Starting with historic Auxerre, a lovely medieval city, the cycling is easy and tranquil through a fascinating landscape of hidden villages, water meadows, woodlands and vineyards. Your route then takes you along the course of the river Yonne with several swimming possibilities along the way to Ligny, a short 10km from Chablis. You'll then cycle on to Vermenton passing through many small wine villages and along the river once again. Highlights of the tour include the celebrated stained glass at St Etienne, the ancient crypt at the abbey of St Germain, the early Gothic abbey of Pontigny and Chablis, where wine has been made for over a millennium!
“La Bourgogne est bien dans son assiette”. This is very much cuisine du terroir, a traditional gastronomy with its roots deep in the soil. The fantastic wines of the region play an important part in many dishes: boeuf bourguignon, coq au vin, saupiquet de jambon, oeufs sauce meurette, smelly wine washed cheeses like the popular Epoisses - the list could go on indefinitely! St Florentin, Soumaintrain, Chaource and Crottin de Chavignol are the other main Burgundian cheeses. Before dinner, you may also try the typical Kir drink, made with white Bourgogne Aligoté and the regional Crême de Cassis. The Auxerre vineyards have been renowned since the Middle Ages, when the wine was transported to Paris and beyond along the River Yonne. At the end of C19 the Yonne had more vineyards than all of Burgundy and Beaujolais together but sadly, like all of Europe’s vineyards, these were ravaged by phylloxera.
This is one of France's prettiest medieval cities, on the banks of the Yonne, and your base for tonight. Here you'll find two Gothic churches: the Cathedral of St-Etienne (13th & 16th century with magnificent stained glass windows) and the Abbey of St-Germain (14th & 15th century with 19th century crypt). *(Hotel Normandie, Breakfast only)*
Leaving Auxerre, it's flat gentle cycling along the River Yonne and through the forest of St-Germain to Seignelay (scene of the 8th century defeat of the Saracens); here you'll find castle remains, a fine market hall and pretty views over the Serein. Head via the magnificent abbey at Pontigny (which gave sanctuary to Thomas a Beckett) to Ligny-le-Chatel. *(Relais St Vincent, Half Board)*
Cycle along country lanes to Chablis, surrounded by its famous vineyards and with plenty of opportunities for wine testing. Continue on through the Serein Valley before heading west to Nitry. You stay at the Auberge de la Beursaudiere with breakfast and evening meal included.
Pedal to Cravant, then follow the towpath towards Auxerre and picnic on the banks of the Yonne. Head to the amazing Bailly wine cellars where Cremant sparkling wines are made, before returning to historic Auxerre, with its abbey, cathedral, shops and superb indoor and outdoor swimming complexes. You stay at the Hotel Normandie with breakfast included.
You will have the option to book your own flights independently with the operator.
With over 45 years’ experience of taking people on amazing adventure holidays, Exodus can help you reach some of the most incredible destinations on 500 itineraries across more than 90 countries around the world. All staff at Exodus have a passion for travel and adventure, and some team members have been professional archaeologists, wildlife guides, overland drivers, mountain leaders, diving and ski specialists and mountain bike gurus. But that’s not all. This reputable company is a Which? recommended escorted tour provider and has won many prestigious awards, including Best Activity and Sports Holiday Company at the 2018 British Travel Awards.
Exodus is all about adventure and helping others to achieve their travel dreams by offering a fantastic range of guided group holidays, self-guided trips, tailor-made getaways and escorted tours. So, if you’re looking to discover different countries, cultures, environments, cities, mountain ranges, deserts, coasts or even jungles, the expert team at Exodus can help you plan an unforgettable solo, group or family adventure.
Each tour and adventure has been created to give you maximum value for money, often including authentic activities, as well as flights, accommodation and a tour guide. And as the team has developed one of the very best and most exciting collections of guided-group tours and self-guided holidays, you’re guaranteed the adventure holiday of a lifetime, no matter which one you pick. Trips include everything from family adventure holidays and walking and cycling tours to mixed-activity tours and seasonal getaways. You can also ask Exodus to plan a tailored itinerary from scratch or tweak an existing one, which means you can book a bespoke holiday that is designed just for you.
Need some inspiration? You can enjoy varied walks in the stunning Spanish mountains, experience the magic of Italy in Tuscany or explore the rich Sri Lankan history and culture by bike. Try a host of different activities in glorious Turkish surroundings, ski through the magnificent Norwegian wilderness or embark on a journey through India’s tropical south. Visit Iceland and East Greenland, see the spectacular marine wildlife in the Maldives or cruise along the mighty Amazon River in Peru – the options are endless!
When it comes to travelling together as a family with Exodus, all family holidays are specifically designed to offer a mix of education and exploration, with plenty of downtime. Each adventure and tour has been created with one of three age ranges in mind, but children outside of the 5-8, 9-12 and 13-16 age bracket are welcome to travel too. Plus, the price for children up to the age of 16 is 25% lower than the adult cost for Exodus guided holidays to help make your trip more affordable. From canoeing and cycling in the Dordogne to safari tours in Africa and dolphin watching in Costa Rica, Exodus offer family adventures all over the world.
Something that makes this adventure holiday and escorted tour operator unique is the loyalty scheme, the Exodus Collective. When you book your second trip, you’ll join the Collective and be given access to exclusive discounts, sales previews and special travel benefits. The more you travel with Exodus the more you’ll be entitled to, and your membership also grants you special access to exclusive travel content.
At Exodus, they make sure that everyone travels respectfully and courteously in a small group to minimise their impact and to ensure each holiday is a beneficial experience for all those involved. Where possible, they believe in putting money directly into the communities they visit by eating locally produced food and using locally owned and run accommodation. They also strive to provide as much flexibility and choice as possible to make it simple for you to experience a memorable holiday, your way.