Type of horses:
Mixed breeds including locally bred French saddle horses.
Nature of horses:
Good-natured, sensible and forward going.
Height of horses:
c. 14.2hh - 15.2hh
English, Western and McLellan saddles are available.
The Gironde region, and its major port - Bordeaux, have a rich and varied cultural heritage, most famously known for its prestigious wine-producing chateaux and some of the world’s best Romanesque and Gothic architecture. This trail rides starts from the 12th century medieval village of St. Emilion, with an architectural legacy almost without equal, before crossing the Gironde estuary by boat, and continuing on through the Médoc vineyards and its most famous chateaux - Margaux, Pichon Baron, Latour and Lafite Rothschild among others. Canter through miles of pine forests before ending on the sandy beaches of the Atlantic.
This trail is not just about the riding, but also the wine tasting and gastronomic meals at 3 and 4 star chateaux/hotels.
Our partner here also offers trails discovering the Dordogne and the Malbec vineyards, so if you've enjoyed this trail then you may wish to choose another one next time, or if the dates for this one don't suit, check out the others instead.
You stay in a mixture of 3 and 4 star hotels along with local Chateaux, such as Chateau Loudenne: www.chateau-loudenne.com
The hotels are chosen for their character and all rooms have private bathrooms.
France is renowned for it's excellent food and wine, and this trail enables you to sample both. Meals are chosen to include specialities of the region and should be a delight.
Breakfast will be taken at your hotel and is traditionally French with plenty of coffee or tea and fresh bread or croissants.
Lunch is often a picnic which is brought by the back-up crew and will include fresh cheeses, pate, cold meats, breads and salads.
Dinner is taken in the hotels own restaurants or in nearby restaurants. Menus are varied and in most cases you will have a choice from a menu. Vegetarians can be catered for with advance notice. A moderate amount of wine with dinner is included (c. 1/2 bottle per person) but if require extra or would like additional spirits, these are payable locally.
On one afternoon it is possible to have a massage rather than a ride - this needs to be booked in advance to guarantee availability. Please notify us at least one month before your date of travel if you would like a massage arranged.
These trails are not suitable for non-riders.
Languages: English and French
Health requirements: Nothing specific but good general health.
Age limit: 16+
Included: Riding, accommodation, full board, wine tastings, entrance fees, transfers from train station/airport at set times
Not included: Flights/trains, private transfers from train station/airport (not at set times), insurance
Transfers are provided from Bordeaux airport or train station at set times.
The train is very easy and can be booked online.
Arrival: Bordeaux train station (exit/sortie Belcier): 2pm
Bordeaux airport: Morning or early afternoon
Departure: Bordeaux airport / Lesparre-Medoc train station: 8am or 10am
If your train/plane does not arrive/depart at these times then a private transfer can be booked for €90 per vehicle each way.
You will be met at Bordeaux train station or airport and transferred to your hotel in St Emilion (c. 45 mins drive). The medieval town of St Emilion has one of the most important architectural heritages in Europe and is listed as a world heritage site by UNESCO. Standing proudly on top of a hill overlooking the Dordogne valley, the village, with its sun baked Roman tiled roofs, was built in the shape of an ampitheatre. You will have the opportunity to visit a unique monolithic underground church from the 11th century and a monolithic cellar in the village before your first wine-tasting - a Grand Cru - before dinner at your hotel.
After breakfast you are transferred c. 1 hour to the horse's pasture which is near the village of Bourg. After allocating horses you set off riding in a northerly direction along the Gironde river to the Citadelle de Blaye, which was built by a military engineer of Louis the 14th, Vauban, and is set with star shaped bastions. You will stop for lunch within its walls.
In the afternoon you take the horses on a ferry to cross the Gironde estuary (c. 30mins). On arrival at Port Lamarque you continue riding towards Medoc where your charming hotel/chateau is situated. On your way to dinner in the village of Margaux you will stop to admire the famous Chateau Margaux.
Today's ride continues through the Medoc region, passing many prestigious and beautiful chateaux: Chateau Lanessan, Beaucaillou, Pichon-Baron, Latour and Lafitte Rothschild to name a few! Stop for a picnic lunch in the grounds of Chateau Lanessan where you will also have the opportunity to taste their wine.
After lunch there is time to visit their horse museum before setting off on a ride to the famous Chateau Pichon-Baron (Grand Cru Pauillac). After a visit and wine tasting you are transferred to your hotel - the Chateau Loudenne, where you will spend two nights. You will enjoy their wines over dinner in their restaurant.
This morning you ride through the vineyards encircling Chateau Loudenne - this charming pink manor house from the 17th century has an 18th century Victorian cellar and a remarkable view of the Gironde estuary. After a picnic lunch in the gardens you have the options of a short ride along the estuary or relaxing in the grounds of the Chateau (massages are available at extra cost but must be booked at least one month in advance). Dinner will be at a nearby gastronomic restaurant in the village of Saint Estephe.
Today you leave the vineyards behind and ride across miles of marshland which is used primarily as pasture for horses and cattle. Stop for a wonderful lunch at a family chateau which produces a very fine Cru Bourgeois that you will have the chance to taste.
In the afternoon there are some long canters along the canal paths before arriving at your four star hotel where you spend the next two nights. Here you will have dinner and the chance to sample some more local specialities.
Today's ride starts through pine forests with plenty of opportunities for trots and canters before reaching the sandy dunes on the edge of the Atlantic ocean. Here you stop for a final picnic lunch under the shade of the pine trees.
After lunch you ride to the ocean and let the horses cool their legs in the water before enjoying a long canter along the beach. There is a final short ride back through the dunes before you say a fond farewell to your horse. You are transferred back to the hotel for a farewell dinner.
After breakfast you will be transferred to Lesparre-Medoc train station (15mins) or Bordeaux airport (1.5 hours).
|Accommodation:||You stay in a combination of luxurious three star hotels and chateaux in the area (one four star for two nights). The rooms are individual and have private bathrooms.|
|Minimum group size:||2|
|Maximum group size:||7|
|Ability description:||You need to be at least an intermediate rider, capable and confident riding in open spaces in all paces. The pace is moderate to fast with plenty of trots and canters.|
|Type of ride:||Trail|
|Total riding time:||7 days/6 nights with 5 full days of riding (4-6 hours per day)|
|Departure dates:||2017: 28 May-3 June, 4-10 June, 10-16 September, 17-23 September.|
£2439 per person sharing
£332 single supplement