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6 Days Southern Burgundy Bike Trip in Bourgogne-Franche-Comté, France
This listing has no upcoming availability. Check out these similar experiences

This listing has no upcoming availability. Check out these similar experiences


(No availability) 6 Days Southern Burgundy Bike Trip in Bourgogne-Franche-Comté, France

Beaune, Canton of Beaune, Arrondissement of Beaune, Côte-d'Or, Bourgogne-Franche-Comté, France

Guided Bike Trip in France

Join Blue Marble Travel on a trip that showcases all that you’ve heard about France, and much that you haven’t. On this trip, you will pass through vineyards in the wine region of Burgundy, France. You will also spend time off the beaten track, in deep forests and pastoral farmlands, far from famous wine towns. Explore various wine towns along the way and learn the culture. You can take the most out of this South Burgundy tour by visiting 15th-century villages and Renaissance castles. Come and travel with Blue Marble Travel in the very heart of France, an un-self-conscious place where life is a joy!

Key information

  • Trip type: Guided
  • Lodging: Point to point
  • Terrain: Flat, towpath, and sometimes off the beaten track
  • Difficulty level: Moderate (cyclist needs to have a good level of fitness, terrain is mostly hilly or unpaved but they will ride on flat terrain sometime,31-45 miles per day) to challenging (cyclist needs to have high level of fitness, must be an active rider, the terrain includes really challenging climbs/or 46-80 or more miles per day)
  • Total distance: 137 - 246 miles / 220 - 395 kilometers
  • Vacation type: Road cycling
  • Type of bike: Road bike (170 EUR)

Highlights

  • 6-day guided cycling
  • Starts and ends in Dijon
  • Cycling through the wine region of Burgundy
  • Pedaling on an old rail bed passing a castle with a hedgerow maze
  • Bilingual and friendly trip coordinator
  • 5 nights' accommodation
  • Transport during the trip
  • Breakfasts and dinners

Styles


6 days with instruction
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Accommodation

During this trip, you will be accommodated at hotels in Beaune for the first two nights, Nolay for the next two nights, and Cluny for the last night. Virtually, all of the hotel rooms include private facilities. But 17th-century country inns are not standardized affairs, and Blue Marble Travel doesn’t refuse to use the beautiful, eight-room converted castle because the two turret rooms share a bath and / or WC.

So it can happen that up to three rooms share hall facilities. The chances of hitting one vary itinerary to itinerary and by season, and they cannot guarantee a particular distribution. But, it would be rare indeed to encounter a room with a hall bath even once per week, on average (small consolation if you are on a one-week trip, and do).

If you are traveling alone and do not wish to pay extra for a single room, you are not assigned a roommate, but rather share with different people (of approximately the same gender) at different stops. Blue Marble Travel works for an interesting crowd and this arrangement will generally be to your advantage.

Couples or friends traveling together are guaranteed a double or twin room at no additional charge. If you are requesting a room for two people, be sure to indicate on your application whether you wish a room with a double bed (a double room) or a room with two single beds (a twin room).

Generally, the beds are wider than the minimum double standard of 120 centimeters (140 centimeters is typical), but hotel keepers react with surprise to questions on the topic and often seem to have no very clear idea of the size of their beds, which may additionally vary room to room.

Triple rooms are also available at no additional charge. All triple rooms are guaranteed to be with private bath, at no additional cost. If you request a triple and the hotel’s configuration means that none is available, a single plus a twin will be assigned at no additional cost. Blue Marble Travel only accepts adequately spacious triple rooms, not doubles with a cot stuffed into the only open floor space.

Program

This trip showcases the world’s most precious vineyards, 15th-century villages, Renaissance castles, great art, some of France’s best cuisine, and one of her most beautiful cities which long ago is a capital of a vast country. Cycling through vineyards is one of Blue Marble Travel's favorite pastimes, and you will discover Burgundy’s greatest during the course of the trip, pedaling the length of the Côte d’Or or Golden Hillside. With the notable exception of Chablis, all of Burgundy’s greatest wines come from the vines along the route.

Cluny, once a center of medieval spirituality, is now a backwater, charmingly presided over by a Tower of Cheeses. The 14th-century Nolay market pavilion stands on one of the prettiest town squares Blue Marble Travel knows, the lot forgotten by time. One of the best cycling days follows an old rail bed, past a castle with a hedgerow maze in which your bike’s GPS is going to be of absolutely no use.

Itinerary

Meeting point

Riders starting with this route assemble in Dijon on Sunday morning at Blue Marble Travel's hotel, between 09:00 and 11:00. Start time is too early for a same-day intercontinental arrival, so if you are coming from far away, you will have to be landed in France by the previous day.

Sunday: Vineyards of the Côte de Nuits (28 miles / 45 kilometers)

You will start your ride surrounded by the grape greenery at Burgundy’s heart. As you adjust to your surroundings, you start to feel the special rhythm of this unusual agricultural domain. You will pass through the villages of the Côte de Nuits, the northern half of the Golden Hillside, and whose names grace any great restaurant’s wine list: Marsannay-la-Côte, Fixin, Gevrey-Chambertin, Chambolle-Musigny, Vougeot, Vosne-Romanée, and Nuits-Saint-Georges (this last gives its name to the whole hillside).

Much of the ride follows the Route des Grands Crus (loosely, the Great Wine Road), though Blue Marble Travel will lead you away from time to time to show off local curiosities. For instance, the Clos de Vougeot is home to the Brotherhood of the Knights of Wine Tasting, whose job is to put their seal of approval on their favorite Burgundies during endless tastings calibrated with elaborate dinners (no, they are not making this up). The evening will be in Beaune, the Burgundian wine capital, for the first of two nights.

Monday: Beaune, Corton, and the Hautes-Côtes de Nuits (0, 19, 31, or 47 miles / 0, 30, 50, or 75 kilometers)

The biking is varied today with more vineyards, but also farm fields, canal towpaths, and pretty valleys. You will return to Nuits-Saint-Georges via a collection of charming wine villages and then head into the hills. Stop for a liqueur tasting at Blue Marble Travel's favorite producer of crême de cassis, visit the 14th-century castle in Savigny-lès-Beaune, and enjoy the view of the vineyards from charming Aloxe-Corton. The ambitious can cycle all the way back to Dijon, following the towpath of the Canal de Bourgogne.

Or, do none of the above - just use the bike to explore Beaune. The 15th-century hospital, a masterpiece of Burgundian / Flemish architecture, was incredibly still in use until 1971! A wine museum occupies the former mansion of the Dukes of Burgundy - two culture hits with one entrance. The ramparts, in excellent condition, offer a two-kilometer tour of the town from above.

Tuesday: Côte de Beaune (22 or 31 miles / 35 or 50 kilometers)

It will be a leisurely morning for those who wish to complete their Beaune visit. Your bikes now will carry you into the southern half of the Golden Hillside, the Côte de Beaune. You will make your way south on quiet farm lanes. Pommard, Volnay, Meursault, Puligny-Montrachet, and Chassagne-Montrachet add their prestigious names to your virtual wine list. At the end of the day, a little side valley will take you into the Hautes-Côtes de Beaune, and to Nolay, a charming 17th-century market town.

Wednesday: La Rochepot, Roman Burgundy (9 - 50 miles / 15 - 80 kilometers)

Depending on how you feel, today could be as short as a trip to a local swimming hole. But there is a lot of good cycling at your door and attractive destinations abound. Close by, there’s a nice waterfall at the Cirque du Bout du Monde (hole at the end of the world), in case your shower doesn’t work so well. La Rochepot, on the hillside above you, offers a jewel of a medieval fortified castle, restored stone by stone by former French president Sadi Carnot. Add to this beautiful views and as many wine towns as you can drink, and you’ll have plenty of inspiration to encourage you to cycle out.

The ambitious can head for Autun, the most important Roman settlement in Burgundy (founded by Emperor Augustus), and a town more or less frozen in time since its apogee in the 15th century. Home to a grand cathedral, the vestiges of Gaul’s largest amphitheater and another set of virtually intact ramparts, Autun reveals an unknown aspect of Burgundy that may be one of its most pleasing.

Thursday: Côte Chalonnaise (50 miles / 80 kilometers)

You will have a beautiful ride through the hills of Côte Chalonnaise, that also includes 45 kilometers flat on a rail-to-trail bike path. It is the best! Givry is the most prestigious wine town along the way, Buxy is the prettiest lunch stop, swimming holes abound, and Cormatin has a castle out of a fairy tale. The silliest game of the day is chasing each other through its maze. With Autun, Cluny was long the center of medieval spirituality, but Blue Marble Travel's favorite thing about the town is that the central tower is called the Tour des Fromages - Tower of Cheeses. More things should be named after cheese.

Friday: The Saône Valley and the Mâconnais (28 or 40 miles / 45 or 65 kilometers)

You will drop down to the Saône Valley after a morning climb over the ridge. Stop for a picnic in one of the glens of the forest of Chapaize or just make straight for Tournus, whose 11th-century abbey is named for an obscure looney, or maybe the reverse.

End the afternoon lounging by the river in Tournus, watching teens on scooters cruise the bridge. Then, a quick train ride undoes your work of the past week and carries you back to Dijon in time for supper. Trips ending with this route disband on Friday evening, upon arrival in Dijon.

The difficulty of the ride

Varied route options and two loop days (out and back to the same hotel) let you mold this ride to your desires. Indeed, plenty of beautiful extra kilometers could make it hard were that to be your goal. But there is much to stop for.

Training for the ride

Blue Marble Travel's trips are carefully designed to ensure that a normally fit person will be able to complete the daily route without undue strain. If you bike some, you’ll be fine. If you exercise regularly, but don’t bike, you should try to go on at least one reasonably long ride (25 miles / 40 kilometers) in the two weeks before your trip. This is partly to ensure that you actually know how to ride.

If you have trouble in traffic, or with the gears, then more intensive practice is a good idea. But it is mostly to break in your posterior. If you give yourself a sore saddle in the week before the trip, you will fully recover (that is, be able to sit down without discomfort) by the trip start, and yet hold on to some of the resistance you built up on your long ride. Don't harbor too many illusions, though - your seat will be sore on days three to five of your trip.

If you have done nothing but guzzle beer and watch TV since you were 12, then you’ll initially be exhausted in the evenings (and your seat will be sore). You should probably avoid trips whose first week is challenging, and going out for a walk from time to time between now and the trip departure might be a good idea.

Bike

Blue Marble Travel owns a stable of road touring bikes, which live in central Paris. All are equipped with back rack, mudguards, 21 or more speeds, water bottle holder, and at least two wheels. Tire pumps, cable locks, patch kits, the wrench set needed for geometry adjustment, and / or a spare inner tube can be borrowed at no additional cost (you must leave a deposit unless you are traveling on one of the organized trips).

Front and rear clip-on lights can be rented for what is essentially the cost of the batteries (and are provided for free on the organized cycle trips). If you require cycle luggage, it can be rented through Blue Marble Travel, as well as some other accessories. The bicycles are composite machines, assembled from carefully selected components by Blue Marble Travel's star chef d'atelier and expert mechanics. They are not the disposables common in rental fleets - they are purpose-built, designed for distance, comfort, and luggage carriage.

Frames and parts are regularly tested and replaced based on fatigue cycles, and mechanical failures are rare. In fact, they are rarer on Blue Marble Travel's bicycles than they are on the better bikes independent riders sometimes bring. If you are on one of the organized trips, the trip coordinators have the mechanical knowledge to keep them running, and the guests find them well-suited to the type of travel they arrange. Blue Marble Travel offers three styles of bike to choose from including men's racing, men's upright, and women's upright.

Men's racing

The men’s refers to the frame with a straight horizontal bar linking seatpost and handlebar stem. This bar makes the frame more rigid, and thus reduces wobble and improves the bike's handling (just like in a car commercial). The racing refers to the handlebars, also known as drop, or ram's horn bars. These bars can be ridden in three different positions, thus varying pressures on your neck and back, and giving you a low center of gravity which makes the bike easier to control. The headsets are narrow, which is better for aerodynamic reasons, and also as a matter of safety (minimal risk of being clipped by a passing car).

Men's upright

The men’s refers to the frame, with a straight horizontal bar linking seat post and handlebar stem. This bar makes the frame more rigid, and thus reduces wobble and improves the bike's handling. It ensures that more of your pedal effort goes to moving the bike forward, and not side to side.

The upright refers to the handlebars, or more accurately, to the position of the rider on the bars. In general, riders on these bikes sit straighter, which is nice for viewing. But the bikes are less maneuverable, especially at higher speeds, and they require that you use extra caution going downhill. The single back position they allow can be wearing over time.

If you are going on a shorter trip, and this is what you are used to (and it probably is), then you are probably better off selecting it. The learning curve of racing or ram’s horn bars (the use of which implies getting used to stretching across the bike's frame) will not have time to pay off. The back problems sometimes engendered by upright bars will probably not have time to become an issue.

Women's upright

The women's refers to the frame (no horizontal bar at the top, designed to allow use by a skirted rider and to facilitate mounting and dismounting). The upright refers to the handlebars, or more precisely, to the position of the rider on the bars. This style presents some inconveniences (a wobblier frame, a single back position), but it is by far the easiest to mount and dismount. If you are nervous about your riding skills, and / or going on a short trip (where climbing the learning curve of a different style will use up too much of the trip, and, after all, this is supposed to be a vacation), then this is your best bet.

A friendly trip coordinator

A trip coordinator accompanies each trip and has a broad administrative role: shipping bikes and bags; confirming, reserving, and paying for trains and hotels; ensuring that the hotels receive the guests as they promise; verifying sightseeing information; banking; tuning and repairing the cycles; offering roadside assistance and route information; and scouting for restaurants. In sum, coping with the lines, hassles, and arguments that are the buzz-kill of travel.

Further, Blue Marble Travel's bilingual coordinators know more than a bit about the cultures, cuisines, and countries through which you travel. The advice and counsel they provide can help you get the most out of your vacation, and their menu explanations can enrich your meals with more than calories.

Finally, they assist in coping with the unexpected: lost passports, dental flare-ups or medical emergencies, and changes in travel plans. Blue Marble Travel doesn’t know all the local emergency rooms, but they know how to find them quickly. Of course, none of this will be necessary on your trip.

Location

This trip will take place in Southern Burgundy, France. The trip will start and end in Dijon. Dijon is one of France’s most beautiful cities, the former capital of the Duchy of Burgundy, and a place that definitely punches above its weight. You will pass through Côte de Beaune, La Rochepot, Côte Chalonnaise, the Saône Valley, and the Mâconnais.

France is a special place, about which few are dispassionate. Her appeal is strongest amongst those who know her best. An economist statistical analysis of “Best Places to Live” put her 11th, but when they simply polled their staff, she won hands down.

Food

Burgundy (both north and south) places a strong accent on what most of people think of as traditional French gastronomy. An inordinate amount of time is spent at the dinner table. When you get up (if you can), you do so with an understanding of why France’s cuisine is so well-reputed.

Breakfast (continental) is included during the trip. It is generally taken at the hotel. Most dinners are also included. You are on your own for dinner (and its expense) two nights per trip week. Included dinners may be taken in a group or you may dine on your own or in smaller sub-groups, with suggestions offered by the trip coordinator. On nights when you prefer one of these latter options, funds will be distributed sufficiently to permit a wide selection of restaurants. Beverages at dinner are not included.

The meals are special events and a focus on the trips, especially in the Latin countries. The choice is never lacking. But Blue Marble Travel prides themselves on their ability to showcase local cuisines, often different from Anglo tradition. Picky eaters or those with diets which exclude food types or groups may find this focus tiresome.

Since special diets are rare in Latin Europe, the hosts are surprised by them. Complex dishes may contain some food you wish to avoid, hidden as a seasoning. Chefs who take pride in their creations are not only unwilling (or unable) to remove the offending ingredient, but can be unwilling to even discuss the recipe! Fortunately, the unusual flexibility of the meal program allows you to retreat to a pizza place if the cultural experience becomes oppressive.

The following meals are included:

  • Breakfast
  • Dinner

The following dietary requirement(s) are served and/or catered for:

  • Regular (typically includes meat and fish)
If you have special dietary requirements it's a good idea to communicate it to the organiser when making a reservation

Things to do (optional)

  • A medieval fortified castle trip in La Rochepot
  • A visit to the 14th-century castle in Savigny-lès-Beaune
  • Exploring 15th-century hospital in Beaune
  • Liqueur tasting
  • Visit to the Palace of the Dukes of Burgundy
  • Visiting a nice waterfall at the Cirque du Bout du Monde
  • Visiting the castle in Cormatin
  • Wine museum tour in Beaune
  • Wine tasting

What's included

  • 6 days of cycling
  • A friendly trip coordinator
  • Transport during the trip
  • Breakfasts and dinners
  • 5 nights' accommodation

What's not included

  • Private sightseeing
  • Air / rail farse to and from the trip
  • Lunches
  • Beverages at dinner
  • Items of a personal nature

How to get there

Recommended Airports

Arrival by airplane

Please book your flight to arrive at Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport (CGD), Geneva Airport (GVA) or Lyon-Saint-Exupéry Airport (LYS). Transfer from and to the airport is available upon request.

From Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport (CGD), there is one daily train departing the airport at 8 p.m. (arriving in Dijon at 9:45 p.m.).

Arrival by train

From Paris, the trip time is 90 minutes with the service every 90 minutes. From Nice, the travel time is a shade over six hours on a direct train, around seven on a connecting service. Direct trains run at 1:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. Connecting services operate at 7:30 a.m., 11 a.m., and 2:30 p.m. (the 11 a.m. requires two connections).

From Geneva, the travel time is three hours with one change of train required in Lausanne. Departures are at 8:30 a.m. 11:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. Trains depart directly from the airport and also from the downtown station. Seat reservations are required and tickets are train specific. An alternate route, taking an hour longer but not requiring advance reservations, is available via Lyon, with service spread throughout the day. If you are coming from the airport, this route requires that you first take a shuttle train downtown.

From Zurich, direct trains depart from downtown at 9:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. (a two-hour-and-30-minute trip). Services with a connection take an hour longer and run at 7:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. Add 30 minutes for the shuttle train from the Zurich Airport rail station to the Zurich downtown station.

From Milan, you can depart at 8:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. with one connection. Journey time is six hours on the early train, seven and a half on the late one. Additional trains with two connections run throughout the day. From Barcelona, the train departs at 9:30 a.m., 1:30 p.m. or 5 p.m., a seven-or-eight-hour trip with one connection (the 1:30 p.m. train has two). From London, there is a frequent service via Paris; a station change in Paris is required (Gare du Nord to Gare de Lyon).

Cancellation Policy

  • A reservation requires a deposit of 16.94% of the total price.
  • The deposit is non-refundable, if the booking is cancelled.
  • The rest of the payment should be paid 30 days before arrival.
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