Tour de Burgundy Vineyards
- Duration: 7 Days (approx.)
- Product code: PPGLH4
Burgundy is in many ways the food, wine and historical heartland of France. This easy to moderate cycling tour will take you not only on a food and wine journey, but across stunning natural landscapes and incredible historical
landmarks . Perhaps that’s why this is one of our most popular tours.
Departs: 14 June, 12 July, 2 & 30 Aug
- The majestic Abbey of Cluny
- Traffic free biking along dedicated cycleways and canal towpaths
- Sweeping landscapes of vineyards, forests and hills
- Wine tasting in prestigious Nuits-St-George and Montrachet
- Medieval masterpieces in Tournus and Beaune
- The fun of cycling in a group and making new friends!
We transfer from the TGV station in Mâcon to our hotel in nearby Replonges. After introductions and setting up the bikes, there will be a short trip into Mâcon itself. Mâcon was on the border between the Kingdom of France and the Holy Roman Empire from the 9th to the 17th Centuries and much of its wealth derived from customs charges. The promenade along the River Saône is lined with delightful cafés and restaurants with vistas of the 16th Century St-Laurence bridge. A short walk around the old town takes in the magnificent church of St-Pierre and Cathedrale St-Vincent amongst the old market halls and timbered houses. We return to the hotel for the first of many sumptuous dinners to fortify us for the road ahead.
Today we head north through the undulating landscape of the Mâconnais. We are riding through the vines that produce the grapes to make the celebrated Pouilly-Fuissé white wine. Every village here has its own wine, and we will stop for a tasting visit. Refreshed and inspired we take a dedicated cycle track to reach the abbey of Cluny. Cluny was founded in 910 AD and was the most important monastic order of Europe; at its height the Abbey sent out 10,000 monks across all of Europe to do God’s work. The vaults of the Abbey Church are the highest in Romanesque architecture at 30m (100ft) high. We then wind our way round the wooded Mâconnais hills through picturesque villages each with its ancient church before arriving back at the River Sâone in the medieval city of Tournus. The charming town has a magnificent Abbey Church, and a preserved 17th Century
hospital. Our hotel has been converted from a guardhouse built in the city ramparts, and here we will eat a superb dinner as a reward for the efforts of the day. Total distance: 58km
Today we leave the Mâconnais region and enter the Challonnaise wine region. We recross the foothills of the Montagnes Mâconnais and descend to visit the 12th C Château de Sercy in its beautiful lakeside setting. We then rejoin the Voie Verte cycle path which takes us to the village of Buxy home to the wines of Montagny. A tasting at a local winery is followed by lunch, depending on weather or our fancy, a picnic or at a café in the village.
We are now entering the heartland of prestigious Burgundy wines, and the next few villages rejoice in names to set a wine enthusiast’s heart beating a little faster — Givry, Rully and Mercurey are signposts that we are in the land of Pinot Noir, and we will take advantage to stop and taste one or two of these fabulous reds. We join a canalside track and few more kilometers bring us to Chagny where our château-hotel awaits. Take a swim in the hotel pool or cycle into the town to visit the 11th Century church, the preserved apothecary and the town’s watchtowers. Another splendid supper awaits! Total distance: 52km
A few bigger hills today as we head south to visit the village of Couches and the beautiful Château de Marguerite de Bourgogne. Marguerite was the daughter of Robert II, Duke of Burgundy who married Louis X of France at the age of 15. Accused of adultery, the official history of the time has it that she was assassinated at the age of 25. However historical documents have shown that she was secretly sent to the Chateau that bears her name, where she died in secret under house arrest eighteen years later. We then visit the nearby Mont de Sène, also known as the Mount of the 3 Crosses, where a short sharp climb brings us to one of the best panoramas in Burgundy, with views east to the Alps and north along the famous vineyards of the Côte. It is also a sublime picnic spot!
Our road then descends through Santenay and Puligny-Montrachet where we stop to sample the prestigious white wines, then onward to our hotel in the heart of Beaune. We are staying for two nights in Beaune so we can take our time to visit the Hotel-Dieu ancient hospital, a marvel of Burgundian-Flemish art that houses another Flemish masterpiece: Roger van der Weyden’s polyptych of the Last Judgement. The glazed polychrome tiles that adorn the roof of the Hotel-Dieu are nothing short of spectacular. Tonight we dine at a restaurant close to the Hotel- Dieu. Total distance: 49km
We head out of Beaune through the village of Pommard where we can stop for a guided visit of the Chateau de Pommard. We then visit some geological grandeur in the form of the Cirque du Bout du Monde, a spectacular cliff formation forming a natural amphitheatre with waterfalls and caves. Another great picnic spot! In the afternoon we visit the perched village of La Rochepot. La Rochepot has a feudal castle notable for its roofs, with multicoloured tiles typical of the region. Today is a relaxing day as We meander back to Beaune through the vignobles of the Côte de Beaune, passing through the famed vineyards of Auxey-Duresses, Volnay, Pommard and Mersault where
there will be ample time to taste the local wines. Returning to Beaune, there is plenty of time to wander round this fantastic town, and to maybe do some shopping, or to visit the wine museum or the fine-arts museum, before making your way back to the hotel where we dine tonight. Total distance: 52km
Our last day of cycling leaves us plenty of time to visit the renowned vineyards of the Côtesde-Nuits. Setting off we head north through the vineyards of Aloxe-Corton, where we can stop for a tasting of its red wine — Voltaire’s favourite. We then drop into Nuits-St-Georges, the chief village of the famous wine-producing region which
bears its name. It is a huddle of medieval buildings and narrow back streets and makes a great place to stop for lunch. In the afternoon we visit the Château Clos de Vougeot. This Château is a temple to burgundian wine, literally, for it is here in the 12th century cellars that the Order of the Tastevin Knights hold their ceremonies dedicated to upholding the traditions of food and wine Bourguignonne. A short ride brings us to our hotel, the Château de Saulon. Here, you can unwind by the pool before our final celebration meal of superb Burgundian cuisine. Total distance: 44km
After breakfast, we transfer to Dijon for our onward journeys with memories of a wonderful week of cycling and new friends made. You may like to book an additional night in Dijon to see its many sights and museums — and sample its gastronomic delights.