Guest Notes for Episode 487: Burgundy Self-Guided Bike Tour

Categories: Active Vacations in France, Burgundy Area

Discussed in this Episode

  • Dijon
  • Chateauneuf
  • Beaune
  • Chagny
  • Chalon-sur-Saône
  • Cormatin
  • Mâcon
  • Tournus
  • Saint-Jean-de-Losne
  • Voies Vertes
  • Voie des Vignes
  • Voie Bleue
  • Stopping at the Cluny Abbey
  • La Vallée de l'Ouche
  • Abbaye Saint-Marguerite (not open to the public yet)
  • Chaudenay
  • Meursault
  • EuroVélo 6
  • Komoot

Rank your favorite activities and places on this trip

  1. Cycling in the Ouche Valley (Vallée de l’Ouche) outside of Dijon Staying in Chateauneuf-en-Auxois
  2. The stunning scenery cycling from Chateauneuf to Beaune
  3. Cycling the Veloroute Voie des Vignes from Beaune to Chagny (véloroute voie des vignes)
  4. Enjoying a glass of wine on a patio in the village of Meursault
  5. Cycling the Voie Verte between Chalon-sur-Saone and Macon
  6. Visiting the Abbaye de Cluny
  7. A night in Tournus at the Aux Terrasses Hotel and Restaurant
  8. Cycling on the Eurovelo 6 between Chalon-sur-Saone and Besancon
  9. A night and morning in St-Jean-de-Losne, taking a stroll by the harbor Stopping for lunch , seeing the cathedral in Dole An evening in Besancon Spending time with my wife in Dijon and Paris after the tour – we stayed in Montmartre, which we loved.

Did you stay at hotels or apartments? Please list them and write a sentence or two of what you liked and didn’t like about each.

Hotel des Ducs, Dijon – nothing special, a fine, affordable place to stay in Dijon. Good location and helpful staff.

Chez Annie et Jean Michel Bagatelle, Chateauneuf-en-Auxois – this was a truly delightful bed and breakfast run by a delightful couple, Annie & Jean, in a delightful village. Comfortable, rustic vibe.

Hotel de la Poste, Chagny – nice, clean, no-frills hotel, helpful staff gave me great restaurant recommendation.

Le Fleur de Lys, Cormatin – nothing special, a decent place to stay in Cormatin

Aux Terrasses, Tournus – one of the coolest hotels I have ever stayed at, modern, clean, stylish, and surprisingly affordable, with a Michelin-starred restaurant onsite! I wish I could have stayed longer!

Chambres La Cotonnière, St-Jean-de-Losne – charming riverfront hotel with a great restaurant in a charming village. Comfy with a balcony overlooking the river.

Hotel de Paris, Besancon – decent city hotel, the single room was very small, but clean and comfortable.

Best Western Plus Hotel Litteraire Marcel Ayme, Paris – cool, stylish hotel in Montmartre with a literary theme. Small room for two but great location and great staff.

Did you have favorite restaurants? Please name them and say what city they were in.

Le Caboulot Lyonnais – Chagny

Chez l’Oncle Jules – Cormatin (my favorite on the trip)

Bistrot La Cotinière – St Jean De Losne

Chez Toinette – Paris (Montmartre)

What were your favorite foods on this trip? Did you try something you didn’t like at all? Do you remember what it was called? What can you say about restaurants in France in general?

The basic meat and potatoes style dishes – beef, pork, etc. – were typically fantastic.

The croissants and pastries everywhere were amazing.

I tried the andouillette in St-Jean-de-Losne and was caught off guard by what was described on the interned as “the smell of decay.” It was interesting and I sort of liked it, but probably should have ordered something else.

Restaurants were fantastic everywhere, like everything I’ve heard, it seemed to be all about good ingredients prepared correctly.

Most menus in the towns I stayed in were in French, so it was helpful to know some basic food terminology in advance.

I preferred the simple meals I had to the tasting menu I tried in Tournus, though no doubt a whole lot of passion and expertise went into it.

How did you get around? Trains? Car rental? Metros? Walk? Did you run into transportation problems?

I got around primarily on the bicycle I rented in Dijon, which got the job done. I also took the TGV from Paris to Dijon, and used a couple of regional trains during the trip, which were very bicycle-friendly. We rented a car to drive from Dijon back to Paris and there were some issues, not a pleasant experience. The navigation system sent us off in some crazy (but scenic) directions, and it was extremely difficult finding the drop off location in Paris.

What did you learn about France on this trip?

I got to see a part of France I had never seen before and experience at close range how beautiful it is. I confirmed what I’ve read on the internet, that France is an extremely bicycle-friendly country, from the trail infrastructure, to bike access on the trains, to rental options. And like you’ve said so many times on the podcast, attempting to use just a little bit of French goes a long way toward having friendly interactions and getting what you need.

Did you make any mistakes on this trip? Is there something you wish you had known before you came?

I wish I took the trouble to bring my own bike, you’re never entirely sure what the rental will be like until you’re sitting on it.

I also should have planned shorter daily rides, so that I could slow down and relax without the pressure of making it to my destination in time for dinner.

I planned everything fairly rigidly, all hotels booked in advance, which didn’t leave a whole lot of space for wandering and exploration.

Also, I wish I had paid closer attention to when certain places would be open or closed when I was there, i.e. the photography museum in Chalon, village market days, or the Abbaye Saint-Marguerite.

I might have set my departure dates a little bit differently, or planned slightly differently, so that I could see and experience everything I wanted to. I had a few mild disappointments because of this.

Is there something you didn’t like very much and wouldn’t recommend?


I’m hard-pressed to think of anything I didn’t like! One might be: driving a rental car into Paris was fairly unpleasant, I recommend avoiding it if possible. Lots of suburban traffic, and a hard time getting to the destination.

What tips do you want to share with other visitors? Perhaps something that surprised you?


There’s no need to bite off too many miles on any given day. I was a little surprised by how long it took me to get from place to place. With stopping to see the sights, eat lunch, take pictures, or have a glass of wine, it took significantly longer than expected to cover what I thought would be pretty manageable distances. My advice is to slow down and err on the side of shorter distances with more flexibility.

Overall was your trip restful or stressful? Did you try to do too much or was it just right?


See previous – I may have tried to do a little too much. Some days, there was a little pressure to get a move on early, when I might have preferred to spend the entire morning walking around town. That said, my trip was still extremely energizing, with long stretches of relaxed and peaceful riding. Truly the trip of a lifetime!

How did the podcast and other trip reports help you prepare for your trip?


I listened to more of your podcasts than I can count. I paid particular attention to the ones covering the areas I would be visiting – Dijon, Beaune, Southern Burgundy, or anything Burgundy-related. These would give me an idea whether I would be interested in the places I picked, and also give me an idea what I might expect there. The handful of episodes including bicycling were also helpful, as were numerous episodes on food, wine, and basic language skills. Thank you for all!


Subscribe to the Podcast
Apple Google Spotify RSS
Support the Show
Tip Your Guides Extras Patreon Audio Tours
Read more about this guest-notes
Episode Page Transcript 

Categories: Active Vacations in France, Burgundy Area