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, medieval 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.
“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 19th century 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 River 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 (13th & 14th century with 19th century crypt). There's time to explore the medieval 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)*
Take the path along the River Yonne, out of Auxerre, to Moneteau and Gurgy, then it's on to the spectacular 12th century 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)*
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)*
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 12th century 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)*
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, 12th century castle site, towers and ramparts all demonstrate the village's medieval roots. Enjoy lunch in one of the local restaurants before returning to Nitry. *(Staying at Auberge de la Beursaudiere)*
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)*
The 12th century 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)*
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)*
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.