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Classic Burgundy Cycling

from $2,399.00

This 8-night cycling holiday really gets under the skin of Burgundy: its people, its villages, its waterways and, of course, its world-famous wines. The days have been specially designed to allow for lazy riverside lunches, gastronomic pit-stops and plenty of wine tastings!

  • Reviews 39 Reviews
    5/5
  • Vacation Style Holiday Type
    Self-guided
  • Activity Level Easy plus
    4/8
All about the Classic Burgundy Cycling.

Burgundy is noted as a place of artistic and historical interest, famous for its Romanesque heritage and architecturally interesting towns and villages. It’s famous too for its exceptional wines and delicious food, and is often described as ‘the land of great art and good living’.
This eight night tour provides a real connoisseur’s guide to Burgundy: the wines, the towns and the strategic importance of the waterways over the centuries. The cycling is relaxed and undemanding, along riverside trails and canal towpaths, and takes you through rolling countryside, with vineyards and orchards to the north, and flower-filled meadows and woods to the south. Highlights include the famous Mary Magdalene Basilica at Vezelay, a UNESCO heritage site, mediaeval Noyers-sur-Serein with its half-timbered houses and cobbled streets and, of course, a plethora of fine wine-tasting opportunities in Chablis and beyond. The routes have been specially designed to allow for lazy riverside lunches, wine cave visits and a chance to potter around the pretty ports and villages along the Canal de Nivernais.
Your accommodation is hand-picked for its charm and character. The family-run Hotel Normandie in Auxerre was converted from a maison bourgeoise and is perfectly situated to explore the mediaeval town. The Hostellerie du Clos in the heart of Chablis was once the hospice, now beautifully renovated to a 4 star hotel, the Auberge da la Beursaudiere in Nitry was once a priory and the Hotel Les Glycines in Vezelay is just 50m from the Basilica.

The tour package inclusions and exclusions at a glance
What is included in this tour?Items that are included in the cost of tour price.
  • 8 nights accommodation, hotel-to-hotel
  • All continental breakfasts and 4 evening meals
  • Services of your local Headwater Representative
  • GPS route directions and maps
  • RideWithGPS navigation app
  • High quality hybrid bikes
  • Luggage transfers between hotels
What is not included in this tour?
  • Flights
  • Arrival & departure transfers (available on request, inquire for supplement)
  • Room upgrades and extra nights at selected hotels
  • Single Accommodation (available on request, inquire for supplement)
  • E-Bike (available on request, inquire for supplement)

Highlights

  • Exceptionally relaxed, varied cycling: peaceful riverside trails, country lanes and canal paths
  • Historical interest-packed itinerary: beautiful Gothic churches, superb Renaissance chateaux, Christendom’s finest Romanesque abbey at Vezelay
  • Colorful canal barges, pretty river ports and beaches
  • Excellent hotels, full of atmosphere
  • Taste world-famous wines in Chablis and the surrounding area
  1. Day 1 Day 1 Arrive in Auxerre

    This is one of France’s prettiest mediaeval cities, on the banks of the River Yonne, and your base for tonight. Here you’ll find two Gothic churches: the Cathedral of St-Etienne (C13 and C16 with magnificent stained glass windows) and the Abbey of St-Germain (C13 and C14 with C19 crypt). There’s time to explore the mediaeval lanes and pretty port before dinner in town with plenty of choice of restaurants within a couple of minutes’ walk of your hotel. (Staying at Hotel Normandie, Breakfast only)

  2. Day 2 Day 2 Auxerre to Chablis 43km/26.5mi

    Take the path along the River Yonne, out of Auxerre, to Moneteau and Gurgy, then it’s on to the spectacular C12 Abbey at Pontigny, founded in 1114 as a Cistercian monastery. Among those buried at the abbey are Adele of Champagne (queen of Louis VII of France) and Saint Edmund of Abingdon (Archbishop of Canterbury from 1234-1240 who was later canonised following alleged miracles at his grave!). Continue on along the River Serein and through La Chapelle Vaupelteigne to Chablis. (Staying at Hostellerie des Clos, Half Board)

  3. Day 3 Day 3 - At Chablis

    Explore the town of Chablis, which gives its name to the world-famous wine. Enjoy wine-tastings galore in local caves with the seven Grand Cru vineyards of Les Preuses, Vaudesir, Grenouilles, Valmur, Les Clos, Bourgros and Blanchots all sitting on a single south-west facing slope just to the north and overlooking the town. There are also several Premier Cru vineyards within easy cycling distance of the town. (Staying at Hostellerie des Clos, Half board)

  4. Day 4 Day 4 Chablis to Nitry 35km/22mi

    Pedal, from Chablis, along the beautiful River Serein valley, discovering pretty towns and villages, including Chemilly-sur-Serein, Poilly-sur-Serein and Sainte Vertu along the way. Enjoy rolling countryside as you cycle from one town to the next and enjoy a picnic by the river in Annay-sur-Serein. Continue on, via Villiers-la-Grange and its C12 chapel and barn – built by the Cistercian monks from Pontigny, to your hotel in Nitry for the next two nights. (Staying at Auberge de la Beursaudiere, Half board)

  5. Day 5 Day 5 - At Nitry

    Cycle out to explore nearby Noyers-sur-Serein, one of the prettiest villages in France. Set in the hollow of a meander of the River Serein, its half-timbered houses, cobbled streets, C12 castle site, towers and ramparts all demonstrate the village’s mediaeval roots. Enjoy lunch in one of the local restaurants before returning to Nitry. (Staying at Auberge de la Beursaudiere, Half board)

  6. Day 6 Day 6 - Nitry to Vezelay 44km/27.5mi

    Cycle through open, rolling farmland to Joux-la-Ville where a local, specialist biscuiterie makes a range of traditional tuiles, moelleux and financiers. Continue through woodland towards Lucy-le-Bois followed by a climb up to the surrounding open countryside and a cycle down to the Cure River valley at Sermizelles – worth cycling (or walking) up to the octagonal Malakoff Tower and the chapel of Notre Dame d’Orient with its modern design and stained glass. Continue along the valley to hilltop Vezelay, a major starting point for pilgrims on the Camino. (Staying at Hotel SY Les Glycines, Breakfast only)

  7. Day 7 Day 7 - At Vezelay

    The C12 basilica is a masterpiece of sacred art and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It’s the largest church in France, and was the launching point for two Crusades; visitors flock here to pay homage to the tomb containing the remains of Mary Magdalene. To see a recreation of how the midday sun at the summer solstice reflects nine pools of light leading the way up to the altar, visit the Maison du Visiteur on your way up to the basilica; it’s a special experience to listen to the sung service at 12.30 on weekdays or Vespers at 18:00. A short walk takes you to the village of St-Pere-sous-Vezelay and its ornate Gothic church, or you can visit the nearby Roman Baths or Fontaines Salees. (Staying at Hotel SY Les Glycines, Breakfast only)

  8. Day 8 Day 8 - Vezelay to Auxerre 40km/25mi or 60km/37.5mi

    Cycle through the most northern part of the Morvan Natural Park and on to Chatel-Censoir where you join the ’green way’ along the Canal du Nivernais. Potter around the pretty ports and villages along the canal then either take the train to Auxerre from Cravant or continue along the canal to visit the Bailly caves , the birthplace of Cremant de Bourgogne for a final sparkling wine tasting. (Staying at Hotel Normandie, Breakfast only)

  9. Day 9 Day 9 - Leave Auxerre

    Please note that cycling helmets are compulsory in France for children under 12. As we are unable to provide these, we strongly recommend that you bring your own. Please see our Planning you holiday page for full details.

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Where you stay
Hotel Normandie
This hotel was originally a maison bourgeoise until it was converted into a hotel by an ex-patissier! It has now been in Mme Ramise’s family for over 45 years. The hotel only provides breakfast, although a la carte room service is possible (very reasonably priced and a good selection of hot and cold dishes). However, it’s fun to explore the lovely town of Auxerre and there are plenty of good restaurants in all price ranges within 5-15 minutes walk. There’s a public swimming pool in the town and a sauna at the hotel (approx 7). There is a secure closed garage behind the hotel (5 per day) or free parking in front (ask at reception).
Hostellerie des Clos
The Hostellerie des Clos is a family run hotel in the heart of Chablis. The hotel is set in beautiful gardens, with terrace for breakfast or pre-dinner drinks. There is a cosy lounge and all the rooms are individually decorated across two buildings.
Auberge de la Beursaudiere
The Auberge de la Beursaudiere, formerly a farm building and before that a priory offers individually decorated rooms that take their name from traditional professions including La Coutiere (seamstress), La Dentelliere (lacemaker) and Maquignon (horse-dealer). The restaurant offers regional cuisine that changes according to the season.
Hotel SY Les Glycines
Hotel Les Glycines is situated just 50m from the basilica and has been recently renovated from a C18 townhouse to create a charming hotel with 13 individually decorated well equipped rooms. Breakfast and a la carte evening meals are taken at the sister hotel La Terrasse, just 50m up the hill beside the basilica.
Eating and Drinking

“La Bourgogne est bien dans son assiette”. This is very much cuisine du terroir, a traditional gastronomy with its roots deep in the soil. The fantastic wines of the region play an important part in many dishes: boeuf bourguignon, coq au vin, saupiquet de jambon, oeufs sauce meurette, smelly wine washed cheeses like the popular Epoisses – the list could go on indefinitely! St Florentin, Soumaintrain, Chaource and Crottin de Chavignol are the other main Burgundian cheeses. Before dinner, you may also try the typical Kir drink, made with white Bourgogne Aligoté and the regional Crême de Cassis.

The Auxerre vineyards have been renowned since the Middle Ages, when the wine was transported to Paris and beyond along the River Yonne. At the end of C19 the Yonne had more vineyards than all of Burgundy and Beaujolais together but sadly, like all of Europe’s vineyards, these were ravaged by phylloxera.

Cycling Conditions
Classification: SelfGuided
Activity Level: 2 (Leisurely/Moderate)
Average daily distance: 40.5km (25.25 miles).
No. of days cycling: 4
Terrain and route: The cycling mostly follows country lanes with some hard-packed gravel tracks.
Vehicle Support: This is a self-guided trip for those who prefer to cycle independently, but with our assistance to take out the stress of the logistics and planning. We arrange your accommodation, provide you with a map and route notes so that you can cycle at your own pace, while your bags are transported from one hotel to the next.

It is important that you are happy reading maps and following route notes, we make these as accurate as possible and they are regularly checked.

As this is a self-guided holiday there is no group and no leader. There maybe others on the same departure date as you, but you will not be organised together. The routes notes contain a 24-hour emergency assistance telephone number should you need it and in emergencies, the hotels are normally able to dispatch a taxi or pick you up themselves. They may wish to charge for this service.

Overall Rating
5/5
Reviewed On 24/09/2019
5/5

Mr Cummings

This was a very enjoyable holiday with lovely hotels and beautiful scenery. The bikes are very comfortable and, although quite heavy, the gearing system is excellent so that climbing the hills wasn't a problem. The hotels are a mix of real rural France and more modern but all are clean and comfortable. The hotel in Nitry is rather isolated which is fine if the weather is good as there are lots of places to sit outside but the rooms are rather small and therefore not so good if the weather forces you inside.

Reviewed On 22/08/2019
5/5

Mr Dytor

Excellent with the exception of Hotel Normandue

Reviewed On 28/06/2013
5/5

Mrs Thomas

Cycling through Burgundy was a wonderful experience. The fields sprinkled with bright red poppies and blue cornflowers was breathtaking. We had a 'day off' cycling in Veselay and wandered around the town and basillica. We also went to vespers in the Basillica which was amazing.

The food was also excellent in the hotels/restaurants chosen by Headwaters.

Cycling in a surprising hot spell was more difficult than anticipated, but still manageable and the last few days when it had cooled down were a joy.

Reviewed On 08/10/2014
5/5

Mrs Sanderson

Lovely area with some very good cycle routes. The accommodation and meals were excellent. The cycling was relatively easy, however you could add extra mileage and create longer routes if you wanted.



We had a very enjoyable and relaxing holiday which was organised without fault.

Reviewed On 19/07/2019
5/5

Mr Bennett

Very pleasant holiday. We were pleased that we had e-bikes because there are a number of climbs which we managed without difficulty despite some very warm weather.

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