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Biking Vacation Burgundy: The Wine Route ​

Activity Level: Easy / Moderate  |  Daily Mileage: 16 – 35 mi  |  Daily Biking: 2 1/2 – 4 1/2 hr
Air package plus
10 days from only
$4245
Price includes roundtrip airfare.
Land only
7 days from only
$3145
Pre-trip Extension:
Lyon · 2 nights $245

Post-trip Extension:
Paris · 2 nights $345
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Detailed Itinerary

Day 1 - Depart U.S. / Fly to Lyon

Depart the U.S. for France. The particulars of your arrival overseas 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 upon 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 you with City Information in your Final Travel Booklet that includes information and recommendations of what to see and do in Lyon. VBT has included a one-day transportation pass for the day you are in Lyon. The whole city is yours from dawn to dusk to come and go as you please on the city's network of buses, trams and subway. You will receive your individual passes upon check-in at hotel reception. Use the rest of the day to relax or to begin exploring the city. Please note that hotel check in is at 2:00 pm, but the hotel will try to have rooms available earlier if possible.

Day 3 - All guests meet in Lyon / Transfer to hotel via Cluny / Warm-up ride

VBT No-Air Package guests: Meet one of your Trip Leaders in the lobby of the Hotel Charlemagne at 9:00 am. They will be wearing VBT staff garments. If your arrival in Lyon is scheduled later than 9:00 am or if you are delayed, you must take a taxi or train to the hotel in Tournus at your own expense. Taxi cost is approximately €200 (travel time is approximately 1 hour to the first hotel); train cost is approximately €25 (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 your VBT Trip Leader in the hotel lobby at 9:00 am. We 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. It was later dynamited and its richly carved stones were sold by an unscrupulous lot that included a local priest! We stroll along the ancient stone streets of Cluny with our local guide. We've timed our 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 your Trip Leaders offer a safety and bike-fitting session. We'll warm up with a brief ride on a new bike path along the River Saone.

After the ride and some time to freshen up, meet for a welcome cocktail reception and dinner at the hotel.

Day 4 - Tournus loops

We cycle flat lands along the tranquil banks of the Saone, through quiet villages and lovely farms, fields and ponds. We stop for lunch in the small town of Sennecey Le Grand. Here, you may wish to visit the SAS Museum, dedicated to the Special Air Service soldiers who risked their lives by going behind enemy lines during World War II.

We continue after lunch along more scenic paths. You'll have afternoon options for a moderate ride, a long ride, or you can opt for the shuttle. Tonight 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.

Day 5 - Cycle through the Côte de Beaune

This morning, we hop on a shuttle and briefly cycle through the vineyards of the Côte Chalonaise. At Chalon Sur Saone, we 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 as the mecca of Chardonnay production.
 
This afternoon there'll be time for lunch on your own. You can return to Beaune at a time that suits you. After time to relax, we walk to a nearby restaurant for dinner.

Day 6 - Home-hosted lunch / Wine tasting

After an elaborate breakfast (which includes wine and cheese for those who are so inclined), we leave serious wine country and head into the countryside on narrow, quiet roads to the small hamlet of Cussigney. We are invited to the summer home of a local family in a historic locale. Here, enjoy a game of pétanque before a picnic lunch prepared by your Trip Leaders, followed by homemade dessert and coffee or tea with our generous hosts.

We find our way back to Beaune through forests, villages and—depending on the time of year—sunflower or canola fields. We settle back into our hotel, relax for a while, then walk into town to a local wine cellar to taste some of the regional wines before continuing to enjoy dinner in one of the fine restaurants on your own.

Day 7 - Hospices de Beaune / Routes des Grands Crus / Dijon

This morning, we 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. We visit the Hospice, then set out on our bike path toward Burgundy, the beautiful capital of Dijon.

Our cycle route today takes us through some of the most famous vineyards in the world. We wind our way to Nuits St. George, the region where famed Côte de Nuits red wines are produced. Here, we stop to choose from different lunch options on your own before we cycle 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 entire stretch of vineyards from Beaune to Dijon is currently under consideration as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. 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 we enter the capital of Burgundy, we'll 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 our hotel, we set out on a walking tour with our Trip Leaders. This evening, venture out on our own to wander the medieval cobbled streets and find just the right place to enjoy an apero (aperitif) and dinner on our own.

Day 8 - Dijon / Burgundian canal / Valley de L'Ouche

This morning, you can sleep in, have breakfast in your room, and generally take it easy. Then, cycle directly from the hotel to the Route des Jardins (Garden Route) and the pleasant byway along the Canal de Bourgogne to Pont de Pany.

Our 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 off-the-beaten-path traveler in France for its lush, peaceful and unspoiled countryside—true France.

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

Tonight, we finish our week of cycling with a dinner in one of Dijon's restaurants.

Day 9 - Transfer to Dijon railway station / VBT No-Air Package ends

VBT No-Air Package guests: Your tour ends after breakfast. It is a short 5-minute walk to the Dijon train station if you wish to take a train.

VBT Air Package guests: After breakfast, walk to the 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 in your Final Travel Booklet that includes information and recommendations of what to see and do in Paris. Use the rest of the day to relax or to begin exploring Paris.

Day 10 - Depart for U.S.

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**.

*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 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.
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