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.

Discover Siena and the Chianti region with VBT

Tuscan Hilltown Biking with VBT
Some of the most picturesque biking in Tuscany is through the rolling hills of the Chianti wine region and nearby Siena. As you cycle these roads you’ll pass sprawling vineyards and medieval cityscapes as you make your way through the beautiful countryside. Travelers on our Tuscan Hill Towns by Bike​ vacation will enjoy spending two days in the region biking along wine roads and absorbing the culture and history of the area’s largest city, Siena—whose historic downtown is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that is also the venue for one of the world’s most famous horse races, the Palio.

Siena CathedralSiena embodies medieval charm like no other city in Tuscany. Its early inhabitants indulged in their rivalry with Florence right into the area of urban planning. Throughout Siena’s history, they preserved their city’s Gothic appearance, which was mostly developed between the 12th and 15th centuries. During this period, Sienese painters like Duccio, the Lorenzetti brothers and Simone Martini influenced the course of Italian and, more broadly, European art. Architecturally, the whole city is built around one of Europe’s greatest medieval squares, the Piazza del Campo, which was created as a work of art that blends into the surrounding landscape. VBT travelers will attend a presentation about the Italian Renaissance, the history of Siena and of the Palio by a local art historian during our stay in Siena.

The Palio horse race, which has taken place twice a year since 1656, is Palio Horse Raceheld right in the middle of the Piazza del Campo. As the spectators gather in the center of the square, riders representing their home contrade—district—race around the enlivened crowd. There are historic alliances and rivalries between contrades, and epic street celebrations lead up to and surround the races. VBT travelers are likely to see some of the festivities and decorations surrounding this famous local event during the June 20th departure of the Tuscan Hill Towns tour.

Bike Ride in ChiantiSiena is also the starting point for one of the tour’s loveliest bike rides during which you’ll explore the Chianti wine region by way of the Via Chiantigiana, a panoramic road that runs along hillside vineyards and through the sleepy hilltop villages of Radda and Castellina. These towns are the heart of the original Chianti wine region that was created in 1716, before it was expanded to include more areas within Tuscany in 1932.

These are just some examples of the experience you’ll have on our Tuscan Hill Towns by Bike​ ​tour. To learn more about our Italian 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.