Bike Trips in Northern Burgundy

Northern Burgundy Bike Trips

On this page, you will find...

If you would like to see a map of our different French routes, it is here.
And, for a comparison of our Northern Burgundy route with our other French trips, see here.

The crisp slate of Chablis, chardonnay with attitude; Auxerre’s cathedral and Vézelay’s basilica, the Nivernais canal tow paths; Epoisses’ cheese, whose perfume you recognize in the pastures of wild flowers....  And glorious biking on country lanes, which you share with much odd-looking grape-oriented farm machinery, but very few cars.

This is the part of Burgundy that the French themselves love most.  Tiny stone villages, flower-bedecked canal locks, and vineyards which produce wonderful wines, a third the price of their better-known cousins just to the east.  Goat cheese farms, and the wild boar of the Morvan plateau.

Loop rides on three separate days let you vary your riding distances to suit your tastes.  All-in-all, a wonderful idyll in pastoral France!


The following trips visit Northern Burgundy:

Tour de France
(3 weeks)
Visits Northern Burgundy and two other French regions

Burgundy Biking (2 weeks)
Follows both of our Burgundy routes, north and south

Two-Week France Trips
Couples another French region with this one

France & Italy (2 weeks)
Visits Northern Burgundy and the Italian Lake District

Chardonnay Burgundy
follows this itinerary exclusively
Departure dates and prices are in the “Facts & Figures” table, below.

Short Trips (1 - 3 days)
Subscribe to individual days of our Northern Burgundy route

Our Cycle Trips

Overview Map
of the places we stage trips


Departure Calendar
of our scheduled trips


Trips by Length / Title


 
 
 
 
 
or...
Short Trips from Paris
 

What's Included
...
...in the Trip Cost


Additional Services...
...which you can add to your trip.


Other Trips We Offer

 
Day-by-Day Itinerary:   Northern Burgundy
Day of the Week
Description
Typical distances, in km
Sunday
AUXERRE, the NIVERNAIS CANAL
If you have subscribed to our Access Package, you will generally meet us in Paris for the trip to Burgundy.  Saddle the bikes, head for the station, and train through the Seine valley to Laroche-Migennes.  The trip assembles in Laroche, and it is also possible to arrive from the southeast, via Dijon. 

From Laroche, a midday ride on country lanes brings us to the cathedral city of Auxerre. 
Auxerre is a destination later in the trip, and you won’t have much time for it today (which is fine, because it will be closed).  But lunch down by the river port is still an attractive option.

We now join the tow paths of the Nivernais canal, and pedal along the canal towards Vermenton.  The locks are covered with flowers; the houseboats with overweight tourists.  Our destination, and home for the next three nights, is at the confluence of the Cure and the Yonne rivers.

Half Baggage
40 k
Monday
The YONNE VALLEY, CLAMECY
Riverside riding in the Yonne valley.  Our nominal goal is Clamecy, an old logging center for the Morvan plateau.  The town is a well-preserved haven for centuries-old buildings, and has a bizarre 500-year history as the home-away-from-home for the bishops of Bethleham (yes, that Bethleham).

But the real interest is in the beautiful ride.  Mailly-le-Château offers views of the valley from the ramparts of the ruined chateau.  Châtel-Censoir is a picturesque village on the banks of the river.  Coulanges has a mini-golf course to give you a bit of upper body work.  And the whole ride takes place on country lanes which line the river, under the branches of willows and chestnut trees.

Return via the plateau, on roads which see so few vehicles that you wonder why they could possibly have been built.

Half Baggage
35 - 70 k
Tuesday
VINEYARDS of CHABLIS and IRANCY
Today we strike out for one of the world’s greatest wine towns, Chablis.  The wine produced here is not the chablis of Ernest and Julio fame.  Rather, it is one of the world’s greatest chardonnays, a flinty elixir which marvelously accompanies any good fish, the locally produced Epoisses cheese, or a hot day on the bike.  Wine tasting, vineyard visits, maybe a good lunch and a dip in the town’s swimming hole....

Return via Auxerre, now open for business.  Or perhaps via Irancy, home to an undiscovered red Burgundy wine, one of the best values in the appellation.   One more tasting?  Hic!

Half Baggage
45 - 65 k
Wednesday

VÉZELAY
A beautiful riding day, along water courses and on country lanes lined with hedgerows.  First stop is the Grottes d'Arcy.  Underground lakes, vast halls filled with limestone formations, and also dozens of paleolithic cave paintings, awe-inspiring testimonies by our ancestors.

In the afternoon, leave the river, and head to the Vézelay basilica, one of France’s best-preserved Romanesque structures of its size, and starting point of centuries’ worth of pilgrimages to Santiago de Compostela. 

Finally,
past the lovely water mills of the Cousin Valley, and to Avallon.  Walk the 16th century ramparts, and pour boiling oil on your fellow riders struggling up the hill behind you.  You’ll all have a hearty laugh over it at dinner, before they poison your soup. 

55 k
Thursday
The CÔTE CHALONAISE
A beautiful ride through the hills of the Côte Chalonaise, but also including 45 flat k on a rail-to-trail bike path.  The best!  Givry is the most prestigious wine town along the way, Buxy is the prettiest lunch stop, swimming holes abound, and Cormatin has a castle out of a fairy tale.  The silliest game of the day is chasing each other through it’s maze.

With Autun, Cluny was long the center of medieval spirituality, but our favorite thing about the town is that the central tower is called the Tour des Fromages — Tower of Cheeses.  More things should be named after cheese.
Variable k
Friday
ÉPOISSES, FONTENAY ABBEY
Start the morning with a stroll around the fortified town.  Old houses, pretty gardens....  Then it’s off across the Morvan.  Geographically, you are not far from the scenes of your first riding days.  But what a difference!  Tiny stone villages huddled in hollows, expansive vistas over fields of wheat and sunflowers, copses of trees... and not much else.

You can visit a cheese dairy in the town of Epoisses, and buy the eponimous curd to go with your picnic Chablis.

If you reach Montbard in time, consider tacking on a visit to Fontenay Abbey, on the edge of town.  With buildings dating from the 1100`s to present, it provides a capsule of Burgundian architectural styles, and offers a history of their progression.

Half Baggage
60 k
Saturday
Mont AUXOIS, across a CONTINENTAL DIVIDE
Head out along a bucolic canal, and then pick up your heart rate by riding up either or both of two (optional) mountains.  Mont Auxois was the site of Vercingétorix’s last stand:  Caesar besieged and captured the famous Gaul here, thus sealing the Roman domination of what became France.  The second has a seminary and a candy factory on top of it.  So there is something for everyone.

We next follow a pastoral valley though a sequence of sleepy villages.  Far from the Burgundy known to tourists, this is a place where cows are hearded home in the evenings, where old stone villages quietly crumble, and where foreigners on bicycles are gawked at, if you can find anyone to gawk.

Finally, up a monster hill, and over one of France’s continental divides, separating the English Channel basin from the Mediterranean basin.  Then down the other side to the Burgundian capital.  Dramatic views and imposing cliffs line our road as we spiral down to the valley floor. Stop for a swim in Lac Kir on the way into town.

Half Baggage

Saturday night is spent in Dijon by passengers travelling on with us, and also as part of the the trip Access Package.
90 k
Sunday
TRAVEL DAY (through trips, Access Package)
If you are continuing your travels with us, get your next itinerary out of your sock bag.... Trains are available in all directions for those whose cycling adventures are drawing to a close.

Chardonnay Burgundy — Facts & Figures
2015 Dates
Baggage Services Offered**
(optional)
Difficulty of the Ride

July 5 - 11

$1,850 US
$2,095 C
1,350€

Daily, Half

Anything, Easy to Difficult

Three riding days are “loops,” out and back to the same starting point.  They can easily be shortened or lengthened to suit your tastes, or even your mood on the morning of the ride. 

The remainder are well-supported.  And you can make any of them long and hilly, if that is what you are looking for....

In addition, a special “Burgundy Biking” trip, combining the first half of this route with the first half of our Southern Burgundy route, will operate August 9 - 15.  Though the trip is designated “Family-Friendly,” adult tables will be available at dinner, more challenging rides will be on offer, and people who think of themselves as adults are welcome to join the trip without children.  Details are here.
* Prices in $ and € do not include precisely the same things.   Click here for details.

Prices of Optional Extras (links lead to explanations)
Currency
$ prices include
the bike.
See here for information on bringing your own.
** At least 4 riders must subscribe to a given baggage service for it to operate.  The services listed are those currently offered on the departure in question.  Services which appear in bold already have at least 3 subscribers (so, one more would ensure their operation).
Daily
Half
$US
$280
$170
$330
$C
$320
$194
$370
€uros
220€
134€
260€
120€

Reaching & Leaving Your Trip:  General Information on Access Packages
Specific information on reaching your trip’s start in... Laroche
Specific information on departing from your trip’s end... Dijon
markmorrisrefund