Chateau de Pitray
The Grand Tour of France and Chateau de Pitray !
July 21st to July 27th - 2010.
Your description of the Bordeaux Cycling vacation package was an understatement! My wife and I had one of the most enjoyable vacation experiences ever!
Living out of the Pitray Chateau for six evenings was most relaxing, especially owing to our gracious hosts (Pierre-Edouard and Alix de Boigne); combined with the great accommodations (ours was the "Bamboo Room"). Not having to pack/unpack multiple times made for a very pleasurable experience as well.
The cycling routes you selected contained great variety, historical significance, and natural beauty. The casualness of the group rides allowed people of various skill levels, experience, and objectives to participate together yet "split-off" and do their own thing as desired, another advantage of having the Chateau as an "operational base" for several days. We especially enjoyed having a dunk in the oversized pool upon our return from riding!
Thanks also for your helpful tips regarding riding technique and bicycle maintenance; upon our return I improved my work commute time by 1 mph, (now averaging 19 mph covering 30 miles one-way on hilly terrain). As a relatively new "road bike rider," I have noticed significant improvements in both overall speed and technique from this experience.
The arranged group activities were entertaining and informative: the Bataille de Castillion reenactment; our visit to Chateau Malle and Sauterne/Graves wine country; and of course the Criterium event, heralded by the pre-race luncheon at the Chateau!.
And of course, we must mention the Chateau meals and vin! The provided breakfasts, lunches, and suppers were comprehensive in variety and a gourmets' delight, especially when accompanied with Pitray's outstanding vintage selections! Although the suppers at the various village restaurants were enjoyable, we increasingly came to anticipate with desire the Chateau suppers more and more throughout the stay.
Thanks again for a totally wonderful experience, one that we can heartily recommend to both experienced as well as novice riders - or perhaps "less passionate" spouses/significant others.
Rick and Lora Beth Carpenter
Reading, Pennsylvania, USA
Laura-Beth and Rick Carpenter - breakfast at Chateau de Pitray
A "P.S." from the "Less Cycling Passionate" Spouse:
Speaking for the novice ("less passionate") rider, I explored the countryside at my own pace but was never more than a phone call away from a rescue vehicle at the Chateau if I needed one. I had the freedom to travel to the local villages and visit the local churches and chateau in the area. The immediate surroundings are filled with wonderful people and beautiful 11th and 12th Century churches not to mention breathtaking vistas. I was unfailingly greeted with a jovial "Bonjour" by everyone I encountered.
Alix was wonderful in trying to help me learn a little French and knew some of the churches in more secluded areas. Pierre-Edouard is wonderful at explaining winemaking and tasting and has a good knowledge of the local fauna. Did I mention the food and vin? THE BEST!
Lora Beth Carpenter
My son and I just returned from an incredible six day biking vacation in the Bordeaux region of France. We saw the trip offered in RBR newsletter in March, and it was one of the great finds of all time. After reviewing the website (www.lostendetours.com) we answered Allan Reeves' ad, and booked the trip. The result was a feast of riding, dining and relaxing in a magnificent chateau winery; enjoying some incredible scenery and history, and making new friends who are also fellow bikers. Oh yeah, we also watched Christophe Moreau win the Criteria de Castillon, the first pro race in France after the Tour. Allan, a Californian and Frenchmen, lives and rides in the Bordeaux area for at least a month every year (visiting family). He personally took us out each day to a new part of the region, and acted as tour guide and ride support. He also included side trips to local points of interest. Thank you Allan and RBR News for a terrific vacation!
Jerry O'neill, North Tonawanda, New York
Jerry and Dan, far right, at the Pro Criterium bike race lunch - Chateau de Pitray - along with the rest of the Lostende Group.
This part of France is just gorgeous. Some days we rode hard and long, other days we dropped into smaller groups. It is easy to find your way back to the Chateau. The terrain is a great mix of flats, rollers, and short climbs. There is always something great to look at.
Staying at the Chateau de Pitray is an unforgettable experience. The rooms are enormous and tastefully furnished – somehow very cheery, unlike a museum.
And, yes, the food. At dinner, Allan’s aunt would ring the little bell and another amazing course would arrive – pheasant, homemade desserts, pates and mousses, generous offerings of cheese from all over France. Fresh fruit and of course, wine. Allan’s uncle is a wine expert and loves to share his knowledge as a grower, producer, and marketer of fine Bordeaux reds.
Allan was always affable and open to suggestions. We had no issues whatsoever with the cycling, accommodations, or transfers. So we got the absolute most out of every hour of our perfect holiday.
Peter Harris, San Rafael, California
Peter and others stop for a photo-op.
The visit to Pitray and the Pyrenees counts as one of the best experiences of my life. The friendship, hospitality and general camaraderie distinguishes this very personal adventure from the strictly commercial varietals. Alan and his family are generous with their time and expertise and insure that this will be a vacation that you will always remember.
Bill Veen, Mill Valley, California
My wife and I recently had the great pleasure of spending a few days at Chateau Pitray in the Bordeaux region of France, to cycle some of the local roads with Allan Reeves, our friend and guide. I had visited the year before but I wanted to return with my wife so that she too could enjoy this beautiful property and region. Being at the chateau was a magical experience. It is a very large finely built castle structure furnished with fine antiques, and set on more than two hundred acres of land that have been owned by the same family for more than four hundred years. For those of us from the “new world,” that is unfathomable. The Count and Countess de Boigne, the current owners in residence, were charming and gracious hosts.
The area surrounding the Chateau provided great opportunity for cycling, sightseeing, and wine tasting. The roads for cycling were uncrowded and all well paved, and Allan led us on journeys through the beautiful vineyard covered countryside, along the Dordogne River, and charming old French villages. We dined on wonderful fresh food in and out of the Chateau and visited the not-to-be missed nearby medieval town of St. Emillion. We will certainly go back.
Lew and Peggy Katcher, Mill Valley, California
Peggy and Lew Katcher with Madame and Monsieur de Boigne
My bike trip to the Bordeaux region of France with Allan of Lostende Tours and the stay at Chateau de Pitray exceeded all of my expectations by a long shot. The riding each day brought us on different rural routes through the most fabulous landscape dotted with magnificent châteaux, vineyards, and quaint villages. The best part of all was that Allan led the group on roads with very little traffic. One of the highlights was eating dinner and lunch with the owners of Chateau de Pitray. They prepared incredible meals and served us wines from their vineyard. They made us feel very welcome. I would like to do another trip with Allan some day. He is a great guide with a wealth of information about the regions and biking.
Nancy Paley, Aspen, Colorado
Nancy and John.