For Easter, Doreen wanted me to find a fun place to cycle that didn’t include a single Alp. So we headed to Bourgogne.
One of the most under-rated resources for cycle touring on the internet are official regional tourist web sites – and the Burgundy site is a good example. Available in several languages, it provides details of the over 1,000 kilometres of signed cycling routes in the region. Maps, gpx files, and lots of other information.
Day 1 we started in historic Beaune and rode south on La Voie des Vignes (The Vineyard Way). This beautiful little route selected the quietest tiny roads while snaking through posh vineyards.
A large part of the cycling infrastucture here is something called La Voie Verte (Green Way) – which means a path that excludes all motorised traffic – just bikes and the occasional hiker or roller blader. South of the Route des Vignes we joined a Green Way that followed Le Canale du Centre:
It is just so relaxing to enjoy a completely car-free route. We looped back to Beaune via a slightly busier road – bumping into a cycling race. But happily made it back to our start point.
Day 2 we headed further south and cycled the Green Way between Macon and Chalon-sur-Saône. The majority of this wonderful stretch is on a paved-over old railway line. Well away from roads, this often very straight route passed by scenic towns, quaint former station houses (several which rented bikes), cows, vineyards, etc.
Nearing the south end is the longest Green Way tunnel in Europe: Le Tunnel du Bois Clair. It apparently houses rare bats (!) – and was supposed to open April 1st but was sadly still closed. Although a detour was signed.
There are huge portions of the cycling network that we’ve yet to explore, and we will return. We have cycled a great loop between Beaune and Dijon – visiting the Burgundy Canal, and returning through the fanciest vineyards …… but it was before I blogged 🙁 so no photos.
One of my first pieces of advice to people planning on visiting a region is to explore the official web sites. They are often a wealth of maps, gpx files, and other helpful advice. And Bourgogne is no exception. It helped us enjoy a fantastic Easter weekend.
EDIT: We would go back in August for another ride starting in Macon and actually go through the tunnel: