Headwater - Classic Burgundy Self-Guided Cycling

9 days
from
$3,449 NZD
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Trip code: 
C08BU
Way to Travel:
Self-Guided Holidays
Activity:
Cycling
Min age:
8

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.

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
  • Colourful canal barges, pretty river ports and beaches
  • Excellent hotels, full of atmosphere
  • Taste world-famous wines in Chablis and the surrounding area

Key information

  • 8 nights hotel-to-hotel accommodation
  • All continental breakfasts and 6 evening meals
  • Services of your local Headwater Representative
  • Headwater Wine Collection Service
  • GPS route directions and maps
  • RideWithGPS navigation app
  • High quality hybrid bikes
  • Luggage transfers between hotels
  • Countries visited: France

What's included

  • All accommodation
  • All continental breakfasts and 6 evening meals
  • Services of your local Headwater Representative
  • Headwater Wine Collection Service
  • GPS route directions and maps
  • RideWithGPS navigation app
  • High quality hybrid bikes
  • Luggage transfers between hotels

What's not included

  • Travel insurance
  • Single accommodation (compulsory supplement)
  • Visas or vaccinations
  • Supplement for single traveller (includes single accommodation supplement)
Call for general departures:
0800 643 997
Call for tailormade trips:
0800 643 997
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

4

Days of Cycling
Terrain:

The cycling mostly follows country lanes with some hard-packed gravel tracks.

Day by day breakdown
Day 243.0km/27.0miles
Day 435.0km/22.0miles
Day 644.0km/28.0miles
Day 825.0km/40.0miles

Responsible Travel

At Exodus we believe in the power of Responsible Travel.

Every time we travel, we are part of a global movement that creates jobs, builds more sustainable societies, encourages cultural understanding and safeguards common natural and cultural heritage. To learn more about what Responsible Travel means to Exodus click here

Itinerary

Auxerre
to
Auxerre
  • Day 1

    Arrive in Auxerre

    This is one of France's prettiest medieval 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 (13th & 16th century with magnificent stained glass windows) and the Abbey of St-Germain (13th & 14th century with 19th centurycrypt). 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)

  • Day 2

    Auxerre to Chablis

    Take the path along the River Yonne, out of Auxerre, to Moneteau and Gurgy, then it's on to the spectacular 12th century 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)

    Meals included: Breakfast Dinner
  • 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)

    Meals included: Breakfast Dinner
  • Day 4

    Chablis to Nitry

    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 12th century 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)

    Meals included: Breakfast Dinner
  • 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, 12th century castle site, towers and ramparts all demonstrate the village's medieval roots. Enjoy lunch in one of the local restaurants before returning to Nitry. (Staying at Auberge de la Beursaudiere, Half board)

    Meals included: Breakfast Dinner
  • Day 6

    Nitry to Vezelay

    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, Half Board)

    Meals included: Breakfast Dinner
  • Day 7

    At Vezelay

    The 12th century 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, Half Board)

    Meals included: Breakfast Dinner
  • Day 8

    Vezelay to Auxerre

    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)

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 9

    Leave Auxerre

    Meals included: Breakfast
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Essential Info

Visas

Vaccinations

France

There are no specific health risks.

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.

Weather

Burgundy is situated in the heart of France and usually has warm or hot summers with a continental feel to them. Generally the summer months are warm and dry, with rainfall averaging 6cm per month in July and August. The climate in Spring and Autumn is a mixture of sun and scattered showers with temperatures in the mid 20's (degrees celcius).

Is this trip for you?

Cycling Conditions
Classification: Self-Guided
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.

Call for general departures:
0800 643 997
Call for tailormade trips:
0800 643 997
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Accommodation

Hotels

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.

Call for general departures:
0800 643 997
Call for tailormade trips:
0800 643 997
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

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Dates & Prices