Burgundy Canals Bike Tour
Seven nights; seven days. Easy cycling on the paved and unpaved towpaths of the Canal du Bourgogne, converted railbeds, and quiet roads. Experience the villages, vineyards, and farmlands of Burgundy on this flat and easy bike tour.
“Loved the differences in lodgings, and the variety of routes. Also enjoyed stopping in the various towns for a break and coffee or lunch." - Lisa J.
"This was the very best vacation of our lives.” - Laurie J. & Josh B.
Start: Montbard train station, 13:00, day one. Frequent trains available from Paris Bercy station. Please contact us to arrange alternate plans, if necessary.
Finish: Tournus train station, ~10:00, day eight. A 20-minute local train takes you to Macon, from where the high-speed train goes to Paris and other European centres. Recommended hotel in Macon: Chateau de Pizay, www.chateau-pizay.com.
Arrival and the UNESCO site of Abbaie De Fontenay ~30km
Train connections from Paris to Montbard are frequent, usually taking about 2 ½ hours. Following an early afternoon meeting in Montbard you will become acquainted with your bikes and route. From Montbard it’s a short ride to the UNESCO site of Abbaie de Fontenay – founded in 1118, it is one of Europe’s oldest and best preserved Cistercian abbeys. Spend some time exploring the charming Abbaie before continuing the journey to your nearby inn. The ride today is mostly flat, except for a short climb as you enter the hilltop town where you’ll spend the next two nights. D (Meal inclusions shown for guided trips. Self-guided trips include breakfast only.)
Maison du Tisserand de L’Abbaye,or
Le Logis de L'Ozerain; Flavigny-sur-Ozerain, or
Hotel de la Cote d’Or, or
Hostellerie d’Aussois; Semur-en-Auxois
Loop ride to Semur en Auxois ~40km
Today’s loop ride takes you to the medieval town of Semur-en-Auxois where you can explore the historic core. Visit the 13th century gothic-style church, and walk along the city's ramparts for beautiful vistas of the surrounding countryside. Follow quiet lanes back to Flavigny-sur-Ozerain to choose between excellent dining options. BL
Flavigny-sur-Ozerain to Saint Sabine ~45km
Continue following the Burgundy canal, through numerous small villages. Leave the canal to visit the former home of American artist Douglas Gorsline in Bussy le Grand. His work is on display. Later, visit the Abbey at Flavigny and its monks' masterful textile creations at the nearby Maison des Arts Textiles & du Design. View the acclaimed contemporary art collection at the beautifully restored Chatéau d'Eguilly, and decide whether to take a diversion to Château de Commarin before enjoying a marvellous 3.3km canal tunnel enroute to your small chateau hotel. BLD
Chateau Sainte Sabine, Saint Sabine
Saint Sabine to Dijon ~50km
After a morning visit to Chateau de Chateauneuf-en-Auxois overlooking the Bourgogne valley, ride through the valley to Dijon, enjoying majestic views of the rolling hills without ever having to pedal over them. You can also visit the chateaux at Malain and Lantenay along today's ride. Arrive in Dijon in time to take in the cathedral Notre-dame-du-Dijon and the expansive Ducal Palace. Once the seat of the Burgundy Dukes, and still the most important city in Burgundy, Dijon offers shopping, wine tasting, and many local attractions. BL
Hotel Philippe Le Bon, or
Hotel du Palais; Dijon
Dijon to Beaune ~12km. Optional extra up to 60km
Transfer or ride to Beaune, one of France’s prettiest towns, home of the stunning "Hospices de Beaune" and its intricate tile roofs. It is best to allow plenty of time to visit and shop in Beaune before finishing the ride to your hotel in nearby Puligny-Montrachet, known for producing perhaps the most famous white wines in the world. BD
Hotel La Chouette, or
Maison d'Olivier Leflaive Hotel; Puligny-Montrachet
Beaune to Tournus ~51km with a 20 min van transfer
Begin on the Canal du Centre’s bicycle towpath as far as Chalon-sur-Saône, then follow the “Voie Verte,” a paved railbed through the beautiful landscapes of South Burgundy. The route takes you through the charming little wine town of Givry, skirting the foot of the Côte Chalonnaise vineyards to the highly evocative former railway station of Saint-Gengoux-le-National. Finish at the Chateau de Cormatin and its gardens, unique in France for its exceptionally well-preserved interiors from the reign of Louis XIII (1628). Peruse the fascinating cycling museum found here before a short transfer to your hotel at Tournus. BLD
Hotel Greuze, or
Hotel Le Rempart, Tournus
Loop ride through southern Burgundy ~70km
Transfer from Tournus to begin cycling at the Chateau de Cormatin again. From there, travel through a cyclist-only tunnel to Cluny and visit the ancient Romanesque Benedictine abbey, once perhaps the largest church in Christendom, founded in 910. Ride downhill to Mâcon, a picturesque city on the Saone River, with its famous “Maison de Bois." Finally, ride the Voie Bleu bike path (mixed paved and unpaved) along the banks of the Saone back to Tournus. Your guides will say farewell tonight. BL
It’s a two-minute walk to a 20-minute, once-hourly train trip to Macon, where the TGV train station has direct connections to Paris. Relax over breakfast first. B
Note about the route:
Easy rides (45-70km) following quiet roads, canal towpaths, and dedicated bikeways, both paved and unpaved. There are some hilly sections to approach off-canal inns; transfers are available.
Cycling in Burgundy, with its highly developed bicycle infrastructure, is one of the great pleasures of Europe. You will ride along towpaths next to the canals Bourgogne and Central, built between 1784 and 1843 for improved transportation of firewood, farm bounty, and an abundance of wine, to Paris. The lush, viable soil of Burgundy, on the fringe of the Loire River Valley, is flush with farms and wineries, producing some of the world's most highly reputed Pinot Noires and Chardonnays. It is also home to a unique architectural style of clear Roman influence.
Starting in Montbard, an area pegged as “convenient” by Julius Caesar, you will travel eastward along the Burgundy Canal all the way into Dijon. From there you will continue to the central Burgundy town of Beaune, and the picturesque vineyard region along the Saone River. Enjoy riding traffic-free for most of the route, on towpaths and railbeds. Eight days of tranquil, pastoral cycling, elegant lodgings, and fine dining will demonstrate why this is such a beloved place for cycling comfort.
Maps & Elevations
"We stayed in Paris for a night, then went to Lyon, which we really liked - beautiful cobbled streets (no cars) with about 100 cafes! And Roman ruins - an amphitheater with concerts, but you need tickets in advance." - Lisa J.
Paris is a city you'll want to visit again and again. Consider a small group guided bicycle day trip with Bike Tours in Paris.
Montbard train station, 13:00, day one. Frequent trains available from Paris Bercy station. Please contact us to arrange alternate plans, if necessary.
Tournus train station, ~10:00, day eight. A 20-minute local train takes you to Macon, from where the high-speed train goes to Paris and other European centres. Recommended hotel in Macon: Chateau de Pizay, www.chateau-pizay.com
All details and pricing are subject to change without notice.
Custom or Private Tours
Want to go but on different dates?
Want to make a change to the itinerary?
We can adapt for you!
Here are some terms:
Bring your friends. We will run most of these trips for you whenever you want, at the advertised price for a group of four or more on a guided trip, or two if it's self-guided! We reserve the right to make changes if the original inns, etc. are already booked.
If you cannot find others, let us advertise the trip for you! Give us a commitment as far in advance as you can. As long as we have the minimum number of guests at the start, the price will be as advertised. The catch is that if it is just two of you and you want a guided trip, you must be willing to pay a 20% premium in the event that others do not join you. The bright side is that, once reserved, you can count on the trip, whether it remains private or becomes a larger group.
Ask for changes to the itinerary.
We are very flexible, and given enough time, can create a new itinerary to match your desires.