Easy
Difficulty level
Cycling
Activity (Bike)
7 Night, 8 Day
Duration

France: Burgundy Canals Bike

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.



WHY THIS TRIP?

  • Visit Normandy D-Day Beaches and Memorials
  • The beautifully restored Chatéau d’Eguilly
  • The UNESCO site of Abbaye de Fontenay
  • The ancient fortified town on Dinan

 

ROUTE EXPECTATIONS:

The easiest routes we offer, these are generally flat and cover relatively relaxed distances. You will be comfortable riding a hybrid bike, walking in sneakers, or paddling a light kayak, and will normally have time to take many photos and enjoy extended lunches.


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.


Daily Distance:

  • DAY 1: Introductions & ~40 km
  • DAY 2: ~38 km
  • DAY 3: ~54 km
  • DAY 4: ~54 km
  • DAY 5: ~71 km
  • DAY 6: ~63 km
  • DAY 7: ~70 km
  • DAY 8: Farewells

Elevation Profile:

(Click image to enlarge)

 

Not sure about difficulties, and support level? Check out our What to Expect page!

 

Start: Montbard train station, 13:00, day one. Frequent trains available from Paris Bercy station.

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.

Please contact us to arrange alternate plans, if necessary.

1

Arrival and the UNESCO site of Abbaye De Fontenay ~39km

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 Abbaye de Fontenay – founded in 1118, it is one of Europe’s oldest and best preserved Cistercian abbeys. Spend some time exploring the charming Abbaye 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

2

Loop ride to Semur en Auxois ~38km

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 and your inn. BL

Same lodging

3

Flavigny-sur-Ozerain to Saint Sabine ~54km

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

Highlight: “Sitting on the terrace at Chateau Ste. Sabine watching deer on the hill with Chateauneuf on the horizon, just waiting for the knights to ride out of the forest!.” – Anne J.

4

Saint Sabine to Dijon ~54km

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

5

Dijon to Beaune ~71km.

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

6

Beaune to Tournus ~63km 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 Rampart, Tournus

7

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

Same lodging

7

Farewells

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

All details and pricing are subject to change without notice.


WHAT’S INCLUDED IN THE COST OF YOUR TRIP?

Not sure about difficulties, and support level? Check out our What to Expect page!

Guided: C 4895 (per person, double occupancy)

Includes 8 days, 7 nights, 7 breakfasts, 5 picnics, 4 dinners, route instructions, maps, some entry fees, luggage handling, van and guide support, taxes

Does not include bike rentals & single supplement charges (pricing can be found in next booking step), airfare to/from tour, and guide(s) gratuities.


Self-Guided: C 4295 (per person, double occupancy)

Includes 8 days, 7 nights, 7 breakfasts, route instructions, maps, inn to inn luggage transfers, on-call emergency support, taxes

Does not include bike rentals & single supplement charges (pricing can be found in next booking step), airfare to/from tour, and guide(s) gratuities.


All details and pricing are subject to change without notice.


2022 Guided dates:

  • May 15-21
  • Aug 21-27
  • Sep 11-17

2023 Guided dates:

  • May 14-20
  • Aug 20-26
  • Sep 10-16

Self-Guided available any dates, except for those listed above. New dates are also welcomed for guided or private departures.

Interested in custom or private departures?


Please see above for accurate pricing and inclusions, unless we have proposed a customized trip for you and those details are provided in your custom proposal.

1. Choose an advertised date to join a small group, or see our Join a Group page to see where groups are already forming.

2. Pick your own dates. We will confirm quickly, and are happy to talk with you as you make your choice. If you would like a private guided date, price remains the same as advertised if you have at least six. If you prefer self-guided, we usually only require two participants to initiate a new date at the advertised price, and can sometimes reduce prices for you if you have four or more.

 
PLEASE NOTE: Trip Cancellation Insurance is highly recommended. Please ask us for a no-obligation quote from our insurance providers: Century Insurance, or CSA Travel Protection.

More Reading:


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.