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Ride through the Burgundy and Bordeaux Wine Regions with VBT

Chateau Bike Ride
One of the great things about bicycling through the French countryside is the bike routes that take you along pastoral roads past serene rivers and beautiful stretches of hillside vineyards. Two of our favorite tours in some of France’s wine regions are Bicycling Bordeaux & the River Dordogne and the aptly named, Burgundy: The Wine Route. On these two tours, our daily rides are accentuated with visits to local wine cellars and vineyards where you’ll get to learn about wine production and more importantly, taste some of the delicious samples.  ​

Cycling the Bordeaux region with VBT
Grapes on the Vine
During our Bicycling Bordeaux & the River Dordogne​ tour, we’ll explore the surrounding villages of St. Emilion—our home for 2 nights—and bike along rolling terrain past several impressive vineyard Châteaux—including the renowned Château Ausone and Château Cheval Blanc. Both of these wineries are classified as 1st Grand Cru Classe A, Wine Tastingwhich is the French rating system for ‘first growth’ wines in the St. Emilion region of Bordeaux. The aforementioned Châteaux are the only ones that have been distinguished as Classe A in the area.

Later in the tour, our cycling route will take us past a 13th-century castle in the small town of Rauzan and the abbey at Blasimon, which dates back to the 12th century. After a rewarding day on our bikes we’ll be treated to a visit with Claire Poncet at the Château Font-Vidal in Julliac, who will enlighten us with a talk about the process of wine production on her estate before offering us a tasting. The Château Font-Vidal has been family-owned since the early 1800’s and produces richly red Bordeaux that features a “balanced palate with tasty tannins.”

Visiting the Burgundy Region with VBT
Vineyard Ride
On this fascinating journey on our Burgundy: The Wine Route tour, we’ll cycle along small wine roads through the Hospices de Beauneworld-famous vineyards of the Côte de Beaune and pass well-known villages like Puligny Montrachet, Meursault and Pommard—considered by many oenophiles as the mecca of Chardonnay production. Beaune is nicknamed the “Capital of Burgundy Wines” and its downtown is highlighted by the Hospices de Beaune, a 15th-century structure that once served as a charitable almshouse. The perfectly preserved Gothic masterpiece also hosts one of France’s largest charity wine auctions every year. During our stay in Beaune, we’ll also walk to one of the towns many wine cellars to taste some of the regional wines.

Vineyard ChurchAs we make our way from Beaune to Dijon later in the tour we’ll wind our way to Nuits St. George, the region where famed Côte de Nuits red wines are produced. In this area, monks made wine for religious services for centuries and historians believe that the very first red wines in the world were made here. It is believed that the monks macerated the grape skins so the typical rosé wine would more closely resemble the blood of Christ.

These are just a couple examples of the many cultural highlights you’ll find on these France biking vacations. To read more about all of our vacations in France please click here.  If you would like to reserve a vacation or speak with one of our Tour Consultants, please call 800-245-3868. They are available Monday-Friday from 8:30am to 6:30pm EST and Saturdays from 10:00am to 3:00pm EST.

Visit Locales Where French Impressionists Painted Their Masterpieces with VBT

Alfred_Sisley_-_Street_of_Marlotte_aka_Women_Going_to_the_Woods
Impressionist art was a movement spawned in the 19th century by a group of French painters that emphasized colors, lighting and the essence of time passage in the works which often featured outdoor landscapes and depicted human movement rather than still portraits—a new artistic concept for the times. French Impressionist painters like Renoir, Sisley and Monet—whose Impression, Sunrise painting of Le Havre’s harbor coined the movement’s name—often traveled outside of Paris and into the countryside for their inspirations. Travelers on our Heart of France Bike and Barge tour will get to see some exact spots where famous Impressionist artists painted their masterpieces in Barbizon, Bourron Marlotte, and Moret-sur-Loing while on this unique tour.

We’ll discover the roots of the movement when a pleasurable morning cycle along the banks of the River Seine bringsBiking along the Seine us to the “painter’s village” of Barbizon. During the mid-19th century Corot, Rousseau and Daubigny were leaders of the “Barbizon school”, which became the setting for an artistic revolution that set the stages for the Impressionist painters of the 1870’s, especially their use of the en plein air technique of painting outside in order to capture natural light. Even today many artists live in the area, mesmerized by the countryside. During our visit to the town, we’ll stop in at the local museum of the Barbizon school and see where famous landscape artists painted their works.

A Young Man in the Forest of Fontainebleau by RenoirAnother fantastic day where cycling meets art is when we cycle through the wonderful forest of Fontainebleau, which includes a stop at the impressive UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Château of Fontainebleau. The beauty of this forest was famously depicted in A Young Man in the Forest of Fontainebleau by French Impressionist Pierre-Auguste Renoir.  We continue to ride through this peaceful forest to Bourron Marlotte, a community that homed and inspired many artists including Renoir, Cézanne and Sisley—whose 1866 painting Street of Marlotte features a group of women leaving the town’s stone structures presumably for a walk in the woods.

Another artist community that we’ll visit on this tour is the charming, medieval-Moret-sur-loingfortified town of Moret-Sur-Loing, strategically situated on the banks of the Loing. Here Sisley found inspiration for his beautiful Impressionist paintings including the aptly named 1888 piece, Moret-sur-Loing. Our barge actually moors here overnight and you’re encouraged to take a walk on the “Sisley in Moret” trail during the evening to see a variety of places that inspired the artist.

These are just some examples of the Impressionist-themed experiences you’ll enjoy on our Heart of France Bike and Bargetour. To read more about our French vacations, please click here.  If you would like to reserve a vacation or speak with one of our Tour Consultants, please call 800-245-3868. They are available Monday-Friday from 8:30am to 6:30pm EST and Saturdays from 10:00am to 3:00pm EST.

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