Burgundy was once the richest of the ancient duchies in France and continues to exhibit wealth brought about by the popularity of its wine. Cycling small vineyard lanes and quiet country roads, where the only traffic you’ll encounter might be a tractor bringing in the harvest, is the best way to see the countryside here. Picturesque villages are filled with wine cellars inviting degustation and tiny restaurants with winemakers’ lunches where you’ll enjoy food that is superbly prepared. We have been cycling in Burgundy for over 15 years now, and know the region intimately. From the many Flemish-style chateaux to the extraordinary Hospice de Beaune, the treasures of Burgundy are numerous.
What’s Included in the Cost of Your Trip?
INCLUDED IN REGULAR TRIP
Services of one or more experienced Great Explorations guides
7 nights lodging
All breakfasts, 2 lunches, and all dinners but 1
Entrance fees for selected historical sites and museums
Detailed map and route instructions
All baggage transportation
Dates available on request
Trips can start any day. Call or email for details.
ARRIVE / DEPART
9 to 18 km daily (6 to 11 miles), averaging 12 km (7.5 miles).
Travel to Vézelay requires both train and bus or taxi connections.
The fastest and easiest but most expensive routing is to take the TGV (high speed train) from Paris Gare de Lyon to Montbard, then take a taxi. In the evenings, a bus connects Montbard with Vézelay (except on Sundays and holidays).
This train and bus journey totals 2.5 hours. There are many trains each day between Paris-Gare de Lyon and Sermizelles-Vézelay. A change of train is required plus a short taxi ride from the station to the town centre. This journey takes between 2.5 and 3.5 hours.
Arrive in Vézelay, a magical village that was once a starting point for the pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostela. It was also here that St. Bernard and Eleanor of Aquitaine urged knights to join the first crusade.
On a day walk from Vézelay, you’ll explore the clean, green hills of the Parc Régional du Morvan. Walk through the small but fascinating vineyards originally planted in the Middle Ages, devastated by phylloxera, then replanted beginning in 1975. Saint-Père-sous-Vézelay has a small but lovely church, and an interesting maker of wooden clogs!
Head off on a Grande Great Explorations route to the village of Vault-de-Lugny. It’s a charming site on the lovely Cousin River, but the real attraction is the château where you will be staying for two nights.
Meander along the curves of the Cousin River to the confluence with the Cure. This is classic Burgundian scenery. Pastures dotted with white cows rise up gentle hills crowned with oak trees. The villages are built of a lovely brown stone, adorned with burgundy shutters and roofs. Today’s highlight is the beautiful town of Avallon, high above two ravines. Walk back or hop in a taxi to return to Vault-de-Lugny.
Transfer by taxi to the pretty village of Chitry. Take time to visit the fascinating old church, fortified during the Hundred Years’ War, then begin today’s walk through the vineyards. Pause at the beautiful little church near Bréhy and amble amongst the vines. Your destination is Chablis, identified with the light, dry, white wine produced in the area. You’ll spend two nights here.
On a day walk, head into the countryside to explore the vineyards. Be sure to leave time to explore the town and visit the splendid 12th-century church of St-Martin-de-Tours.
Start with a taxi ride to Vincellotes, from where you follow the Canal du Nivernais and the Yonne River as you head to Auxerre. Choose to walk past Les Caves de Bailly to taste crémant, sparkling like champagne. The caves are deep in the hillside, in an ancient quarry. Auxerre is a wonderful destination. Originally Roman, the town boasts many churches, particularly the Cathédrale de St-Étienne rising high above the waterfront. Half-timbered houses crowd narrow streets which open into squares lined with smart shops.
Linger in Auxerre before departing for other destinations.
This former post-house located in the heart of Burgundy has been renovated into a charming hotel. The 37 rooms and suites have great views, including some overlooking the magnificent countryside, and the hotel restaurant has an excellent reputation as offering the best food in town.
With 100 acres on the banks of the Cousin River, this historic 16th century luxurious chateau even has a moat and medieval tower dating from the 13th century. Rooms are decorated with tapestry, fine antiques and beamed ceilings and some open to the 100 acre parkland surrounding the chateau. You’ll appreciate the charm and elegance of this Bourguignon domaine.
This comfortable and charming mansion dating from the 12th century is in the heart of a vineyard and is the culinary home of Michel Vignaud, a chef renowned for creating light, interesting dishes. Its warm and invigorating environment offers 26 comfortable, refined and individually decorated bedrooms as well as a large restaurant opening onto impressive gardens.
Very close to the centre of Auxerre, this historic hotel, private park and pool offer the secluded charm of 19th century residences surrounded by hundred year old trees. Guest rooms are beautifully decorated and each is named after a Marshal of France. Relax in one of the comfortable, secluded lounges graced with Victorian style.