Burgundy is noted as a place of artistic and historical interest, famous for its Romanesque heritage and architecturally interesting towns and villages. It's famous too for its exceptional wines and delicious food, and is often described as 'the land of great art and good living'.
This eight night tour provides a real connoisseur's guide to Burgundy: the wines, the towns and the strategic importance of the waterways over the centuries. The cycling is relaxed and undemanding, along riverside trails and canal towpaths, and takes you through rolling countryside, with vineyards and orchards to the north, and flower-filled meadows and woods to the south. Highlights include the famous Mary Magdalene Basilica at Vezelay, a UNESCO heritage site, mediaeval Noyers-sur-Serein with its half-timbered houses and cobbled streets and, of course, a plethora of fine wine-tasting opportunities in Chablis and beyond. The routes have been specially designed to allow for lazy riverside lunches, wine cave visits and a chance to potter around the pretty ports and villages along the Canal de Nivernais.
Your accommodation is hand-picked for its charm and character. The family-run Hotel Normandie in Auxerre was converted from a maison bourgeoise and is perfectly situated to explore the mediaeval town. The Hostellerie du Clos in the heart of Chablis was once the hospice, now beautifully renovated to a 4 star hotel, the Auberge da la Beursaudiere in Nitry was once a priory and the Hotel Les Glycines in Vezelay is just 50m from the Basilica.
This is one of France's prettiest mediaeval cities, on the banks of the River Yonne, and your base for tonight. Here you'll find two Gothic churches: the Cathedral of St-Etienne (C13 and C16 with magnificent stained glass windows) and the Abbey of St-Germain (C13 and C14 with C19 crypt). There's time to explore the mediaeval lanes and pretty port before dinner in town with plenty of choice of restaurants within a couple of minutes' walk of your hotel. (Staying at Hotel Normandie, Breakfast only)
Take the path along the River Yonne, out of Auxerre, to Moneteau and Gurgy, then it's on to the spectacular C12 Abbey at Pontigny, founded in 1114 as a Cistercian monastery. Among those buried at the abbey are Adele of Champagne (queen of Louis VII of France) and Saint Edmund of Abingdon (Archbishop of Canterbury from 1234-1240 who was later canonised following alleged miracles at his grave!). Continue on along the River Serein and through La Chapelle Vaupelteigne to Chablis. (Staying at Hostellerie des Clos, Half Board)
Explore the town of Chablis, which gives its name to the world-famous wine. Enjoy wine-tastings galore in local caves with the seven Grand Cru vineyards of Les Preuses, Vaudesir, Grenouilles, Valmur, Les Clos, Bourgros and Blanchots all sitting on a single south-west facing slope just to the north and overlooking the town. There are also several Premier Cru vineyards within easy cycling distance of the town. (Staying at Hostellerie des Clos, Half board)
Pedal, from Chablis, along the beautiful River Serein valley, discovering pretty towns and villages, including Chemilly-sur-Serein, Poilly-sur-Serein and Sainte Vertu along the way. Enjoy rolling countryside as you cycle from one town to the next and enjoy a picnic by the river in Annay-sur-Serein. Continue on, via Villiers-la-Grange and its C12 chapel and barn - built by the Cistercian monks from Pontigny, to your hotel in Nitry for the next two nights. (Staying at Auberge de la Beursaudiere, Half board)
Cycle out to explore nearby Noyers-sur-Serein, one of the prettiest villages in France. Set in the hollow of a meander of the River Serein, its half-timbered houses, cobbled streets, C12 castle site, towers and ramparts all demonstrate the village's mediaeval roots. Enjoy lunch in one of the local restaurants before returning to Nitry. (Staying at Auberge de la Beursaudiere, Half board)
Cycle through open, rolling farmland to Joux-la-Ville where a local, specialist biscuiterie makes a range of traditional tuiles, moelleux and financiers. Continue through woodland towards Lucy-le-Bois followed by a climb up to the surrounding open countryside and a cycle down to the Cure River valley at Sermizelles - worth cycling (or walking) up to the octagonal Malakoff Tower and the chapel of Notre Dame d'Orient with its modern design and stained glass. Continue along the valley to hilltop Vezelay, a major starting point for pilgrims on the Camino. (Staying at Hotel SY Les Glycines, Half Board)
The C12 basilica is a masterpiece of sacred art and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It's the largest church in France, and was the launching point for two Crusades; visitors flock here to pay homage to the tomb containing the remains of Mary Magdalene. To see a recreation of how the midday sun at the summer solstice reflects nine pools of light leading the way up to the altar, visit the Maison du Visiteur on your way up to the basilica; it's a special experience to listen to the sung service at 12.30 on weekdays or Vespers at 18:00. A short walk takes you to the village of St-Pere-sous-Vezelay and its ornate Gothic church, or you can visit the nearby Roman Baths or Fontaines Salees. (Staying at Hotel SY Les Glycines, Half Board)
Cycle through the most northern part of the Morvan Natural Park and on to Chatel-Censoir where you join the 'green way' along the Canal du Nivernais. Potter around the pretty ports and villages along the canal then either take the train to Auxerre from Cravant or continue along the canal to visit the Bailly caves , the birthplace of Cremant de Bourgogne for a final sparkling wine tasting. (Staying at Hotel Normandie, Breakfast only)
Please note that cycling helmets are compulsory in France for children under 12. As we are unable to provide these, we strongly recommend that you bring your own.
Please see our Planning you holiday page for full details.
During your holiday you stay at the following hotels. If you'd like to extend your time at any of these or, if you'd like to enhance your stay with an upgraded room, just let us know at the time of booking. If you'd like to keep your bikes with you for any extra nights we can arrange this for you for just £25 per adult per day and £18 per child per day.
NEARBY:This hotel was originally a maison bourgeoise until it was converted into a hotel by an ex-patissier! It has now been in Mme Ramise's family for over 45 years.
Room upgrades: Privilege Room.
The Privilage room has a very spacious bedroom with king size bed.
Extra nights: Please contact us for details.
NEARBY:The Hostellerie des Clos is a family run hotel in the heart of Chablis. The hotel is set in beautiful gardens, with terrace for breakfast or pre-dinner drinks. There is a cosy lounge and all the rooms are individually decorated across two buildings.
Room upgrades: Grand Confort Room, Superior Room or Duplex Room.
Grand Confort rooms offer the same facilities as the standard Confort rooms but are approximately 5m2 larger (24m2). Superior rooms offer the same facilities as the standard Confort rooms but are much larger (average size 53m2). Duplex rooms are over 2 floors with an approximate surface area of 90m2. They also have a separate lounge area and have direct access to the sauna.
The Auberge de la Beursaudiere, formerly a farm building and before that a priory offers individually decorated rooms that take their name from traditional professions including La Coutiere (seamstress), La Dentelliere (lacemaker) and Maquignon (horse-dealer).
NEARBY:Hotel Les Glycines is situated just 50m from the basilica and has been recently renovated from a C18 townhouse to create a charming hotel with 13 individually decorated well equipped rooms. Breakfast and a la carte evening meals are taken at the sister hotel La Terrasse, just 50m up the hill beside the basilica.
Room upgrades: Superior room or Suite.
If you'd like to extend your trip with extra nights at the start or end, or if you'd like to arrange a stop off point en-route, then we recommend the following hotels.
The 4* Le Senat is simply stunning! There are just 41 rooms, all stylishly furnished and a couple of suites with terraces, if you really fancy splashing out! All have satellite television, mini bar, air-conditioning, safe and hairdryer, plus Internet access.
Transfers included from Auxerre train station at 14:20 and back to Auxerre train station at 11:15.
Please call our sales team on 1-800-267-3347 or email email@example.com to arrange connecting flights.
Everyone who goes on a Headwater holiday will be emailed a link to our post-holiday questionnaire where they can give us an honest assessment of all aspects of their holiday - everything from how quickly we answer the phone to how clean the hotels were - plus an overall rating and comments about their holiday.
Any feedback collected is posted to our website, so that people can make an informed decision based on past experiences before heading off on holiday. We don’t edit the reviews, the only thing we do is proofread them and alter any typos, where necessary, to ensure they are easy to read for everyone. All reviews will be published (except in certain extreme circumstances), and a member of the Headwater team will respond to any constructive criticisms/comments under the reviews, at their discretion. So, for the real tales, twists and turns of our holidays, look no further than the reviews from our previous travellers.
The 7 day bike holiday from Auxerre to Auxerre was perhaps the highlight of our 6 weeks in Europe. The local guides, Helen and Mike were amazing and made our trip so special. They went that extra mile to make sure all went well, always with a smile. The accommodation was great as were the meals and thank goodness for electric bikes at our age...a great investment! We will definitely use Headwater's services again to another destination when we travel again.
Dale and Peter
Please see below. I do not wish to make any review comments for publication
Another excellent holiday with Headwater. The accommodation and food at the chosen hotels was ideal. Lots of activities and alternative cycle routes to do on our free days. The cycling days were well planned and just the right distance and difficulty level. Mike and Helen were excellent and provided us with lots of helpful advice. We have been on many Headwater cycling holidays, this rates as one of the best.
Friendly and helpful staff make this a carefree holiday where you can focus on having a great holiday.
Burgundy is a lovely part of France for cycling with quiet roads and a good variety of beautiful countryside
Another cracker of a holiday from Headwater.The availability of an E-bike enabled my husband to cycle with our small group after his hernia op,otherwise he would have been travelling with the luggage! Thanks, Headwater!
Three of us (sixty somethings) completed the 8 day Classic Burgundy cycle holiday in July 2018. We have used Headwater on a previous cycle trip, and again, we thoroughly enjoyed our holiday which was superbly organized by Headwater. The Ride with GPS was great to use, all accomodation was 'spot on' and very comfortable and the food provided was outstanding. Each day's cycling was about right for us - just a few hills, but so what! Scenery magnificent. In-country reps met us at the train station as pre-arranged and their own suggestions to enhance our holiday were greatly appreciated. Another great cycle holiday with Headwater and I am sure there will be more... Headwater are extremely organised and very responsive to our enquiries when developing holiday options.
Another great Headwater Cycling Holiday with lovely, virtually traffic free, quiet roads / cycle paths. An interesting collection of hotels, so different from each other but all small, intimate and full of character with great food, especially in Chablis. The cycling was delightful and varied from vast open countryside to the pretty meandering canals and rivers. Finally, our reps Helen and Mike, they were so supportive, nothing was too much trouble, especially on our arrival; when at the train station before ours the train changed direction and we found ourselves speeding towards Dijon- a long story but with a happy ending... Also for their help in the use of GPS........ Thank you
Well organised simply a great break allowing us to relax with no worries and full confidence in the back up.
Our reps Helen and Mike could not have been more accommodating and diligent. The Hotels were excellent and superbly situated. The bikes were good. The routes were quiet. All in all an excellent holiday.
Excellent holiday overall staying in some beautiful locations. Cycling was just at the right standard for me and my more mature father. Hotels were well chosen, particularly the Auberge de beursaudiere and the Glycines. Reps Helen and Mike were friendly and helpful when needed. Can't think of anything negative!
This was one of the best Headwater holidays we've had, maybe made more enjoyable due to having e-bikes for the first time! We enjoyed the quiet routes through lovely and varied countryside, although most of the small villages we passed through were so quiet as to seem almost deserted. We were glad of our excellent reps' advice to take a picnic and drinks from our starting point before setting off. Our reps, Mike and Helen, couldn't have been more helpful, from meeting us after arriving late due to a delayed flight and hour long passport control at CDG airport, to always responding immediately to texts with our queries about battery charging etc.
Most enjoyable holiday. Lovely rural scenery and ebikes a revelation!!
A great introduction to the pleasure of a cycling holiday, wonderful varied scenery with ever changing views at every turn and well chosen stopovers.
Good, bikes, good hotels, delicious food and wine, what more could you wish for.
Harder work than I expected - August too hot for long cycles - Restaurants selected weere good
OK but accommodation, especially Auberge de la Chappelle, which was pretty poor, ordinary for the price and not representing good value.
Dear Mr Clayton,
Thank you for taking the time to provide your post-holiday feedback. Please be assured, we do review all of the feedback we receive to ensure we continue to improve and develop our holidays for the future.
With this in mind, we were sorry to read of your dissatisfaction with the Auberge da la Chappelle. You may be pleased to hear that we have made some changes to this holiday for the 2017 season, these include a revamp to some of the routes and we will no longer be using the Auberge da la Chappelle.
We are sure you will agree that these changes will continue to add to the overall enjoyment of this holiday.
We would like to thank you for your continued loyalty and look forward to welcoming you on another of our holidays in the future.
Headwater Customer Service team
Easy cycling with great wine tasting opportunities.
An initial problem with the rail tickets (we were not allocated seats with those with whom we were travelling) was sorted out speedily and new tickets allocated. In addition, due to the illness of one of the party members Ross picked up 2 members along with the luggage on the last cycling day. This removed a lot of stress/worry of getting back to Auxerre.
Overall a thoroughly enjoyable holiday (despite the illness) and the weather was kind too!
Apart from the Auberge in Clamecy the rating of the food relates to breakfast only as meals were taken elsewhere.
Our first cycling holiday and it was a PERFECT introduction! Looking forward to the next one.
Annual fitness check up for the occasional cyclist and food lover
Overall a good holiday well organised excellent friendly reps and a good variety of hotels some excellent some very good weather could have been a little better!
Lovely to have everything arranged for us ; quiet cycling routes and accommodation planned by people with local knowledge and luggage taken care of . All we had to do was relax and enjoy the holiday !
Not Headwaters fault , but coming back on May 31st , we arrived at Paris Charles de Gaulle airport to find that we had been put on Standby and had no seats allocated . We have since learned that this is common practice by airlines but we did spend a stressful couple of hours before being told that we could get on the 13.05 flight for which we had reservations .
Lovely area with some very good cycle routes. The accommodation and meals were excellent. The cycling was relatively easy, however you could add extra mileage and create longer routes if you wanted.
We had a very enjoyable and relaxing holiday which was organised without fault.
excellent route but day excursions not clear. change hotel in clamacy as poor accommodation and food try hotel poste .
This was absolutely our best holiday to date. Excellently planned, organized and looked after by our rep - Ross, we felt free to enjoy the delights of the Burgundy region. We loved the bikes and the routes made sure we saw the very best of the countryside and avoided any major roads. The opportunity to swim at designated places in the river Yonne was the icing on the cake - it was truly a 'Swallows and Amazon' experience. Fabulous scenery, weather, food and of course, wine - sheer bliss. Can't wait to go again - anywhere - as long as it's organized by Headwater. Thank you so much.
Dear Mr Dunn,
Thank you for taking the time to complete your post-holiday feedback questionnaire. We were delighted to see that you enjoyed your time in the Burgundy region of France and that you rated this holiday your best to date! It really does sound like you had a great time. It was also great to see that you felt well looked after by our Rep Ross, he was thrilled to receive your lovely comments too. We look forward to welcoming you on another of our holidays in the future.
Headwater Customer Service team.
The 'one plus' category was about right if you did not take any of the optional trips on the 'at' days or alternative routes. If you do, that will make it a 'two' bike holiday. For example, the hills in and out of Vezelay are challenging so once there we did not want to make any trips out only to have to climb back again.
On previous Headwater holidays we have always cycled the suggested routes on the rest days.
Helpful Headwater staff . Location was a bit boring compared to the Loire or the Dordogne regions.
Headwater provide all the component parts for an excellent acivity holiday: great equipment and instructions, helpful and knowledgeable guides, and a great choice of locations and hotels.
hassle free and relaxing with no worries
Once again Headwater delivers. The entire holiday experiance was fantastic ( this was our third Headwater holiday - and we are already planning TWO next year) and will live long in the memory - even those Burgundian undulating hills!
This was an well organised holiday, backed up with excellent support from the people on the ground. Very impressive bikes. All the hotels had certain core values. clean, great food.lovely staff, Great service,
The routes were interesting and challenging. We loved it. It was good fun.
This is a lovely, relaxing yet energising holiday for reasonably fit people of all ages. We are in our early sixties and only cycle a few times a month and never for more than 15 km at a time. The route in Burgundy is mostly flat, in beautiful countryside along the river Yonne and the Canal de Nivernais. We did find the second half of day 5 (to Vezelay) quite hard and had to walk a few stretches but that helped to return the blood flow to some nether parts. We liked the flexible arrangements, with the option between a shorter and a longer route on some days. Being able to have a rest day on alternative days was also good, especially where there were interesting things to do locally. We particularly enjoyed roaming through picturesque Clamecy on the Sunday morning, visiting the church (where there was a well attended mass), then having a drink in La Taverne, followed by a light lunch in the Hotellerie de La Poste. Most of the afternoon was spent in the Musee Romain Rolland, where we particularly enjoyed the brilliant Charles Loupot posters and the history of the ' Flotteurs' We discovered the delightful secret garden at the Auberge de la Chapelle a little late in the day but would highly recommend it to other travellers. We would definitely consider another cycling holiday with Headwater but would prefer to have the B&B option on all days in order to maximise flexibility.
Cycling through Burgundy was a wonderful experience. The fields sprinkled with bright red poppies and blue cornflowers was breathtaking. We had a 'day off' cycling in Veselay and wandered around the town and basillica. We also went to vespers in the Basillica which was amazing.
The food was also excellent in the hotels/restaurants chosen by Headwaters.
Cycling in a surprising hot spell was more difficult than anticipated, but still manageable and the last few days when it had cooled down were a joy.
Headwaters is an excellent holiday company, provides very good information about the holidays and is extremely good value for money. The only small concerns I personally had was how unfit I really was (there were more hills than I had anticipated even at Level 1! ) and the service at the Hotel de la Poste et du Lion d'Or was a bit confusing e.g. when we arrived, there was no obvious bar service and the hotel receptionist eventually found and brought us our long - anticipated drinks outside. For dinner, we were given the exact menu 2 days in a row (with no plat du jour or alternatives) and we weren't sure if that was the arrangment or not. When we asked about it, the waiter also seemed confused. However, the Chef then provided an alternate menu that was absolutely one of the most beautiful meals I have ever eaten; the presentation was superlative and the tastes even better than that!
Regarding cycling instructions: 99% were spot on! Small confusion at Chateau Censoir - the statement that ' the marine port is to your right' when leaving the town is confusing - suggest removing that bit and just note 'from the square, with the Mairie on your left, carry on to the junction and and then turn right'. In terms of the 'industrial area' for 2 kms when leaving Clamecy: we found the path totally paved and there were some small industries across theothe side of the river/canal? but that section also had lovely vegetable gardens etc. and really wasn't unpleasant at all. And finally,if one choses to take the train back from Cravant to Auxerre, there are no instructions as to getting back to the Hotel Normandie,nor is the rail station located on the map of Auxerre. But other than that, I was in awe of the detail provided for the routes. Thank you!
You can be confident that our pricing includes all the standard requirements of your holiday and many additional extras. Always ensure that you are comparing like for like when booking your holiday. Find out about The Headwater Price Promise to ensure you're getting the very best value for money.
|May 2019||Tour only||Availability|
|3rd May||US$2255||Check availability|
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|Sep 2019||Tour only||Availability|
|2nd Sep||US$2395||Check availability|
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Please contact us for child prices.
Self-guided cycling Managed locally by Headwater appointed rep.
Every two days from 3rd May 2019 to 12th Oct 2019, for 8 nights.
All continental breakfasts and 6 evening meals
It is possible to hire electric bikes for this holiday at a supplement of £100 per person. As these are available on a first come first served basis, we recommend early booking to avoid disappointment. Please call us for further details.
Transfers included from Auxerre train station at 14:20 and back to Auxerre train station at 11:15.
Due to the tailor-made nature of our holidays, we need a little more information in order for us to check availability for Classic Burgundy Cycling. Simply complete the form below and a member of our sales team will contact you (when it's most convenient for you) to provide availability information, travel options and an accurate price. Of course there's no obligation, but if you do wish to proceed with a booking they will be on-hand to assist you throughout the process.
Alternatively, you can call our sales team on 1-800-267-3347 to discuss your requirements in more detail.
We've been creating high-quality relaxed activity holidays since 1985 and our wealth of experience means we're able to build the perfect tailor-made tour for you. Our 'Gold Trusted' rating on Feefo, the independent review site, underlines our exceptional levels of customer service, and our ATOL bonding and ABTA membership guarantees your holiday is safe with us.