Burgundy & Provence
26 June to 7 July 2017
Fun & Easy
E-bike (extra cost)
423km to 484km
Join us for nearly 500km of riding through the beautiful regions of Burgundy and Provence in France.
Spending five nights in Burgundy we will see the best region has to offer - famous vineyards, beautiful castles, gorgeous countryside and villages. From Burgundy we will take the train to Provence and continue riding for a week through the Cotes de Rhone and Alpilles scenery and sites, passing through the typical and charming Luberon villages along the way.
We will typically spend two nights in each location and do a loop ride making for a comfortable and relaxing trip (and easy to get laundry done). The riding will be reasonably leisurely allowing plenty of time to sample the best of French food, wine and history.
This will be a self-guided experience where your luggage will be transferred each day and it will be up to us as a group to navigate our way along the easy to follow trail. There is no support vehicle so all riders should be confident in being able to comfortably ride the whole distance each day (the only backup is to take a taxi).
The rides will be reasonably leisurely with quiet villages roads and no mountain climbs. The biggest climb looks to be on the final day of riding with the ride to Les Baix de Provence which is only a couple of hundred metres of climbing.
We will supply detailed route notes and step-by-step notes to help with our navigation.
PRICE & BOOKINGS
PRICING & PAYMENT
The price for this tour is quoted in Euros. Payment will be taken in AUD in the exchange rate calculated at the time of payment. At current exchange rates the AUD price is approximately $3470.
A $400 deposit is required to confirm places on the trip.
Day 1 - Arrive Morey-St-Denis
Day 2 - Cycle Hautes Cotes loop ride (43km)
Day 3 - Cycle Route des Grands Crus to Beaune (45km)
Day 4 - Cycle loop ride to the Saone River Plains (55km)
Day 5 - Cycle Beaune to Puligny-Montrachet (41km or 55km)
Day 6 - Cycle loop ride Chateau de Commarin and Chateauneuf en Auxois (33km or 44km)
Day 7 - Train to Bedoin
Day 8 - Cycle loop ride into the Vaucluse (42km or 60km)
Day 9 - Cycle Bedoin to Gordes via Isle sur la Sorgue (60km)
Day 10 - Cycle Luberon loop ride (42km or 60km)
Day 11 - Cycle Gordes to St Remy de Provence (55km)
Day 11 - end
See below for the detailed itinerary
DAY 1 - ARRIVAL IN BURGUNDY
Upon your arrival in Dijon, we will be transferred to our first hotel in the small wine village of Morey-St-Denis. After we have settled in to our rooms, we will be set you up with our trip package and fitted to our bikes. If you have time and feel like it, test out your bikes by pedaling northwards to Gevrey Chambertin and return: you can stop for a wine tasting in the village if you wish to get into the Burgundian frame of mind!
DAY 2 - THE HAUTES COTES LOOP RIDE (43KM)
Ride southwards to Chambolle-Musigny, passing the Grand Crus vineyards and warming you up for your first climb, up above the sea of vines into the Hautes Cotes, literally, “the upper hillside”. Spectacular riding on tiny un-trafficked roads awaits, through tiny villages with stone farmhouses, fields of canola and wheat, and rich forest. Detour if you like for a farmhouse lunch, before descending back towards the vineyards. Detour northwards on the Route des Grands Crus to see lesser-known (and more affordable!) wines from Fixin, or Marsannay (including Marsannay’s rosé wines), before returning to your hotel for a second evening.
DAY 3 - CYCLE THE ROUTE DES GRANDS CRUS TO BEAUNE (45KM)
This wonderful ride meanders you southwards, following the Route des Grands Crus, through vineyard villages and passing famous wine names. You’ll pass the 15th century fortified winery in the centre of the Clos de Vougeot Grand Cru (stop to visit the four monumental antique wine presses), as well as the most expensive vineyard in all of Burgundy, the Romanee Conti. After Nuits St Georges, the ride climbs up into the Hautes Cotes. Take a small detour to visit the mushroom and truffle farm, before descending through Pernand-Vergelesses, overlooking the Corton hill with its grand cru red and whites. On to Savigny-les-Beaune, where you can do a small self-guided walk, or visit the castle with its collection of airplanes, motorcycles and antique cars. The end of the ride brings you in to Beaune, the true heart and soul of Burgundy, with its lovely cobble stoned streets and medieval ramparts. Take some time to explore, and decide amongst the dozens of restaurants, where you’d like to have dinner this evening.
DAY 4 - LOOP RIDE TO THE SAONE RIVER PLAINS (55KM)
Today’s loop ride, a little longer, but relatively easy, heads out away from the vineyards and into the easygoing terrain of the Saone River plains. Lunch, if you wish, on the terrace of a great local restaurant specializing in the catch from the river itself, including frog’s legs if you wish to try them! Visit the tiny church of Bagnot, with its primitive frescos. Return via the Longvay Forest, passing through villages with ancient stone buildings, fields of canola and cassis (the regional black current). Take some time to explore Beaune itself: we provide you with a self-guided walking tour of the historic centre, its medieval streets, ramparts, the Collegial church with its 15th century tapestries or simply have a drink in one of the many cafes on the main square. Be sure to visit the incredible Hospices de Beaune: a hospital for the poor, built in 1443 by the chancellor of the Duke of Burgundy, this is one of the most beautiful buildings in the region.
DAY 5 - CYCLE BEAUNE TO PULIGNY-MONTRACHET (41KM OR 55KM)
Today you'll cycle through pretty fields of sunflowers, spotted with small farming villages and large stone farmhouses of the Saone River plains. The longer option takes you all the way to the Saone River itself, where you can lunch on the riverbank. The route is nice and flat all day long, curving back near the end of the ride towards the famous vineyards of Meursault and your home for the final two nights, Puligny-Montrachet, both charming villages who happen to make some of the best white wines in the world.
DAY 6 - LOOP RIDE: CHATEAU DE COMMARIN AND CHATEAUNEUF EN AUXOIS (33KM OR 44KM)
Your final ride today takes you along the tranquil and pretty Canal du Centre, and then into the Cote Chalonnaise, and return. This wine region lies just to the south of the Côte de Beaune. Away from the ambitious pricing of the Côte d'Or, some producers, in villages like Rully and Mercurey, are turning out respectable Chardonnay and tasty Pinot Noir for a fraction of the prices these wines might fetch further north. You’ll also want to taste the excellent Crémant de Bourgogne, the region’s delicious sparkling wine. We recommend the long option, adding 11 km; and allowing you to visit the Castle of Couches, before descending back to the bike path along the canal. Whatever version you choose, the beautiful terrain and small villages make for great riding.
DAY 7 - TRAIN TO PROVENCE
After a final breakfast, we transfer you to the train station in Chalon-sur-Saone in time for your connections southwards towards Provence. On your arrival in Avignon, we will transfer you to your first hotel, in Bedoin, in the heart of the Vaucluse region of Provence. The countryside is spectacular, with the impressive Mont Ventoux as a backdrop, and small Provencal villages dotting the plains and vineyards that spread out around you. This typical small Provencal village will enchant you, with its rich 2000 year old history. Before dinner, our Trip Manager will meet up with you to go over your Provence trip package and make sure your bikes are fitted properly.
DAY 8 - LOOP RIDE INTO THE VAUCLUSE (42KM OR 60KM)
Your ride today is beautiful, taking you through several picturesque towns and villages each worth some meandering, and always with the impressive Mont Ventoux as your imposing backdrop. Stop to do a small self-guided walking tour of Mazan, before continuing on to Beaumes de Venise; not only is the town quite charming, but if you feel like it, after finding some lunch, you can stop for a tasting of their wonderful sweet white wines, or some of the Cotes de Rhone reds, or a tasting at the local olive mill to taste the fruity artisanal olive oils. For those that wish, a slightly longer option in the morning takes you through Flassan and Villes-sur-Auzon. Whichever option you choose, you will pedal along lovely quiet roads, and through some of the oldest vineyards in all of France. The ride finishes back in Bedoin near the base of Mont Ventoux for a second evening.
DAY 9 - CYCLE BEDOIN TO GORDES VIA ISLE SUR LA SORGUE (60KM)
After a leisurely breakfast, you ride southwards towards the Rhone plains. You'll ride through the small village of Venasque (considered by many as the most authentic village of the region), and on towards Isle Sur la Sorgue. This compact town, built on the islands of five branches of the Sorgue River, is most well-known today for its huge weekend antique markets. During the week as well, it is worth taking the time to visit the many antique shops and boutiques, and to find lunch or at least a cool refreshment in one of the many cafés. From there it is not far to your destination, though the terrain gets a little more rolling as you pass through the village of Fontaine de Vaucluse, with its beautiful spring; save a little energy for the very end, as Gordes is perched, spectacularly, on the top of a hill.
DAY 10 - LUBERON LOOP RIDE (42KM OR 60KM)
Today’s ride is a great one: a loop ride including many of the classic Luberon villages (made famous in Peter Mayle’s book, A Year in Provence), allowing lots of exploration. You’ll ride through Roussillon, with its ochre cliffs, mined for the rich pigments, Bonnieux, with its shady main square and ancient church perched high above, and Lacoste, with the ruins of the castle of the Marquis de Sade. There is a long option to the market town of Apt for those that crave a little more. At the end of your ride, you can decide to pedal down (but don’t forget you have to come back up!) into the valley to visit the Cistercian Abbey of Senanque, perhaps in time to see the monks during vespers, and to admire the lavender fields. You'll also want to take a little time explore the unique borie village (traditional stone huts), on the outskirts of Gordes.
DAY 11 - GORDES TO ST REMY DE PROVENCE (55KM)
You leave Gordes after your breakfast this morning, heading westwards. One more Luberon village awaits, Menerbes, with its odd corkscrew museum, and also a small boutique specializing in the region’s wonderful truffles and wines. It is not far from there that you arrive in the lively town of Cavaillon, famous for the Cavaillon melons, smaller and juicier than cantaloupe, and coveted by the locals. Head into the centre of town to find some lunch here if you like, before continuing on to cross the Durance River, and then pedal along small roads through vineyards, olive groves and orchards, on to your final destination, the Provencal town of St Remy, with its shady squares, and lovely little streets and boutiques. St Remy is tucked into the foot of the Alpilles hills, with their beautiful white stone, often set against an intense blue sky, where writers such as Daudet and Frederic Mistral settled. Enjoy a pastis at one of the local cafes before deciding where to find dinner among the many options in town.
DAY 12 - END
After a final breakfast, we transfer from your hotel back to Avignon for your further travels.
INCLUSIONS & EXTRAS
This trip uses a selection of charming 3 and 4 star hotels with great personality that reflect the region, and are not too large. Rooms are en-suite and have towels and the usual amenities you would expect of a hotel.
Some of the hotels we intend to use:
- Castel de Tres Girard in Morey-St-Denis
- Hotel de la Paix in Beaune
- Hotel des Pins in Bedoin
- Hotel Mas de Gordes in Gordes
- Vallon de Valrugues in St. Remy de Provence
We will be working on a twin share basis. There may be the possibility of an optional single supplement but this depends on availability of rooms in the smaller villages where the hotels can be very small.
All breakfasts are included at our accommodation. Lunch and dinner are not included allowing you to choose where to eat lunch and dinner on your own schedule and budget.
We will be provided with top quality Gitane Sports Line and Trek 7.3 FX hybrid bikes, which come 27 speed Shimano Deore gears and front suspension. We will use a different fleet bikes in Burgundy and Provence. Other features include:
- Removable handle bar bag with clear map case
- Pump and puncture repair kit (with extra inner tube)
- Rear rack and panniers (1 set per couple - extra set available free on request)
- Water bottle holder and bottle
- Helmets are not included so please bring your own.
Ebikes are available for a surcharge of €200.
Your luggage will be transferred by a transfer service each day. Each person is allowed one piece of transfer luggage with a maximum weight of 15kg.
You must have travel insurance as part of the conditions of travel. Your insurance must cover emergency medical and evacuation.
Ebikes are available for a surcharge of €200.
You will need to bring your own helmet as they are not supplied by the bike hire business.