Cycling in Burgundy: Discover France’s Picturesque Vineyards and Villages on Two Wheels (2024)
Nestled in the heart of France, Burgundy, a region renowned for its fine wines and rich history, also boasts some of the most picturesque biking trails in Europe. A cyclist’s paradise, it offers a unique blend of scenic vistas, charming villages, and tranquil pathways winding through vineyards and alongside canals. This article takes you on a journey through the scenic routes of Burgundy, revealing why it’s a must-visit destination for every cycling enthusiast.
Unveiling the Beauty of Burgundy’s Landscape
Burgundy’s landscape is a tapestry of rolling hills, verdant vineyards, and medieval towns. The region’s diverse terrain provides cyclists with an array of routes, each offering its own unique experience. Whether you’re a seasoned cyclist or a casual rider, Burgundy’s well-maintained trails cater to all levels of experience.
The Routes: A Journey for the Senses
- The Burgundy Canal Route: This serene route runs parallel to the Burgundy Canal, offering a flat and leisurely ride perfect for beginners or families. As you pedal along, you’ll pass iconic lock houses, historic sites, and have the opportunity to stop at local cafes and bistros for a taste of authentic Burgundy cuisine.
- The Vineyard Trails: For wine enthusiasts, the vineyard trails are a dream come true. These paths meander through some of the most prestigious wine-growing areas, including the Côte de Nuits and Côte de Beaune. Along the way, cyclists can visit renowned wineries for tastings and learn about the region’s winemaking heritage.
- Voie Verte Routes: These ‘green routes’ are dedicated cycling paths that take you through the heart of rural Burgundy. The Voie Verte along the Saône river is particularly popular, known for its scenic beauty and tranquil environment.
- The Route des Grands Crus: This 60-kilometer stretch in the Côte d’Or region is a must for wine lovers, pedaling past legendary vineyards like Romanée-Conti and Clos Vougeot.
- The Canal du Nivernais: This picturesque canal path offers a gentle ride through lush countryside, punctuated by charming villages and historic locks.
- The VéloRoute du Sud Bourgogne: This challenging route traverses the Morvan hills, rewarding riders with panoramic views and hidden waterfalls.
- The Côte Chalonnaise: For a family-friendly option, explore the rolling hills and vineyards around Chagny, stopping for picnics in charming villages.
The Charm of Burgundian Towns and Villages
Burgundy’s cycling routes not only offer natural beauty but also lead to picturesque towns and villages. Beaune, the wine capital of Burgundy, is a must-visit with its famous Hospices de Beaune and vibrant market. Dijon, the region’s capital, offers a rich blend of history and culture, with numerous museums and a medieval city center that’s a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Cycling Amenities and Accommodations
The region is well-equipped for cyclists, with numerous bike rental shops, repair stations, and accommodation options catering to biking enthusiasts. From luxury hotels to cozy bed and breakfasts, many establishments offer special amenities for cyclists such as secure bike storage and route maps.
Beyond the Routes: A Feast for the Senses:
Burgundy is not just about cycling; it’s about savoring the good life. Indulge in:
- Wine Tastings: Visit local wineries and sample the region’s famous Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays. Many wineries offer tours and tastings specifically for cyclists.
- Gastronomic Delights: From Michelin-starred restaurants to rustic village bistros, Burgundy’s culinary scene is a feast for the senses. Sample regional specialties like coq au vin and boeuf bourguignon.
- Cultural Gems: Explore medieval towns like Beaune and Vézelay, marvel at the Abbaye de Cluny, or visit the Château de Chantilly.
Planning Your Cycling Adventure:
- Choose your season:Spring and autumn offer pleasant temperatures and fewer crowds.Summer can be hot and hilly,while winter can be quite cold.
- Rent a bike or bring your own:Many bike rental shops cater to tourists,offering various types of bikes and accessories.
- Find the right route:Research routes based on your skill level,interests,and desired duration.
- Book your accommodation:Cycling-friendly hotels and gîtes are available throughout the region.
- Pack smart:Bring essentials like sunscreen,water,a rain jacket,and a repair kit.
- Gear Up: Ensure you have a good-quality bike, helmet, and appropriate clothing. Considering Burgundy’s varied terrain, a hybrid bike is often a good choice.
- Stay Hydrated and Nourished: Carry enough water and snacks. Burgundy’s rural routes have fewer shops, so it’s crucial to stay well-hydrated and energized.
- Respect the Environment: Stay on marked paths, dispose of trash properly, and respect the natural and cultural sites you visit.
- Download cycling apps like Strava or Komoot to navigate routes and track your progress.
- Learn some basic French phrases to enhance your interaction with locals.
- Respect the environment and leave no trace behind.
Biking through Burgundy offers an immersive way to experience the region’s natural beauty, cultural richness, and culinary delights. It’s a journey that combines physical activity with sensory pleasures – a true cyclist’s paradise. So, grab your bike and embark on a memorable adventure through the scenic routes of Burgundy, where every turn brings a new discovery and every hilltop a new breathtaking view.