be competent at a walk, trot, canter and gallop over varied terrain and in open spaces over long distances. Riders must be able to mount a horse using a horse block. There are no age limits, children under 18 must be accompanied by a legal guardian. Riders should be in good physical condition, have soft hands and be confident riders. On some days walking beside horses may be required, usually max 30 mins a day. The horses will be prepared by the support team each day.
Please note that if the ride leader determines that a rider does not have the required level, OR if the rider/group ask to stop the ride of their own decision, there is a 300 euro fee for the transportation of each horse.
Riders must please confirm their weight, height and riding level prior to arrival in respect to the health of the horses.

Weight Limit

The weight limit for this ride is 198 lb/90 kg, please enquire if you are an experienced rider exceeding this weight.

Accommodation on this trail is in small hotels or B&Bs in a different location each night of each trail (these vary with the seasons and according to availability). There is sometimes a private bathroom but you should be prepared to share bathrooms on this trail.



Continental breakfasts are served at the accommodation each morning.

Lunches are buffets with a wide choice (adaptable to particular diets) with wine, coffee and water.

Dinner will be typical French fare served at the hotels (wine and other extras not included).

The support van follows the trail to prepare lunch and dinner in time for the groups arrival. An assistant prepares the lunch buffet and ready to help with any special dietary requirements.



The luggage is transported in the vehicle and transferred to each accommodation. We ask the riders to have only one soft suitcase of 20 kg/44 lbs maximum and a small day pack for travel


Vegetarian or other dietary requirements within reason can be accommodated with advance notice. Please contact Unicorn Trails with requests before booking.

Documents - Visa and Consulate Info

Please note that it is your responsibility to ensure you have the correct documentation in place for your trip.

NB: Be sure to check the COVID status of the country you plan to visit including entry procedures and requirements while travelling.

Passport and Visa requirements can change regularly depending on diplomatic relations. Please request information from the appropriate Consulate in your home country.

Unicorn Trails will assist with any questions you have or supply any necessary supporting documents as required by the consulate should you need a visa.

In the UK the British Foreign Office gives advice: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/france

In the USA: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/international-travel/International-Travel-Country-Information-Pages/France.html

In Canada: https://travel.gc.ca/destinations/france

Climate Summary

France, including Bordeaux, is at its best in spring, though winter-like relapses are not unknown. Autumn is pleasant but the days are fairly short. Bordeaux's proximity to the Atlantic Ocean ensures a fairly mild climate.
Average annual temperature : 12.3°C: Average in winter: 5 - 7°C, Average in summer: 19 - 21°C.

Climate Chart

Health

COVID: Be sure to check the latest COVID regulations for travelling in any country you visit.

Please refer to your country’s latest health guideline for travel in France and contact your own GP for up to date advice on vaccinations and prophylaxis prior to travel.


Please take along sun cream and anti-allergy medicine for possible insect bites.

The emergency phone number in France is 112. If you need to contact other emergency services, call 15 (medical), 17 (police) or 18 (fire).

Electricity

In France the supply voltage is 230V. If the appliance is a single voltage rated appliance, it will need to operate at the same voltage as the supply voltage of the country i.e. 230V. If this is not the case it should be used alongside a voltage transformer or converter to allow the appliance to work safely and properly.

Mobile, WiFi and charging

Shops are few and far between so please bring all your camera equipment with you. Mobile phone reception is available most days, Wifi is often available at your evening accommodation but this is not guaranteed. If using a GoPro ensure you get permission from the group to be filmed.

Packing List

We ask the riders to have only one soft suitcase of 20 kg/44 lbs maximum and a small day pack for travel.

- Riding Helmet - we strongly recommend that you wear a properly fitted riding helmet of the current standard which is PAS015 or BSEN1384
- Gloves
- Jodhpurs - jodhpurs, breeches or other comfortable trousers (jeans may rub and can also be quite hot)
- Hat or beret and a buff bandana (sometimes, especially when it is very dry, horses can kick up a lot of dust during the rides)
- Riding Boots - it is important to have correct shoes or boots for horse riding. Jodhpur or ankle boots with a rubber sole are recommended but sturdy shoes with a definite heel are acceptable (such as walking boots)
- Half Chaps - these are great when worn with ankle boots and help prevent the stirrup leathers rubbing against your legs
- T-shirts and long-sleeved shirts
- Fleece - Although the weather is generally very warm, the evenings can be a bit cooler
- Warm layers - At times the evening temperature drops significantly
- Casual Clothes - for when out of the saddle
- Raincoat - it is always a wise idea to pack a waterproof/ windproof jacket!
- Sunhat
- Sunglasses
- Sunscreen
- Refillable Water Bottle - it's very important to drink a lot of water when it's hot, especially when doing physical activities. We do not supply plastic water bottles so please ensure you bring your own reusable bottle, we will of course provide water.
- Personal Items - toiletries, any medicines you require and please be sure to take insect repellent
- Camera and Spare Batteries/Charger - an absolute must! It is also a good idea to take a camera case you can strap around your waist or onto a belt for whilst you are riding
- A copy of your passport
- Baggage: Riders should only bring one suitcase (size 69cm x 47cm x 27cm) and one handbag.

Programmes

8d / 7n programme with 6 riding days.

Departure Dates

2024: 11 (Full), 19 (Full) May; 28 (Full) Sept; 6 (Full), 19 (Full), 27 (Full) Oct
2025: 20 (Full) Apr; 3 (Full), 11 (Full) May; 11 (Full), 19 (Full) Oct

Pricing
No single supplement is charged if the rider is willing to share with someone of the same sex, and a sharer can be found.

If a sharer can be found after the single supplement is paid this will be refunded.

No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description £
20258d/7n6double pp2,179
20258d/7n6single supplement395
20248d/7n6double pp1,959
20248d/7n6single supplement379
20248d/7n6non-rider1,279
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description
20258d/7n6double pp2,545
20258d/7n6single supplement459
20248d/7n6double pp2,285
20248d/7n6single supplement439
20248d/7n6non-rider1,495
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description US $
20258d/7n6double pp2,955
20258d/7n6single supplement515
20248d/7n6double pp2,649
20248d/7n6single supplement495
20248d/7n6non-rider1,735
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description SEK
20258d/7n6double pp30,649
20258d/7n6single supplement5,405
20248d/7n6double pp27,519
20248d/7n6single supplement5,169
20248d/7n6non-rider18,005
Recommended Reading

Adventures on the Wine Route: A Wine Buyer’s Tour of France - Kermit Lynch

Written by one of the first major importers of great French wine into the States, the book recounts grand feasts, cold cellar tastings, and navigating the world of wine merchants. Even if you’re clueless about which wines are from where, this is a fun read, about a hippie-turned–wine importer from Berkeley, California, and an engaging memoir.

The Finest Wines of Bordeaux: A Regional Guide to the Best Châteaux and Their Wines - James Lawther

A highly approachable, beautifully illustrated guide, which draws on the author's insider knowledge to open up Bordeaux. He has identified 90 producers from both the Left and Right banks with the finest wines and the most interesting stories to tell and takes us inside their chateaux, offering intimate portraits of both the properties and the people who shape this fascinating region.

The Road from the Past: Traveling through History in France - Ina Caro

Theodore Zeldin ‘The French’,

Francoise Sagan ‘Bonjour Tristesse’,

Peter Mayle ‘A Year in Provence’ and ‘Toujours Provence’,

Louis Stevensons ‘Travels with a Donkey’ and

For the equestrian traveller who would like to see what is possible on horseback, visit www.thelongridersguild.com. An excellent source of equestrian travel books is www.horsetravelbooks.com  


Other Activities

The trails are suitable for non riding companions as they can hire their own transport if they wish.

Other Information

It is customary to tip in France, but is always at your discretion
Please note that if the rider/group ask to stop the ride of their own decision, there is a 300 euro fee for the transportation of the horse/s.
Should the guide judge that a rider does not have the level or skills to do the trek on horseback, they can decide to stop it without refund.

Other Country Information

The French wrote the book on la vie en rose and gave the world champagne and camembert, de Beauvoir and Debussy, the Tour de France and the Eiffel Tower. It is a country steeped in history. Staggering monasteries and castles dotted all over the country are a reminder of a turbulent and often violent past, especially in the Carcasonne region where the Gnostic Christian organisation the Cathars, held fast against a crusade launched in the 11th century by an angry and vengeful Catholic church for over twenty years. Despite their vow of non-violence they had a strong support base, including the Knights Templar, and their name often pops up in the legend of the Holy Grail. The French character has undoubtedly been influenced by their past, today they are a proud and patriotic people famed for enjoying the finer things in life and displaying a great generosity in their willingness to share their country with the millions of visitors they receive each year. Food is very important in French culture, almost a passion. Families eat dinner together late in the evening and their diet is usually very healthy, packed with home grown fruit and vegetables. You will hardly ever see anyone eating on the street; if you do chances are they're not French! France is one hour ahead of GMT and they use the metric weights and measures system, so kilometres and kilograms instead of miles and pounds. There is approximately 1.6 kilometres in a mile and 2.2 pounds in a kilogram. The international dialling code for France is +33.


Travel Summary

Meeting-point (getting there):
Bordeaux Airport (BOD) for transfer at 6pm
Transfer:
2024: From Bordeaux Airport, €20pp return payable on site . Arrival transfer is at 6pm, departure airport drop off 12 noon. (subject to change)
Flight Guide:
London - Bordeaux from £140 pp return
Riders who booked this ride also considered
Horses drinking at a village fountain en route
France, Carcassonne Pyrenean Trail

Explore the Pyrenean Read more >

from US $1,395
Cantering beside the vinyards of Ribero del Duero
Spain, Gourmet Wine Route

This equestrian Read more >

from US $2,525
Horses on the trail
Spain, Asturias Cider Trail

Enjoy horseback riding through the Asturias region in far...Read more >

from US $2,609