Day 1: Arrive in Beaune
Arrive in Beaune at the best time for you. If you arrive earlier in the day, you’ll have time to “drink in” Burgundy’s exquisite wine capital. Morning visitors might stop into the Fallot mustard mill to learn and taste this regional delight. Later, follow the cobblestone streets to the Hotel Dieu, a former medieval hospital with an outstanding multi-colored tile roof. Other “dry” destinations include the 15th century Notre Dame Basilica and the Beaune Fine Arts Museum. Interested in history, but want something more lively? Head to the former dukes’ palace, now home to the Wine Museum of Burgundy. What information you soak in will be helpful if you decide to visit some “caves” or wine cellars!
Day 2: Beaune – Rully (30 km or 20 miles)
Following breakfast you’ll meet our local representative who will outfit you with bikes and go over the itinerary. You’ll start off your tour with a short distance, designed to balance your busy introduction to the region. Entering “Chardonnay country”, you’ll be taken through quaint little villages and the majestic wine-producing estates on their outskirts. Visit the stately chateaus of Pommard and Meursault, where you can tour the museums, the classic French gardens, and of course the wine cellars and “old vines” that produce some of France’s very best vintages. You decide whether to take the slightly longer route through mountain passages to St. Romain, a village surrounded by cliffs and castle ruins, or to take the leisurely path to Rully. Your hotel is in the center of the village, where you can find an outstanding restaurant with a mouth-watering menu.
Day 3: Rully – Buxy (two options: 35 km (22 miles) or 50 km (31 miles)
Heading south, you’ll leave the Cote d’Or and cycle through the Cotes Chalonnaises wine region. One of the highlights is the village of Mercurey, which produces one of the best examples of the pinot noir appellation of the same name. Expect rolling hills with a succession of hamlets, creeks, and woods straight out of a fairy tale - and of course, vineyards. Tonight you will stay in the pretty medieval village of Buxy, where we use a very welcoming hotel with a swimming pool.
Day 4: Rest day or optional ride (70 km or 44 miles)
You may opt to spend the day relaxing or browsing the streets of Buxy and perusing its shops, or you may choose to do our recommended loop. Our optional ride from Buxy takes you south to the world-famous Abbey of Cluny. Prior to the completion of Saint Peter’s Basilica in Rome, it held the title of “Largest church in Christendom” and earned a reputation for producing popes. Built in 910 AD, only ten percent of the original Abbey remains - what’s left still towers as a monument to Romanesque architecture (while its treasures lie in Paris’s Cluny Museum). Explore the area, then follow a tranquil cycling path back to Buxy for the night.
Day 5: Buxy to Nolay (55 km or 34 miles)
After breakfast, your itinerary will take you northwest across the serene Canal du Centre, to the pastoral town of Couches. Nearby, you may discover the medieval Chateau of Marguerite de Bourgogne, now privately owned and open for wine tastings. Riding onwards on country lanes, you’ll pass farms every now and then, cycling past by cows grazing in open fields or through enchanting oak woods. As you enjoy the surrounding calm, you may completely forget about the vineyards you’ve seen in the past few days. The destination is Nolay, home to half-timbered houses, a fourteenth-century covered marketplace and the Chateau de Coraboeuf.
Day 6: Nolay to Beaune (two options: 45 km (28 miles) or 60 km (37 miles))
Departing from Nolay, cycle up to Bligny-sur-Ouche and down to the Canal of Burgundy at Pont d’Ouche, a tiny cluster of buildings just big enough to be called a village. After riding along the tree-lined canal on the tow-path, your itinerary will eventually take you back to Beaune. Cruise downhill for a smooth 15-km stretch through a magnificent forest before reaching the sprawling vineyards of Domaine Alex Corton. You’ll notice the brilliant pattern in the roof tiles long before you reach the main building. Familiar Beaune will be your home for the night.
Day 7: Beaune to Beaune (two options: 55 km (34 miles) or 70 km (44 miles)
The last day of your journey presents two riding options, so choose the path that works best for you. Start off your loop by cycling from Beaune to the still-active Abbey of Citeaux, where you may purchase the celebrated Citeaux cheese or homemade candies. From the Abbey (in St. Nicolas-les-Citeaux), your route will take you past the best Pinot Noir vineyards in Burgundy, such as Chambolle-Musigny and Nuits-Saint-Georges. We hope you saved some room in your panniers for wine and cheese! When you’re ready to retire, head back to Beaune for your final night’s stay.
Day 8: Departure
Be sure to take breakfast before parting at the time of your choice!