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Burgundy: The Wine Route

Relics of the former Duchy of Burgundy abound as we cycle along scenic canals and in-between vineyards on the Route des Grands Crus between Lyon and Dijon in this storied corner of France.

  • 10 Days
  • Activity Level: Easy / Moderate
  • Daily Mileage: 16 - 35 mi
  • Daily Biking: 2 1/2 - 4 1/2 hr
  • Small Groups: 20
  • Biking Activity
  • Ideal for energetic beginners to more experienced riders.
  • Airfare Packages Available

Why You'll Love This Tour

Overview

Burgundy: The Wine Route

Combine celebrated wines, fine French cuisine, authentic stone villages, and vineyard-cloaked vistas, and you have Burgundy at its most classic. Explore it all with VBT, and you have an enriching experience of unrivalled pleasures. Join us along the bucolic wine routes that link legendary Lyon and Dijon, including the famed Route des Grands Crus, a stunning panorama of scenic riverbanks, medieval lanes, and vineyard paths. And slow down to indulge in the real Burgundy, joining locals for a round of pétanque, delicious picnics, walking tours of medieval treasures, and wine tastings.

Cultural Highlights

  • Visit a lively French food market in the ancient village of Cluny, a 10th century papal residence
  • Taste the world’s best Burgundies in cool vaulted cellars with master sommeliers
  • Enjoy a VBT picnic and a lively game of pétanque (bocce) at a family home in the sleepy hamlet of Cussigney
  • Sleep in Louis the 14th’s favorite lodgings at the 16th century Hotel Le Cep
  • Admire the gorgeous buttery hues of the limestone architecture as you ride past ancient homes and timeless villages
  • Savor each course and morsel of artwork at a Michelin-starred restaurant in Tournus
  • Pedal through world-famous Chardonnay and Pinot Noir vineyards along Burgundy’s Côte-d’Or (Gold Coast)
  • Stop at a sidewalk café for crisp rosé wine and local escargot with garlic herb butter and crusty French bread
  • Ride through a lush, fertile landscape known for its variety of cheeses, wines and rich culture along the Saône River bike path
  • Explore the capital city Dijon and the powerful wine mecca Beaune on guided tours with local experts

What to Expect

This tour offers a combination of easy terrain mixed with moderate hills. Our VBT van support shuttle is always available for those who need assistance. Ideal for beginning and experienced cyclists alike.

Average Daily Mileage: 16 – 35 miles
Average Cycling Time: 2.5 – 4.5 hours

Climate Information

Average High/Low Temperature (°F) – Lyon
May 67°/50°  Jun 73°/57°  Jul 80°/61°  Aug 79°/60°  Sep 72°/54°  Oct 61°/47°

Average Precipitation (in.) – Lyon
May 3  Jun 3.1  Jul 2.6  Aug 3.1  Sep 3  Oct 3.4

What’s Included:

Bicycle Vacation Only – without Air

  • 6 nights in fine family-run or historic 4- and 5-star hotels
  • 11 meals – 6 breakfasts, 2 lunches, 3 dinners

Air Package Plus

  • Roundtrip international airfare
  • 6 nights in fine family-run or historic 4- or 5-star hotels

PLUS: 1 extra night in Lyon and 1 extra night in Paris in 4- star hotels

  • 13 meals – 8 breakfasts, 2 lunches, 3 dinners
  • ALL overseas transfers
  • AND the option to add our Low-Cost Trip Extensions:
    Pre-trip: Lyon – 2 nights for only $295
    Post-Trip: Paris – 2 nights for only $445

Both Vacation Options Include

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Air Package Plus Single Supplement: $845 | Land Only Single Supplement: $645

Please note: Web Special savings cannot be combined with any other offer. Standard Terms & Conditions apply when purchasing this trip. Prices include all airline surcharges and Government taxes and fees. Ask our Tour Consultants for details. Every effort has been made to produce this information accurately. We reserve the right to correct errors. Prices are based on preferences selected above, including meals and sightseeing as specified in What’s Included. All prices are subject to change. Departure dates and prices shown may be updated several times daily, and apply to new bookings only.

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Itinerary & Map
Or, Expand All Days
DAY 1: Depart from home / Fly overnight to Lyon

Depart from home for France. The particulars of your overseas arrival are detailed with your flight itinerary.

DAY 2: Arrive in Lyon

Upon arrival at Lyon Airport, claim your luggage and clear customs. If your luggage is lost, fill out a PIR form before leaving the customs area; VBT representatives are not allowed into the customs area. Please note: Make sure that your VBT luggage tags are attached to your bags. This helps the representative identify you.

After exiting customs, enter the arrival hall and look for your VBT representative or driver, who will be holding a VBT sign. Your representative will welcome you to France and arrange for your transfer via taxi or van (approximately 40 minutes, depending on traffic) to your Lyon hotel. Important: If you are delayed in meeting your VBT representative at the Lyon Airport, please call 06 68 32 22 05 from within France. Outside of France, call +33 6 68 32 22 05.

VBT provides City Information that includes information and recommendations for what to see and do in Lyon. VBT has included a one-day transportation pass for the day you are in Lyon. Passes are available upon check-in at hotel reception. Use the rest of the day to relax. Or begin exploring Lyon, following your whims and desires using the city’s network of buses and trams and the subway. Please note that hotel check-in is 2:00 p.m., but the hotel will try to have rooms available earlier if possible.

Hotel: Hotel Charlemagne

DAY 3: Bicycle Vacation begins / Transfer to hotel via Cluny / Warm-up ride

VBT Bicycle Vacation Only guests: Meet one of your Trip Leaders in the lobby of the Hotel Charlemagne at 9:00 a.m. (23 Cours Charlemagne, Lyon 69002, telephone +33 4 7277 7000). He or she will be wearing VBT staff garments. If your arrival in Lyon is scheduled later than 9:00 a.m. or if you are delayed, you must take a taxi or train to the hotel in Tournus at your own expense (Hotel Le Rempart, 2 Avenue Gambetta, Tournus 71700, telephone +33 3 85511056). Taxi cost is approximately €200 (travel time is approximately 1 hour to the first hotel); train cost is approximately €30 (travel time approximately 1 hour, 10 minutes). If you have taken the train, depart the train station and take a right; you will see the hotel on the opposite side of the road about 300 yards away. If you experience any travel delays or changes to your schedule, please contact the first hotel to advise the staff, and they will inform your VBT Trip Leaders.

VBT Air Package and Pre-Trip Extension guests: Meet one of your VBT Trip Leaders in the hotel lobby at 9:00 a.m. You will transfer by bus via Cluny to the first hotel in Tournus.

Cluny, the former abbey and home of the Pope around AD 910, was larger than St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome in its heyday. It was later dynamited, and its richly carved stones were sold by an unscrupulous group that included a local priest. You’ll stroll along the ancient stone streets of Cluny with a local guide. VBT has timed your visit to fall on a market day, so you’ll have the opportunity to buy some local specialties for lunch on your own.

Arrive at your Tournus hotel, meet your second Trip Leader, and have free time to settle in before a safety and bike-fitting session and brief warm up ride through the countryside and on a bike path along the River Saône.

After some time to freshen up, meet for a welcome cocktail reception and dinner at the hotel in its Michelin one-starred restaurant.

Hotel: Hotel Le Rempart
Meals: B (included for Air Package guests only), D
Daily Options: 4.4 miles (7 km)

DAY 4: Chardonnay loop

This morning’s ride takes you on the flat Voie Bleue bike path along the tranquil banks of the Saône. Keep your eyes open for the varied birdlife along your route.

Leaving the river, you’ll enter rolling wine country, where the dry white wine of the Chardonnay grape is produced. Roll into the wine village of Viré, home to a recent success story in France’s wine world. In the latter part of the 20th century, the villages of Viré and Clessé realized that they had a high-quality wine that could rival the older appellation of Pouilly-Fuissé, so they applied for a separate status. This was finally granted in 1999 and the Viré-Clessé appellation emerged.

Continue cycling to a small village with a name that is linked worldwide to dry white wine: Chardonnay. The village recently celebrated its thousandth anniversary. Its name comes from cardonnacum or the “place full of thistles.” Chardonnay grapes most likely originated here and were then shared and distributed throughout France by monks. The earliest recorded reference to Chardonnay occurs in 1330. It was around this time that Cistercian monks built stone walls around their Clos de Vougeot vineyard exclusively planted to Chardonnay grapes. The village of stone houses grew up around the lavoir, a stream-fed wash-house, and several domaines (wine producers). You’ll stop in this charming spot for lunch at local restaurant.

After lunch, continue through the peaceful rural countryside before rejoining the Voie Bleue bike path along the river and following it back into Tournus.

Tonight, take a short walk to a nearby wine purveyor for an introduction and tasting of the incredible depth of Burgundy’s wines. Afterward, you are free to enjoy dinner on your own in one of the local restaurants, or you may choose to eat in the hotel’s renowned bistro.

Hotel: Hotel Le Rempart
Meals: B, L
Daily Options:  12.1, 18.1, or 25.7 miles (19.6, 29.2, or 41.4 km)

DAY 5: Cycle through the Côte de Beaune

This morning, hop on a shuttle to your starting point. Get underway with a brief reel through the vineyards of the Côte Chalonaise. At Chalon sur Saône, pedal along the Voie Verte bike path, following the Canal du Centre to Santenay. Afterward, continue on small roads through the world-famous vineyards of the Côte de Beaune, passing renowned villages such as Puligny Montrachet, Meursault and Pommard—considered by many oenophiles the mecca of Chardonnay production.

This afternoon, there’ll be time for lunch on your own before you continue your ride into Beaune, the elegant town that is imbued in wine traditions, and your next accommodation. After time to relax, walk through its charming pedestrian center for dinner in a Michelin “three-fork” restaurant – not as high as a “star” but indicating a rigorous approval!

Hotel: Hotel Le Cep
Meals: B, D
Daily Options: 15.2 or 29.1 miles (24.5 or 46.9 km)

DAY 6: Home-hosted lunch

After an elaborate breakfast (including wine and cheese, of course, for those who are so inclined), cycle out of wine country and head into the countryside on narrow, quiet roads to the small hamlet of Cussigny. As lunch nears, your small group is invited into the summer home of a local family in a historic locale. Here, enjoy a game of pétanque before a picnic prepared by your Trip Leaders. Conclude this pleasant visit with homemade dessert and coffee or tea with your generous hosts.

Afterward, ride back to Beaune through forests, villages and—depending on the time of year—sunflower or canola fields. On return to your hotel, relax for a while, then walk into town to enjoy dinner on your own in one of the fine restaurants.

Hotel: Hotel Le Cep
Meals: B, L
Daily Options: 21.9 or 33.4 miles (35.3 or 53.9 km)

DAY 7: Hospices de Beaune / Routes des Grands Crus / Dijon

After breakfast, take a 5-minute walk to the 15th-century Hospices de Beaune (also known as the Hotel Dieu), the epicenter of Beaune. This perfectly preserved historic treasure was the recipient of Europe’s earliest philanthropic endeavors and today is still entirely financed by private donations. It has never been closed a single day in more than 500 years! This authentic masterpiece of flamboyant Gothic art and architecture is Burgundy’s single most-visited site; you will understand why after setting foot inside the stunning courtyard. Visit the Hospice, then set out on your bike path toward Dijon, the beautiful capital of Burgundy.

Your cycle route today takes you through some of the most famous vineyards in the world. You’ll wind your way to Nuits St George, the region where famed Côte de Nuits red wines are produced. Here, stop to choose from different lunch options on your own before cycling along the narrow lanes used as access routes by local vineyard workers. In this area, monks toiled for centuries making wine for religious services. Historians now point out they likely kept the very best wine for themselves. It is thought that the very first red wines in the world were made here—and that monks macerated the grape skins so the typical rosé wine would more closely resemble the blood of Christ.

The World Heritage Committee approved the entire stretch of vineyards from Beaune to Dijon in July 2015 on its World Heritage List. Along the Route des Grands Crus, you may wish to stop and explore old and charming villages such as Vosne-Romanée and Gevrey-Chambertin before continuing all the way to the outskirts of Dijon. As you enter the capital of Burgundy, marvel at the astonishingly well-preserved city center. Dijon, often called “Sleeping Beauty,” is third in France for its number of protected historic buildings, with more than 100 acres of the city center protected. This capital of the former ducal kingdom has attracted musicians, artists and writers for centuries.

After checking into your hotel, set out on a walking tour with your Trip Leaders. This evening, venture out on your own to wander the medieval cobbled streets and find just the right place to enjoy an apero (aperitif) and dinner on your own.

Hotel: Grand Hotel de la Cloche
Meals: B
Daily Options: 12.9, 26.6, or 30.1 miles (20.9, 42.9, or 48.6 km)

DAY 8: Dijon / Burgundian canal / Valley de L'Ouche

After breakfast, cycle directly from the hotel to the Route des Jardins, Burgundy’s beautiful Garden Route, and the pleasant byway along the Canal de Bourgogne to Pont de Pany.

A short option loops back to Dijon; longer options head into the Valley de L’Ouche along the winding River L’Ouche and the canal. The bucolic scenery here has made this route a favorite of every traveler in France for its lush, peaceful and unspoiled countryside—it’s the pastoral side of France at its most authentic.

Back in Dijon, you might browse the many fine museums specializing in everything from fine arts and sacred art to natural history and daily Burgundian life. Each is free and housed in a historic building.

Tonight, finish your week of cycling stroll through Dijon’s pedestrian streets to a farewell dinner in one of Dijon’s fine gourmet restaurants in a 15th century building.

Hotel: Grand Hotel de la Cloche
Meals: B, D
Daily Options: 14, 27.2, or 35.1 miles (22.4, 43.8, or 56.6 km)

DAY 9: Transfer to Dijon railway station / VBT Bicycle Vacation ends

VBT Bicycle Vacation Only guests: Your tour ends after breakfast. It is an easy 5-minute walk to the Dijon train station if you wish to take a train to the airport or your next destination.

VBT Air Package guests: After breakfast, walk to Dijon train station (your luggage will be taken in the van) and continue by high-speed train to Paris. Upon arrival, you will be met by a VBT representative and transferred to your centrally located hotel.

VBT provides you with City Information and recommendations for what to see and do in Paris. Use the rest of the day to relax or to begin exploring Paris.

Hotel:  Hotel Rochester
Meals: B

DAY 10: Depart for home

After breakfast*, transfer to the Paris Charles De Gaulle airport for your return flight**. Please ensure you are ready in the hotel reception area at the designated time.

*Please note: For guests with early-morning departures, breakfast at the hotel may not be available. Please check with the front desk to verify the times that breakfast is served.

**VBT recommends that you check your transfer time in your “Transfer Reminder.” The transfer is prearranged by VBT and is prepaid. VBT transfer times and departure points are finalized in advance and cannot be modified for individual guests. If you extend your stay beyond the scheduled program dates, return transportation to the airport will be at your own expense.

Meals: B

Burgundy: The Wine Route Map

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Accommodations

Hotel Le Cep

It won’t take long to see that Beaune’s Hotel Le Cep, tucked into the heart of the medieval city, was made for royalty. This was Louis XIV’s favorite accommodation when he visited Burgundy, and it’s sure to be yours, too. This unique lodging was established as a private home in the 16th century. Its grounds include buildings built as early as the 14th century, and its “newest” structures date to the 18th century. The 1547 courtyard is overlooked by Italianate galleries and two lovely towers. You’ll savor the local flavor in the hotel’s renowned restaurant, whose wine list boasts 50 regional wines. The Hotel Le Cep is one of the “Small Luxury Hotels of the World” and was included in the 500 best hotels list from Travel + Leisure for 2013, demonstrating its excellence in quality. A/C is available.
Free WiFi Included

Hotel le Rempart

Past and present converge at the Hotel Le Rempart, a 4-star, family-run establishment built on medieval ramparts and set on the site of a 15th-century guardhouse. Inside, find an elegant, modern ambiance and a focus on the cuisine for which Burgundy is famous. In the restaurant, enjoy a creative menu based on fresh local produce, or dine in the bistro, whose menu is also served on the delightful Romanesque patio in warm weather. A/C is available.
Free WiFi Included

Hotel Charlemagne

The Hotel Charlemagne is located at the confluence of the Rhône and the Saône rivers, on an island just south of Lyon’s historic center but still within walking distance of all the major sites. Enjoy delicious cuisine in the hotel’s restaurant, lounge and snack bar. A/C is available.
Free WiFi Included

Grand Hotel de la Cloche

For nearly 600 years, the Grande Hotel de la Cloche has been welcoming visitors to the heart of Burgundy. Today, the hotel is set in a centrally located, 19th-century heritage building near the Old Town and a number of attractions, including museums and the Ducal Palace. Savor delicious gourmet French and international cuisine at the hotel’s two restaurants, and take advantage of the fitness center. A golf course is also available nearby. A/C is available.
Free WiFi Included
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