This special trip is ideal for lovers of fine wines with faster than average riding amongst some of the great names of Bordeaux Wines. During the tour you 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.
You will also get to know the Citadel of Blaye, the Medieval City of St Émilion, the feudal Castle of Rauzan and the medieval fortified town of Cadillac.
Overnight accommodations are 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
Please note that on some departures this itinerary is operated in reverse.
Arrival and transfer from Bordeaux airport at 18.30 to accommodation in Moulis en Médoc.
Enjoy breakfast at 8:00am before going to meet the horses. We will set off around 10.00 through gentle landscape between vineyards and forests. A picnic lunch is enjoyed on the banks of the Gironde before sampling a fine Medoc. We will cross the Gironde with our horses on a ferry, towards Blaye (crossing time of 40 minutes). Upon arrival we will visit on horseback the citadelle Vauban (18th century). Night at the Porche Hotel or similar.
After breakfast we are back on horseback at 10.00. We will ride through the Côtes de Blaye and the Côtes de Bourg, a hilly landscape. Picnic at a wine producers’ establishment at Castle Lamothe and tasting of the Côte de Bourg. Departure at 15.00 towards Cubnezais, through a more gentle landscape without vineyards. The evening will be spent at vineyard Gravette’s. Tasting during the meal. Night onsite.
After breakfast we are back on horseback at 09.30. It is a region where vineyards alternate with little forests which will lead us to the castle Mayne Veil, for a picnic and a tasting of Fronsac wine. Towards Libourne, we will pass through the famous region of Pomerol. The horses will stay in Pomerol while we visit the castle Belles Graves to taste the famous wine Lalande de Pomerol. We will spend the evening at the La Tour hotel in Libourne or similar.
Heading towards Saint Emilion we pass through the famous properties of Château Pétrus, Cheval Blanc and Château Figeac. Picnic in St Emilion with tasting of the local wine, followed by a free visit of the city. In the afternoon we will leave St Emilion to ride through the large valley of Dordogne and arrive at Chateau Courros for wine tasting by 19:00. The horses will stay here for the night while we drive to Saint Jean de Blaignac and spend the night in a Bed and Breakfast.
We are now in the region of the l'Entre deux mers, with its varied landscapes, hilly and wooded, and its beautiful wineries. We will pass the castle of Rauzan (13th century). In the afternoon we will ride through slightly hilly landscapes where vineyards alternate with forests, which will lead us to the castle of Broustaret (Bed and Breakfast). We will have dinner in the city of Cadillac where we will taste the Premières Côtes de Bordeaux. Night-time visit of the city.
Today the ride is very hilly until Cadillac. We will then pass through the valley of Garonne to reach the vineyards of Graves and Sauternes. Picnic at the castle of Myrat, the Comte of Pontac will show us his castle and will offer us a tasting of this gold-coloured wine. In the afternoon gallops between vineyards and forests will lead us to Sauternes. During the meal we will taste wine from Graves and spend the night at the hotel.
With a new enthusiasm and knowledge of the wines of Bordeaux, you will be transferred to the airport after breakfast about 9.30, journey time around 1hr 15 mins.
Please follow this link for a map of this itinerary: Bordeaux Wine Trail
We're avid readers here at Unicorn Trails and have selected several books connected to this ride. If you're interested in reading more about the area before you travel, or want to get into the cultural background, here are some suggestions that may inspire you. Click on the links for more information.
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.
The pace on this trail is varied on the terrain, with long periods of walk and 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. The horses 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 and experienced, well-behaved and suitable for all types of rider. Comfortable trail riding saddles, saddlebags, poncho, and water are provided. Horses are ridden in “Myler” bits. Helmets are not mandatory but are strongly recommended.
Riders must be competent at a walk, trot, canter and gallop over varied terrain and in open spaces. There is help available with mounting and dismounting if required. There are no age limits, children under 18 must be accompanied by a legal guardian. Riders should be in good physical shape, have soft hands and be confident.
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.
The weight limit for this ride is 209 lb/95 kg, please enquire if you are an experienced rider exceeding this weight.
Accommodation on this trail is in small hotels or B&Bs, a different location each night of each trail which also varies 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 next accommodation (wine and other extras not included). The support van follows the trail to prepare your arrival for lunch and dinner. An assistant prepares the lunch buffet and is at your service if you have a special need. The luggage is transported in the vehicle and transferred to each accommodation.
Vegetarian or other dietary requirements can be accommodated with advanced notice. Please contact Unicorn Trails with requests.
Please note that it is your responsibility to ensure you have the correct documentation in place for your trip. If Visa’s are required the requirements can change from year to year 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 on request.
Visa are not required for U.K. or other European nationals. In the UK the British Foreign Office gives travel advice on travel insurance, passport and visas, health and vaccinations, legal issues and emergency issues. They can be reached on 0207 008 0232/0233 or at www.fco.gov.uk.
The British Consulate in Paris is at 35 rue de Faubourg St Honore, 75383 Paris Cedex 08. Tel + (33) 1 44 51 31 00. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The French Embassy in the U.K can be found at 58 Knightsbridge, London SW1X 7JT. Telephone: (020) 7073 1000. Email: email@example.com.
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.
No special health precautions are required for visits to France, for further details please see your local doctor. We do advise taking plenty of sunscreen!
For up to date information on specific health concerns please contact the Medical Advisors For Travellers Abroad. Their website can be found at www.masta.org.
Voltage is the same as in the UK and most appliances such as battery chargers for videos, hair dryers etc. can be plugged in with appropriate adapters. These are available for purchase at most airports and travel shops.
Shops are few and far between so please bring all your camera equipment with you. Mobile phone reception is available most days, internet access is not usually possible.
We have put together a suggested packing list for your trip. This should be used as a guideline as requirements may very according to your programme and preferences.
• Riding Helmet - we strongly recommend that you wear a properly fitted riding helmet of the current standard which is PAS015 or BSEN1384.
• Jodhpurs - jodhpurs, breeches or other comfortable trousers (jeans may rub and can also be quite hot)
• 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
• Water Bottle - it's very important to drink a lot of water when it's hot, especially when doing physical activities
• Raincoat - it is always a wise idea to pack a waterproof/ windproof jacket!
• Personal Items - toiletries, any medicines you require and please be sure to take inset repellent and plenty of sun cream
• 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
This is an 8 day/7 night programme with riding on 6 days.
2019: 26 Oct.
2020: 10, 31 May; 12, 20 Sept; 3, 11 Oct.
If a sharer can be found after the single supplement is paid this will be refunded.
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Périgord – any books on the history of Aquitaine
Bordeaux Wines & Loire Castles – any books on these subjects
The trails are suitable for non riding companions as they can hire their own transport if they wish.
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 character in their willingness to share their country with the millions of visitors they receive each year.
Food is very important in French culture, almost puritanical. 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.