Headwater - Medieval Burgundy Self-Guided Cycling Trip Notes

Ways to Travel:
Self-Guided
Destinations:
France
Programmes:
Cycling
Trip Code:
C07BU
Activity Level: Leisurely
Leisurely

You are healthy, enjoy the outdoors and want a relaxing trip. No experience is required.

8 Days Flight Inclusive
8 Days Land only
Min age: 8

Trip Overview

A historic region, reflected in the traditional architecture in the many villages and towns that you pass through, Burgundy also offers a very relaxed pace of life and the rolling hills of the Yonne area provide gentle charming cycling routes. 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!

At a Glance

  • 7 nights hotel-to-hotel accommodation
  • 4 days cycling (including 1 optional ride)
  • All continental breakfasts and 4 evening meals
  • Services of your local Headwater Representative
  • Headwater Wine Collection Service
  • GPS route directions and maps
  • RideWithGPS navigation app
  • High quality hybrid bikes
  • Luggage transfers between hotels
  • Countries visited: France

Trip Highlights

  • Gentle, relaxing cycling on totally unspoilt routes; very easy to get to from the UK
  • World-famous vineyards and local wines
  • Flower adorned villages, hidden meadows, picturesque rivers and canals
  • Roman and Romanesque abbeys; Gothic and Renaissance chateaux
  • Riverside cafes and beaches
  • Historic Auxerre, home to the Gothic Cathedral of St Etienne
  • Based on our popular 6 night, Chablis Vineyards Cycling

Is This Trip for You?

Cycling Conditions
Classification: Self-Guided
Activity Level: 1 (Leisurely)
Average daily distance: 37km (23 miles).
No. of days cycling: 3
Terrain and route: The cycling, which is not too demanding, is on little roads or towpaths by the canals.
Vehicle Support: This is a self-guided trip for those who prefer to cycle independently, but with our assistance to take out the stress of the logistics and planning. We arrange your accommodation, provide you with a map and route notes so that you can cycle at your own pace, while your bags are transported from one hotel to the next.

It is important that you are happy reading maps and following route notes, we make these as accurate as possible and they are regularly checked.

As this is a self-guided holiday there is no group and no leader. There maybe others on the same departure date as you, but you will not be organised together. The routes notes contain a 24-hour emergency assistance telephone number should you need it and in emergencies, the hotels are normally able to dispatch a taxi or pick you up themselves. They may wish to charge for this service.

Group

As this is a self-guided holiday there is no group and no leader. A local representative is on hand to assist you and will meet you at the beginning of the week to set up your bike and go through the route notes and point out particular places of interest. Your luggage is transferred and route notes and maps are provided. The route notes contain a 24-hour emergency assistance telephone number. In an emergency, the local representative is normally able to dispatch a taxi or pick you up themselves. They may wish to charge for this service.

Adult min age:
18
Child min age:
8

Child max age:

17

Itinerary

Land Only

Start City:
Auxerre
End City:
Auxerre

Flight Inclusive

Start City:
London
End City:
London

Land Only Itinerary

  • Day 1

    Arrive in Auxerre

    This is one of France's prettiest medieval cities, on the banks of the Yonne, and your base for two tonights. 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). Staying at  Hotel Normandie.

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
  • Day 2

    At Auxerre

    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). Staying at Hotel Normandie.

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
  • Day 3

    Auxerre to Ligny-Le-Chatel

    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. Staying at Relais St Vincent.

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Dinner
    Distance covered: 32 km / 20 miles
  • Day 4

    At Ligny-Le-Chatel

    Originally this was the Roman Lanniacum Castrum; later, Marguerite de Bourgogne lived here. See the Church of St Peter and St Paul (Romanesque on the inside, Renaissance outside). It's just a 10km cycle to the small village of Chablis, almost entirely given over to the production of the world's most celebrated white wine. There are masses of tasting opportunities here, and don't forget - we can pick up any purchases for you with the Headwater Wine Service. You may also visit Pontigny, reputed to be home of the greatest Cistercian abbey in the country. Staying at Relais St Vincent. Half board in local restaurant.

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Dinner
  • Day 5

    Ligny-Le-Chatel to Nitry

    A longer cycling day today as you pedal from one little wine village to another, but we've planned your route to ensure lots of time for stopping along the way! After a gentle climb to Courgis, where you'll find a lovely picnic spot and stunning views, it's downhill through Chitry and St-Brisle- Vineux to the River Yonne and along the towpath to Vermenton. (Staying at 15 Place Voltaire, Breakfast at hotel, Evening meal at local restaurant)

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Dinner
    Distance covered: 49 km / 31 miles
  • Day 6

    At Nitry (free day or optional ride)

    Perhaps walk (or take your bike on the train) to Arcy-sur-Cure (10km) and visit the celebrated caves, and intriguing Manoir du Chastenay. Then cycle to Vezelay, a fortified mediaeval town, from where St Bernard of Clairvaux launched the second crusade. Or take the gentle towpath to Mailly-la-Ville where you can swim at the riverside 'beach' or watch the canal boats coming in and out of the adjacent port.(Staying at 15 Voltaire, Breakfast at hotel, Evening meal at local restaurant)

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Dinner
    Distance covered: 30 km / 19 miles
  • Day 7

    Nitry to Auxerre

    Today's undemanding route takes you along the towpath towards Auxerre. Picnic on the banks of the Yonne, or go via Irancy where the views are absolutely stunning, and visit the amazing underground Bailly caves where Cremant sparkling wines are made. There's lots of time to explore historic Auxerre, with its abbey, cathedral, shops and superb indoor and outdoor swimming complexes. Staying at Hotel Normandie.

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
    Distance covered: 44 km / 28 miles
  • Day 8

    Leave Auxerre

    Meals included:
    Breakfast

Accommodation

Hotels

Your accommodation is specially selected for its charm and character. The family run Hotel Normandie in Auxerre was converted from a maison bourgeoisie into a hotel by an ex patissier. Here you can choose your own restaurant in the medieval town only 5 minutes' walk away, while the 17th century coaching house at Ligny-le-Chatel has an excellent beamed restaurant with a familial atmosphere. The Auberge de la Beursaudiere offers individually decorated rooms that take their name from traditional professions including La Coutiere (seamstress), La Dentelliere (lacemaker) and Maquignon (horse-dealer).

Where a single supplement is available, paying for a single only guarantees a room for single use. It does not always mean a twin or double room will be provided for sole occupancy.

Single supplement from £259.00

Food & Transport

Eating & Drinking

“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.

Weather & Seasonality

When to go

Burgundy is situated in the heart of France and usually has warm or hot summers with a continental feel to them. Generally the summer months are warm and dry, with rainfall averaging 6cm per month in July and August. The climate in Spring and Autumn is a mixture of sun and scattered showers with temperatures in the mid 20s (degC).

Weather Information

Burgundy is situated in the heart of France and usually has warm or hot summers with a continental feel to them. Generally the summer months are warm and dry, with rainfall averaging 6cm per month in July and August. The climate in Spring and Autumn is a mixture of sun and scattered showers with temperatures in the mid 20's (degrees celcius).

Weather Charts

Joining Instructions

Alternative Air Travel
Alternative flights, onward rail to your holiday area, and connecting private transfers can be arranged from most UK airports. If you would like to use one of the many 'low cost' airlines, we can book these on your behalf (£30 admin fee per person). We can also book UK shuttles to connect with your onward flight, please call for details and prices.

Alternative transfers
If you require alternative transfers (because you will be arriving at a different time to our standard flights), then we can usually arrange these for you (there may be an additional charge).

 

Full joining instructions including local emergency numbers will be sent to you as part of our Final Joining Instructions. If you do not receive these at least a week before departure, or require them earlier please contact our office or your travel agent.

Transfers Details

Air-rail prices include our standard flights, onward rail and station transfers
British Airways Heathrow to Paris CDG 07:15/09:35 then rail Paris Bercy to Auxerre 12:39/14:19 except Sundays when Paris Lyon to Auxerre via Laroche 12:49/15:27 and transfer to hotel 10 minutes. Transfer to station 10 minutes then rail Auxerre to Paris Bercy 11:39/13:22 then British Airways Paris CDG to Heathrow 16:35/16:55.

Business/club/first class seats are available on request.

Standard transfers
Transfers included from Auxerre train station at 14:19 Mon-Sat & 15:27 Sun, and back to Auxerre train station at 11:15.

Location start:
Auxerre
Location end:
Auxerre

What to Take

Essential Equipment

We recommend packing the following items:

Normal daily clothes

Cycling helmet (compulsory on this tour)

Padded cycling shorts and gloves

Breathable top or cycling jersey

Sunglasses/eye protection

Stiff-soled shoes suitable for cycling

Waterproofs and long cycling trousers

For the earlier departures you may need some warmer layers

Sun cream

Water bottle

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.

Optional Equipment

You may like to bring your own pedals and saddle (excluding the seat post) or gel saddle cover to fit to the hire bikes. We encourage this, if it is your preference. However, please note that you are responsible for your own equipment, and removing your saddle/pedals at the end of the trip. We cannot guarantee the return of any bike parts left behind.

Local Bike Details

A quality local hire bike is included in the overall price of our cycling holidays. At the time of booking we will take your height in order to reserve equipment. There may on occasions be insufficient bikes available in the correct size; we will endeavour to find suitable alternative equipment but this cannot be guaranteed. We will tell you before you book whether suitably sized bikes are available.

Conditions 

1. The equipment remains the property of the supplier and you may not sell, hire out or part possession with the equipment.
2. You must not misuse the equipment and must return it in the same condition as when received (ordinary wear and tear excepted). The supplier is entitled to charge for any damage caused to the equipment during the period of hire.
3. You must ensure that the equipment is adequately secured when not in use. In the event of the equipment being lost or stolen, you may be liable for the replacement value of the equipment
4. You must not use the equipment whilst under the influence of drink or drugs and should immediately notify the Supplier in the event of breakdown or loss.

Bringing Your Own Bike

If you prefer the familiarity of your own bike, you may of course bring it along. Please advise us at the time of booking and you will receive a discount off the price of the holiday, as specified above. You will be responsible for any extra baggage charges, please speak to our Sales team for individual airline fees. Any clients bringing their own bike should ensure they have adequate cover for loss, damage or theft under their travel, home contents or a specialist insurance policy. If Exodus is confident that we have taken all reasonable care to ensure the safety of your bike, in the rare event of loss, damage or theft you will need to claim under your own insurance policy.

Extra Bike Bits

You may like to bring your own pedals and saddle (excluding the seat post) or gel saddle cover to fit to the hire bikes. We encourage this, if it is your preference. However, please note that you are responsible for your own equipment, and removing your saddle/pedals at the end of the trip. We cannot guarantee the return of any bike parts left behind.

Exodus Policy on Cycling Helmets

Wearing a helmet is mandatory for anyone taking part in any guided Exodus cycling holiday. Group members must bring their own helmets, as they are not available for hire, even if they are hiring a bike from Exodus.

For self-guided cycling holidays wearing a helmet is highly recommended. Customers who choose to ignore our advice do so entirely at their own risk and on the understanding that it may affect the validity of their travel insurance. It should also be noted that in some countries we travel to wearing a helmet is already a legal requirement.

Cycling of all kinds has its dangers and accidents can happen from time to time. Please ensure that you are properly prepared for the riding you are going to undertake.

Recommended Cycling Clothing

Padded cycling shorts (with loose 'over-shorts' where recommended), breathable clothing, and a lightweight waterproof/windproof top. Shoes with relatively stiff soles are better for biking, but are not essential unless you are cycling long distances. Most people want to carry certain items with them during the day while cycling, for this we recommend a large bum-bag or small close-fitting daysack.

GPS Route Navigation

Ride with GPS logo

We've teamed up with RideWithGPS to provide our carefully researched and checked itineraries in a convenient format, similar to a car satnav, with turn-by-turn instructions all along your route.

Before you travel we'll send you everything you need to download your route notes and the free RideWithGPS app. It's available for iPhone and Android and the routes can also be used on any regular GPS device such as the Garmin Edge bike computers or Forerunner fitness devices. 

 For more details and to watch the demonstration video, please visit our GPS Route Navigation page.

Reading List

Michelin Green Guide “Burgundy Jura”

The Insight Guide to Burgundy

Practical Information

Passport

France

Most nationalities, including British, require a full passport that must be valid beyond the intended length of stay. It is your responsibility to have the correct personal documents and to obtain your own visa, if one is necessary, in accordance with the regulations of the country you are to visit. The information below is primarily for UK passport holders, and other nationalities should check with their travel agent or the relevant embassies. We are not responsible for the actions of local immigration and customs officials, whether at points of entry or otherwise, and any subsequent effects.

Visa

France

Visa regulations can change without notice: please check the current regulations in good time to obtain a visa if one is required.

Vaccination

France

There are no specific health risks.

Travel health can often be something people forget about before going away, but a little preparation and knowledge can go a long way to help you stay fit and healthy while abroad.

The above information can change at short notice; as we are not qualified to answer all your questions about travel health we strongly recommend you contact your Medical Professional or a Travel Health Clinic at least 8 weeks prior to departure for up-to-date information. Please note: vaccinations that are routinely recommended to residents of the UK, North America or Australasia are not considered to form part of the travel health advice, and you should ensure these are kept up to date where necessary.

For additional information please visit: https://travelhealthpro.org.uk/countries

Insurance - are you adequately covered?

It is a condition of joining any of our holidays that you must be fully insured against medical and personal accident risks (to include repatriation costs and air ambulance or helicopter rescue services where appropriate). On arrival in destination for your trip, you will be asked to present details to your leader or local representative of your policy.

If you are resident in the UK we strongly recommend the Exodus travel insurance policy, this is specifically designed to cover all activities on your trip. If arranging your own policy please ensure that you are covered for all activities that are part of the trip, optional activities that you intend to take part in and/or on high altitude itineraries, that you are covered up to the maximum altitude of the trip.

Local Time

France's Timezone:
Europe/Paris CEST (GMT +02:00)

Electricity

France's Electricity:

European plug ‐ 2 round pins. 230 Volts AC.

Money

France's Currency

The national currency of France is the Euro (EUR), with an exchange rate at the time of publication (October 2017) of approximately 1.1 to the GBP,  0.84 to the USD, 0.67 to the CAD, 0.66 to the AUD and 0.59 to the NZD.

ATM Availability

ATMs are widely available, but we recommend taking some Euros cash with you in case you can't get to a bank at the start of the trip.

Responsible Tourism

At Exodus we believe in the power of Responsible Travel.

Every time we travel, we are part of a global movement that creates jobs, builds more sustainable societies, encourages cultural understanding and safeguards common natural and cultural heritage. To learn more about what Responsible Travel means to Exodus click here

Exodus Community

Join the Exodus online community

Don't forget to visit the Community area on our website. You can view the range of Exodus videos and podcasts, read trip write-ups which have featured in the national media and take advantage of some special deals on travel gear and equipment.

In the Community Travel Forum you'll find the Departure Lounge where you can discuss your trip with fellow travellers before you depart. When you get back from your holiday remember to upload your images to the relevant trip page on our website. This helps other people see what our holidays are really like and you'll be entered automatically into our monthly photo competition.

To make full use of the Community you'll need to join My Exodus. It's free, registration is simple and easy, so what are you waiting for?

Important Information

On all guided trips

Although our leaders are well trained to deal with different capabilities, if they have any concerns about someone’s ability to safely partake in an activity, or their impact on other people’s enjoyment, we authorise them to take necessary action which, in some circumstances, may involve asking someone to miss that activity.

Although rarely enforced, by booking this trip you agree to section 14 of our Booking Conditions which clearly states that our leaders have the authority to do this. In these circumstances we will ensure anyone sitting out is safely provided for and offered alternative options where possible. Refunds will not be provided for activities missed and customers may be liable for additional costs incurred.

On all trips

In booking this trip you should be confident in your ability to participate in all activities described in these Trip Notes. If you have any doubt about your suitability you should call the Exodus office and ask to speak to one of the experts on this itinerary.

In an emergency, please contact our 24 hour out of hours service on +44 (0) 844 326 7041.

Every time that you travel abroad you should take the time to read the warnings in the essential information in the brochure.

Full joining instructions including local emergency numbers, and details of how to reach the start point, will be sent to you approximately 2 to 3 weeks prior to departure. If you do not receive these at least a week before departure, or require them earlier please contact our office or your travel agent.

The information in these Trip Notes is given in good faith. Where differences exist between the Trip Notes and our current brochure or website, the Trip Notes supersede the brochure and website. All holidays can be subject to unexpected changes; in order to enjoy them you should be prepared to be flexible where necessary. Occasionally, as stated in our brochure, it may not be possible to follow the itinerary as planned. This may be for a variety of reasons - climatic, political, physical or other. In these circumstances we will make the best possible alternative arrangements that maintain the integrity of the original itinerary.

As fuel prices, airport taxes and exchange rates fluctuate, and airlines manage their rates to match demand, it is proving harder than ever to guarantee our Flight Inclusive prices. Although we endeavour to keep our website as accurate as possible, daily fluctuations mean that our Flight Inclusive price may be out of date. For accurate prices we recommend that you contact one of our Travel Experts, or your Travel Agent.

TRAVEL AWARE –STAY SAFE & HEALTHY ABROAD

 

The Foreign & Commonwealth Office and the NHS have up-to-date advice on staying safe and healthy abroad. For more on security, local laws, plus passport and visa information, see https://travelaware.campaign.gov.uk/

Keep informed of current travel health news by visiting https://travelhealthpro.org.uk/

Advice can change so check regularly for updates.

For all latest travel information about your holiday, please visit our Travel Safety Advice page.

How to Book

1. Check availability

Go online to check availability, or contact us by phone or email.

2. Secure your place

You can provisionally hold a place on this trip, usually for between three and seven days.

3. Complete your booking and payment

When you're ready to book, go to www.exodus.co.uk for online booking, book over the phone or you can complete a booking form (available online or on request by calling us). We accept all major credit and debit cards, or you can pay be cheque. Book with confidence: Exodus is fully licensed and bonded as a tour operator. We hold Air Traffic Organisers Licence (ATOL) number 2582 issued and bonded with the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). We are also bonded to the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and we are members of the Federation of Tour Operators (FTO) and ABTA ‐ The Travel Association. This means you can book your Exodus holiday with confidence, as all monies paid to us for your trip are fully protected.

TRIP NOTE VALIDITY

These Trip Notes are valid from the "Current as" date on page one. They will occasionally be updated post booking and pre-departure; if there are any updates that significantly impact the inclusions or itinerary bookers will be written to separately. All customers will also receive a link to the most up-to-date version of the Trip Notes with their Final Joining Instructions pre-travel.