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Gardens of Italy, France and Bordeaux River Cruise

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Iconic Spring Gardens of Italy and France.

Visit the 16th century fine Italian, Giardino Giusti, with Botanica World Discoveries.

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20 Days with a Botanical Guide in a small group including a 7 night cruise in Bordeaux. Travel from Venice visiting iconic Italian and French gardens and landscapes in spring. Spend time exploring Tuscany, Cinque Terre, the French Riviera and the countryside of Provence and France. View complete itinerary

Trip code: BTIFVBB20
Duration: 20 days
Accommodation: Luxury River Ship and Comfortable Hotels
Journey: Venice to Bordeaux
Meals included: 39

Itinerary

Day 1. Padua Botanic Gardens, Italy

Depart Venice at 9am to visit the World Heritage-listed, Padua Botanic Gardens. Later arrive into Verona and enjoy a Welcome Dinner.
Stay: Two Nights: Verona, Hotel due Torri
  • Daily Meals Included:
  • • Dinner

Day 2. Verona Garden

This morning we visit Giardini Giusti, regarded as one as Europe’s most beautiful Renaissance gardens known for its box and cypress hedges. This afternoon is free to explore Verona, famous for Juliet’s balcony.
  • Daily Meals Included:
  • • Breakfast

Day 3. Villa Gamberaia

Depart Verona to Villa Gamberaia, located in the hills of Florence, and celebrated by architectural historians and garden designers. Afterwards enjoy free time in Florence or perhaps visit the Boboli Gardens before arriving at your hotel overlooking the Tuscan countryside.
Stay: Two Nights: Florence countryside, Villa Olmi
  • Daily Meals Included:
  • • Breakfast
  • • Dinner

Day 4. Tuscan Garden

This morning visit Venzano garden, designed by Australian Donald Leevers. Afterwards we visit World Heritage-listed village San Gimignano.
  • Daily Meals Included:
  • • Breakfast

Day 5. Villa Torrigiani

Today we visit Villa Torrigiani garden, a fine example of how Italian gardens were converted to English style parks in the 19th century. Enjoy free time in the beautiful village of Lucca.
Stay: Two Nights: Santa Margherita Ligure, Hotel Metropole
  • Daily Meals Included:
  • • Breakfast
  • • Dinner

Day 6. Cinque Terre

Enjoy a full day to explore the best of the beautiful Cinque Terre towns set in the most spectacular of locations along the Mediterranean Sea.
  • Daily Meals Included:
  • • Breakfast

Day 7. Serre de La Madone, France

Travel along the French Riviera to the town of Menton, where Lawrence Johnson created Serre de la Madone. Continue on to Cannes, in the heart of the French Riviera.
Stay: Three Nights: Cannes, Pullman Cannes Mandelieu
  • Daily Meals Included:
  • • Breakfast
  • • Dinner

Day 8. Villa Ephrussi

Today we visit Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild, once home to Baroness Beatrice de Rothschild. Later, visit the acclaimed Renoir Museum in Cagnes-sur-Mer.
  • Daily Meals Included:
  • • Breakfast

Day 9. Grasse Perfumery

This morning visit Villa Noailles in Grasse and tour a perfumery. This afternoon is free to relax.
  • Daily Meals Included:
  • • Breakfast

Day 10. La Louve Garden

Explore La Louve Garden, a private French contemporary garden before travelling to Avignon.
Stay: Two Nights: Avignon, Grand Hotel
  • Daily Meals Included:
  • • Breakfast
  • • Dinner

Day 11. Avignon Gardens

Visit Brantes Castle, a contemporary garden with a Tuscan influence and tour Saint Andre Abbey and gardens. Have time to explore Avignon, perhaps tour the Papal Palace.
  • Daily Meals Included:
  • • Breakfast

Day 12. Carcassonne & Canal du Midi Dinner Cruise

Depart Avignon for Carcassonne, a hilltop town famous for its walled fortifications. This evening enjoy a dinner cruise along the famous Canal du Midi.
Stay: Carcassonne, Hotel de la Cite
  • Daily Meals Included:
  • • Breakfast
  • • Dinner

Day 13. French Countryside

Travel through the French countryside. Enjoy a delicious French cuisine Farewell Lunch before arriving at your ship, docked on the Garonne River. This evening, enjoy a Welcome Dinner and meet your crew and guest lecturers.
Stay: Seven Nights: MS AmaDolce, a luxurious small river ship (less than 100 guests)
  • Daily Meals Included:
  • • Breakfast
  • • Lunch
  • • Dinner

Day 14. Cadillac, Sauternes or Water Lilies, Freedom of Choice

Enjoy a morning sail through French villages and landscapes. From Cadiallac travel to Le Temple-sur-Lot to see a unique water lily garden where Claude Monet began his obsession with painting water lilies. Founded in 1280, the walled village of Cadillac offers a wealth of historic treasures and sights. Others may choose to visit Château de La Brède, once the home of the philosopher, Montesquieu, to tour its English style garden. Afterwards, head to the family winery of Château De Myrat for a tour which includes a tasting of Sauternes’ world-famous dessert wines.
  • Daily Meals Included:
  • • Breakfast
  • • Lunch
  • • Dinner

Day 15. Pauillac, Private Garden, Freedom of Choice

Today, we see the lovely village town on the left bank of the Gironde estuary known as Pauillac. Situated in the famed Médoc AOC (appellation d’origine contrôlée), a government controlled designation of origin which signifies where grapes are grown. You’ll be able to dabble in local blends this afternoon at an authentic Médoc wine tasting and learn the art of barrel making. There is also the option to visit a beautiful private garden.
  • Daily Meals Included:
  • • Breakfast
  • • Lunch
  • • Dinner

Day 16. Blaye, Cognac & Château Gardens, Freedom of Choice

Today you can choose to spend a full day visiting château gardens including the well-known Château La Roche Courbon also known as ‘Sleeping Beauty’s Castle’. Alternatively discover the town of Blaye, including a walk along its 17th century citadel. After lunch, perhaps journey to Cognac for a tour and a tasting or sail to the town of Bourg.
  • Daily Meals Included:
  • • Breakfast
  • • Lunch
  • • Dinner

Day 17. Bergerac, Private Garden & Saint-Émilion, Freedom of Choice

Enjoy a relaxing morning cruising, then explore the picturesque and historic village of Bergerac on the northern bank of the Dordogne River. Visit the nearby Les Jardins de Sardy, one of the best private gardens in the Dordogne area with its Italian style yet English garden feel. Alternatively travel to World Heritage-listed Saint-Émilion. Explore its remarkable network of cellars and tunnels which have been used in the making of sparkling wines since the 19th century. After a tour, enjoy a glass of bubbles and a selection of Saint-Émilion’s macarons.
  • Daily Meals Included:
  • • Breakfast
  • • Lunch
  • • Dinner

Day 18. Libourne, Caviar, Art Lecture, Freedom of Choice

This morning tour Libourne including a visit to a caviar estate. This afternoon enjoy an art lecture as we cruise to Bordeaux where we will dock and indulge in a spectacular dinner. Later, take in the sights on an illuminations cruise of this magical city.
  • Daily Meals Included:
  • • Breakfast
  • • Lunch
  • • Dinner

Day 19. Bordeaux, Botanical Gardens, Musee des Beaux Arts, Freedom of Choice

Your choices this morning including seeing the elegant port city of Bordeaux on foot or perhaps visit the Musee des Beaux Arts with an art expert. Perhaps visit Bordeaux Botanical Gardens, recognised as progressive projects of landscape architecture. Enjoy a free afternoon.
  • Daily Meals Included:
  • • Breakfast
  • • Lunch
  • • Dinner

Day 20. Disembark Ship, Depart Bordeaux

Disembark your ship for the final time after breakfast and transfer to the airport for your onward flight.
  • Daily Meals Included:
  • • Breakfast

Trip Highlights

  • Tour Padua Botanic Gardens
  • Visit Giardini Giusti
  • Explore Villa Gamberaia in Florence
  • Enjoy exploring Tuscan villages including San Gimigiano
  • Tour Villa Torrigiani
  • Explore the famous Cinque Terre
  • Visit Lawrence Johnson’s Menton garden
  • Stay on the French Riviera & explore Villa Ephrussi
  • Visit Villa Noailles and a perfumery in Grasse
  • Tour gardens in Provence; La Louve, Brantes Castle & St Andre Abbey
  • Enjoy a dinner cruise on the Canal du Midi
  • Stroll the grounds & gardens of French châteaux with your Botanical Guide
  • Explore Le Temple-sur-Lot the water lily garden that inspired Monet
  • Tour Château de La Brede former home of philosopher Montesquieu
  • Explore Bordeaux on a walking tour
  • Enjoy a sightseeing tour in Pauillac
  • Visit Libourne & enjoy a tasting in a cave in St Émilion

Included Experiences

  • All sightseeing as mentioned
  • Services of a Cruise Director, Botanical & Art Guide
  • Airport transfers on first & last day, as well as tipping & port taxes
  • 39 Meals – 19 Breakfasts, 7 Lunches & 13 Dinners
  • Wine, beer & soft drinks included with lunch & dinner on board

Additional Information

Fitness level

  • Our tours and cruises cater to various fitness levels
  • This tour requires a medium level of fitness – Involves walking on uneven surfaces for more than one hour, multiple two-night stays in one location with potential for unexpected changes to itineraries

Trip Notes

  • Itinerary and inclusions are subject to change
  • The waterways in the Bordeaux region are part of a tidal river system which results in changing water levels
  • Disruptions to cruising and itinerary may occur as a result
  • Due to circumstances beyond our control please note that Monty Don is no longer available to join the Bordeaux cruise
  • Prices are for land/cruise only. Flights not included

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