Pauillac is the largest town and the capital of the Médoc region. Our preferred hotel is located close to the marina where many fishing boats and pleasure craft are docked. Once you have settled in you can take a stroll around the marina where the Marquis de Lafayette departed in 1777 to aid the American rebels.
Pauillac to Pauillac (Ride approx. 37km or 60km)
Today we ride a circular loop through the vineyards of the Medoc, home to some of the most famous wines in the world. The Medoc wine road, 'Route des Chateaux', is located between the Gironde Estuary and the Landes forest and provides magnificent views of the vine-covered surrounding area. Our aim for today is the grand Chateau Margaux, world renowned for its vintage wine. The current structure was established in the early 18th Century and is part of a 650-acre estate devoted to cultivating vines.
Pauillac to Soulac (Ride approx. 58km)
Heading northward we cycle as far as Saint-Vivien-de-Medoc before leaving behind the wine-producing Medoc region, enjoying delightful views of the Gironde Estuary. Up to 12km wide in places, this historical waterway is the largest estuary in Europe and acts as an open gateway to Bordeaux. Following the arrival of Henry II as King of England, it became the maritime access route of England to Aquitaine. During this period there were a number of conflicts resulting in amongst other defences, the Tour de Cordouan, the oldest lighthouse in France. We are within striking distance of the lighthouse tonight as we overnight in the lovely seaside town of Soulac-sur-Mer at the tip of the peninsula.
Soulac-Pointe to Grave-Soulac (Ride approx. 20km)
There is the option of an easier ride to Montalivet Les Bains with the opportunity to relax by the beach or swim in the ocean. Cycling through pine forests we arrive at the popular coastal resort of Montalivet where the nearby sea and freshwater lakes attract many surfers, canoeists and fishermen. You should take a stroll around the open-air market (during the summer months), world famous for both its produce and atmosphere.
If you choose to stay in Soulac-sur-Mer you could take a short ride north to the Cordouan Lighthouse and even cross the estuary to the stunning fortified town of Royan, returning by ferry (journey approx 90min) to Soulac.
Soulac to Hourtin (Ride approx. 54km)
We cycle south deeper into the pine forests of the previous day's ride this time passing by Vendays-Montalivet, surrounded by forests, swamps and ocean. There are plenty of chances for you to have a swim along the way and refresh yourself for the rest of the ride. By the end of the day we will reach the village of Hourtin, with its wild coast and ancient dunes.
Hourtin to Hourtin (Ride approx. 32km to 61km)
Hourtin is situated in the heart of Medoc between the forest, lake and the Atlantic Ocean. The longer ride today is a circuit of the Lac d'Hourtin-Carcans, the largest natural lake in France, extending from north to south for 18km and is part of the Great Lakes Landes. We head south to the village of Carcans, in the heart of the Landes Forest, before continuing our circuit of the lake.
Alternatively you can take a trip to the Atlantic again with a shorter circular ride to Hourtin-Plage. After a few hours on the beach return to our hotel via the north shore of the lake.
Hourtin to Pauillac (Ride approx. 34km)
We leave the coast behind and ride east, returning to Pauillac and the Gironde Estuary. We begin cycling through the Landes Forest as far as Saint-Laurent-Medoc and then we are back in vineyard country.