T O U R  D E T A I L S
Private Custom Tour
Road Bicycling with Support
8 Days/7 Nights
Leisurely to Moderate Cycling
100% Good Paved Roads
B&B & Luxury Châteaux

T OU R  D A T E S
April through September

 

Pre-Tour

P A R I S
Free time, or escorted sightseeing in Paris.

Trip contact: Eugénie Bordereaux (33-1) 42 38 00 18 (mobile).

VIEW FRANCE TRIP NOTES ( pdf)

         
     

Paris Hôtel
In the 6th arrondissement on the left bank of the Seine, this boutique hotel lies on a large, pleasant square across from the church of Saint-Sulpice. Luxembourg Gardens are a block away and the heart of Saint-Germain-des-Prés only three blocks towards the Seine. All around are small, winding alleys and streets of medieval Paris.

Our hotel was recently renovated and the 24 rooms have been revamped in modern chic.

We love this discreet, pleasant location away from but close to the touristy areas and other hotels, with the pleasant Luxembourg Gardens very close by.

Boutique Hotel on Place Saint Sulpice (right)

 
         
       
     

Besides great mustard, the local dishes of Burgundy include coq a vin and boeuf bourguignon; both of which are made with local red wine. The beef is provided by Charolais cattle (see picture) which are the local breed. Another resident is the humble vineyard snail, which is used to make their famous escargot.

And what about the wine? Well, in Burgundy it is easy to know what varietals you are enjoying, as almost all reds are made from Pinot Noir, with the whites being Chardonnay. But just because the vines are all the same doesn’t mean that the end products will be. With some of the best wine-growing terroir in all of France, Burgundy can produce some truly amazing wines. I cannot wait to try as many of them as I can find/afford.

The Côte d’Or is part of the Burgundy region and starts just below Dijon. Apart from the type of grapes grown, Burgundy differs from Bordeaux in another way. In Bordeaux, it’s all about the name on the label. Lynch-Bages, Petrus, Mouton-Rothchild etc. So, where Bordeaux is all about the Château, Burgundy is all about the where. The Côte d’Or has two main regions, the Côte de Nuits to the north and the Côte de Beaune to the south. In terms of hierarchy, Burgundy wine is classified according to region i.e. Burgundy (Bourgogne), then by district, Côte d’Or then onto village, e.g Gevry-Chambertin and further up to a particular vineyard.

Grand Cru is often thought of as a sign of quality, but it’s really a measure of the potential of the land the grapes are grown on. Many vineyards in Burgundy are split into subplots or allotments and have multiple owners, some only owning a small row so it’s very hard to pick a wine based purely on village or even vineyard, you sometimes need to know the exact producer. For your reference, the top three villages in Burgundy’s Côte d’Or, by reputation, are Gevrey-Chambertin, Chambolle-Musigny, and Vosne-Romanee

 
         
     
 
         

Day 1

P A R I S  to  B E A U N E
After breakfast pickup at Hôtel Recamier, or your Paris hotel, for transfer into the heart of Burgundy, reaching the charming medieval city of Beaune, the unofficial wine capital of Burgundy (185 kilometers, about 2 hours and 50 mins.). After reaching our hotel, freshening up before heading out for our first taste of Bourgogne cuisine, enjoying a gorgeous lunch at local favorite, Ma Cuisine.

After lunch, exploring highlights of the town, visiting the 14th century Hospice of Beaune (Hotel-Dieu) where you will have time to wander through the Salle des Pauvres (the hall of the poor), the rooms of Sainte-Anne, Saint-Nicolas, Sainte-Hughes and Saint-Louis as well as the fully restored kitchen.

After refreshing back at the Château we will dine out this evening enjoying a dinner accompanied by wonderful wines from the Cote d'Or. enjoying a gourmet-dinner in one of the best restaurants of the region (with many 1-3 star Michelin options, this dinner is not included tonight). (L)

Hostellerie de Levernois: fine cuisine inspired by culinary classics, served in a modern setting. In an elegant 19C building, the contemporary-style dining room looks out over the French-style garden. Wine tasting cellar and shop. SpecialitiesRisotto carnaroli au vert, cuisses de grenouille et escargots de Bourgogne. Boeuf charolais en poitrine poivrée et carottes fondantes au cumin. Soufflé chaud au Grand Marnier, sorbet orange sanguine.

         
     

Hötel Le Cep, Beune
Hôtel le Cep is located in the heart of the small alleys of medieval Beaune, the union of many ancient homes built between the 14th and the 18th centuries. Hotel Le Cep is a veritable institution, affiliated to the prestigious "Small Luxury Hotels of the World" brand.

Its 64 rooms and suites are air- conditioned and each one is unique, furnished with antiques and are named for famous Burgundy wines. The culinary restaurant Loiseau des Vignes is located in the hotel and managed separately by the famous Groupe Bernard Loiseau. Enjoy wonderful cuisine and sample a wide range of wines, which are among the best in France.

 
         
     

Bourgogne Grand Cru
And what about the wine? Well, in Burgundy it is easy to know what varietals you are enjoying, as almost all reds are made from Pinot Noir, with the whites being Chardonnay. But just because the vines are all the same doesn’t mean that the end products will be. With some of the best wine-growing terroir in all of France, Burgundy can produce some truly amazing wines.

The Côte d’Or is part of the Burgundy region and starts just below Dijon. Apart from the type of grapes grown, Burgundy differs from Bordeaux in another way. In Bordeaux, it’s all about the name on the label. Lynch-Bages, Petrus, Mouton-Rothchild etc. So, where Bordeaux is all about the Château, Burgundy is all about the where. The Côte d’Or has two main regions, the Côte de Nuits to the north and the Côte de Beaune to the south. In terms of hierarchy, Burgundy wine is classified according to region i.e. Burgundy (Bourgogne), then by district, Côte d’Or then onto village, e.g Gevry-Chambertin and further up to a particular vineyard.

Grand Cru is often thought of as a sign of quality, but it’s really a measure of the potential of the land the grapes are grown on. Many vineyards in Burgundy are split into subplots or allotments and have multiple owners, some only owning a small row so it’s very hard to pick a wine based purely on village or even vineyard, you sometimes need to know the exact producer. By reputation the top three villages in Burgundy’s Côte d’Or are Gevrey-Chambertin, Chambolle-Musigny, Vosne-Romanee.

 
         
     
 
         

Day 2

B E A U N E  to  M E U R S A U L T
This morning, enjoying a spin on the bikes through the beautiful rolling hills of beautiful Côte d’Or, on small roads meandering through the tranquil countryside, passing stars of the wine world incuding Gevrey-Chambertin, Chambolle-Musigny, Vosne-Romanée, and Nuit-Saint-Georges in these “Hills of God.”

We'll pause amidst the vins at the castle Chateau de Citeaux, where we will enjoy a visit to the vineyards and a wine-tasting with picnic on the terrasse, enjoying the view on the vineyards and in between toasts at our scenic setting, sample specialties of the region. Afterwards, continued riding to Chagny, a small town of about five thousand people dating to medieval times.

After exploring the landmarks of Chagny, we'll board our bus to continue on to Meursault, a small town located on a prehistoric settlement and most famous for hosting the wine event La Paulée de Meursault. (B,L,D)

A 20 to 42 km (12 to 25 mile) ride along smooth, rolling roads with frequent stops. Extended ride this afternoon, by preference.

         
     

Hotel Les Charmes
At the centerof Meursault in the heart of Burgundy, Pascale and Emmanuel Griimpret welcome you to their 18th century home, and now a charming, 14-room bed and breakfast.

The hotel location is the perfect base for exploring the vineyards and cellars int he area, relaxing after in the tree-shaded park or by the swimming pool.

Each room is unique, decorated in contemporary style or with antique furnishings, has its own special personality.

 
         
     
 
         

Day 3

M E U R S A U L T  to  A M B RO I S E
This morning we depart Burgundy, transferring to Amboise (about 3.5 hours).

Amboise is a small market town, once home of the French royal court and famous for the Clos Lucé, manor house where Leonardo da Vinci lived (and ultimately died), and summer residence of the Kings of France, whose Château d'Amboise dominates the town. Here we'll enjoy a "Renaissance" gourmet lunch.

In the afternoon we'll explore Clos Lucé, strolling the streets of this village, Château, and gardens of the Parc Leonardo da Vinci. (B,L,D)

Dinner tonight at Château du Pray with chef Frédéric Brisset (1 Michelin star).

         
     

Le Manoir de la Maison Blanche, Amboise
Le Manoir de la Maison Blanche is a XVIIth century Manor converted to a B&B. Near Amboise, twenty minutes stroll from the cit center, this Renaissance castle was rebuilt in the nineteenth century, is surrounded by a pleasant park cthat is an oasis of greenery. The main facade of the house, as amended by the addition of a square tower in the last century, has a mullioned window and an elegant skylight whose pediment shows the figure of Francis I (F crowned topped with a shell).

Our hostess will reveal to you all the secrets of Amboise and guests will savor her homemade marmalade at breakfast. The manor also hosts artist workshops throughout the year.

 
         
       
         
     
 
         

Day 4

A M B O I S E  to  C H I S S A Y
This morning pedaling through the spectacular landscapes and forest to the "pearl of the Loire," the Château de Chenonceau, gracefully bridging over the Cher river. This castle is a history book in itself and saw a lot of French history has become the second most-visited castle of France.

After admiring the majesty of the château, we'll canoe the river, passing under the castle of Chenonceau, and appreciating a different perspective of the Loire Valley.

After this full day, we will reach the magnificent Château de Chissay in time for a sumptuous gourmet dinner. (B,L,D)

A 22 to 37 km (14 to 24 miles) flat/rolling ride through the countryside and foret d'Ambroise. Also, canoeing this day.

         
       
         
      Château du Chissay
"Chissay Castle is a poem in stone brought to life." This former royal residence in the shadow of Chenonceau castle is set in a park and surrounding woods, a perfect base for us to explore the nearby Chambord, Blois, Amboise and Touraine castles. The individual and elegant rooms overlook the park, the swimming pool or the renaissance courtyard. The "la Table du Roy" dining room is in a Gothic style with arched vaults and offers dishes inspired by the region.
 
         
     
 
         

Day 5

C H I S S A Y  to  M O S N E S
After a pleasant morning at the Château, mounting our bikes for more riding through the bucolic forests and vineyard landscapes of this part of the Loire Valley, and riding along the Loire River to reach the small village of Mosnes.

After arrival, we will visit the open-air market browsing for fresh food for our picnic lunch. Our mansion in Mosnes has a small little spa, where we can also relax. (B,L,D)

A 30 to km (18 mi.) ride along quiet, rolling roads. After arrival in Mosnes, an optional pre-dinner spin of a about an hour through the picturesque countryside around the town.

         
     

Domaines des Thomeaux, Mosnes
Located a half a mile from the banks of the Loire River near the Chateau de Chaumont, Chateau du Clos Luce, and also the Chateau d'Amboise.

The small castle is made of white tufa stone and eighteenth century bricks housing 35 bedrooms decorated according to the colors of the world and decorated in honor of one country: the Chinese room with elegant silk, the Indian room in wood carving, the Tyrolean room as a chalet, and the eighteenth French paneled room. The hotel offers and indoor hydro-jet swimming pool and a Spa with hammam and sauna. The air conditioned guest rooms.

 
         
     
 
         

Day 6

M O S N E S  to  C H E V E R N Y
On this crisp, clear morning, riding a stretch through vivid vineyards for some time before arriving in front of the drawbridge of the Fougères-sur-Bièvre stronghold, where we'll follow the toues (traditional boats) along the Loire to the village of Chaumont-sur-Loire, a natural oasis and promontory perched above the Loire river and host to the International Garden Festival, events and projects of of philosophical, ecological and artistic themes.

Before wandering in the International Garden Festival, we'll taste the cuisine of the Chef of the Grand Velum, a restaurant created to enchant the theme of every year’s Garden Festival. Here, we will wander in the Gardens and stroll inside the beautiful fairy tale like castle until the afternoon.

In the afternoon we continue riding in the country side and along the Cosson creek to Cheverny. This should bring up some memories, if you ever read Tintin as it was the inspiration for Moulinsart castle. (B,L,D)

Our longest ride of the tour (but we are fit by now!), a 45 km (27 mi.) ride along the Cher and then rolling side roads.

         
     

Château du Breuil
After seeing the grand châteaux of the Loire, it is even more special to stay in a château, one whose history began in the fifteenth century, complete with moat and tower that still remain to guard its courtyard entrance. Set on 45 hectares (over 112 acres) of wooded Loire Valley parkland, the castle was built in the eighteenth century incorporating the tower, and subsequent additions were made in the nineteenth century, all beautifully blending to create a harmonious and architecturally pleasing building.

On the grounds is also a fine 19th century chapel with a superb stained-glass window. As that century drew to a close, Château du Breuil was owned by the Marquise de Méloise Frenoy, and as recently as 1968 it belonged to the Earl de La Salle. But, it was in 1987 that it was lovingly transformed into a comfortable and peaceful château-hôtel welcoming guests from around the world. In the elegant dining room, delicious regional cuisine and fine wines are offered, and meals can be enjoyed in the park behind the dining room in good weather. Completely renovated in 2008.

Le Verger (the Orchard), is a superb old masonry building located at the edge of the park near the pond, very close to the castle, and was renovated in 2008 with eight new rooms. Le Pavillon des Fleurs (House of Flowers), a fine building from the middle ages. To maintain authenticity, the restoration scrupulously preserved and emphasized the patina of the walls and used Italian stone. Flowers gave the inspiration; and beds are canopied; as with the castle itself, the rooms are air-conditioned.

 
         
     
 
         

Day 7

C H E V E R N Y  to  B L O I S
Following breakfast, begin biking through the magnificent forest and along the bucolic canals of the royal Château de Chambord, one of the most famous châteaux in the world. The Chambord is the largest château in the Loire Valley, built to serve as a hunting lodge for François I, though never completed. The architecture is very unique, and we will spot aspects of this pedaling by such as the sculpted salamanders engraved on the walls of Loire’s most extravagant castle.

During our visit, we will relax in the shade of the hundred year-old trees and picnic in front of the château. Afterwards, we will stop for a biscuit tasting at the Biscuiterie de Chambord where heirs of an ancient tradition are true artisans of taste and will invite us into a world of tastes.

In the afternoon, continue to Blois, the charming ancient capital of Loir-et-Cher department, situated on the banks of the Loire between Orléans and Tours. Here we'll spending the rest of the day discovering the charming medieval town, strolling the old pavé (cobbled streets) and exploring the Château de Blois, a Renaissance château once occupied by King Louis XII.

After our first sunset in the Loire, we'll enjoy the Château de Blois light and sound show before dinner and accommodation at the Château du Breuil. (B,L,D)

A 40 km (25 mile) ride through the farmlands and vineyards, then along the River Loire to Château de Chambord for lunch, then passing through small villages and farmland on mostly flat terrain.

         
     
 
         

Day 8

B L O I S  to  P A R I S
After a leisurely breakfast we bid farewell to the Château and travel to Paris Hotel (185 kilometers, about 1 hour & 50 minutes return to Paris), or after arrival, transfer to connecting TGV for your onward journey, reflecting on the past week. (B)

Merci beaucoup et bon journee!

By Patrick Morris
 

 

 

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We are happy to answer questions or inquiries.