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1st time to Europe! Burgundy and Alsace advise, please?

So, my husband and I are taking the month of June to explore a BIT of Europe! We have most of our itinerary planned, but we have a few Burgundy/Alsace questions: Thank you ahead of time!

*flight to Genoa
-Cinque Terre-4 nights
*flight to Paris
-Paris--3 nights
(pick up rental car)
-Bayeaux--2 nights
-Dinan--2 nights
-Crozon peninsula--3 nights
long day of driving toward Burgundy

Now onto Burgundy/Alsace regions:
We have 4 nights for Burgundy and 3 nights for Alsace. Our ideas were:
2 nights in Flavigny (from that base, visiting Semur en Auxois, Fontenay Abbey, etc)
2 nights in Beaune (biking wine route, enjoying the town)

We are still debating on where to stay in Alsace. We want at least one night in a small village (aka, Eguisheim) and 1 or 2 in either Colmar or a northern town in Alsace.

Here are the questions:)
After Burgundy and Alsace, we are headed to Gimmelwald for 4 nights and then flying out of Geneva. But on our way to the Alps, we thought we'd hit up a Swiss city, preferably Luzerne. Our first rough draft had us staying in Luzerne for 2 nights and then onto Gimmelwald. But now we are considering replacing it for one more night in Burgundy and one more night in Alsace. What do you think? The reason we chose Luzerne is b/c we thought maybe it'd be neat to check out a Swiss city, but our main reason for visiting Switzerland is for the Alps.

With adding a night in Burgundy (total of 5 nights) we thought we could take a day trip to some of the southern towns in Burgundy for a little different feel or daytrip to Dijon. With an extra day in Alsace, (Maybe see Strasbourg). Any advise on that? So basically, skipping Luzerne for 2 more nights in France (Burgundy/Alsace) or not? Having never been, we are just unsure how much time each place would require to FEEL like we didn't just run through the areas to say we saw them, but actually got to experience them! In all reality I know that would take months ;) Would it be worth not seeing Lucerne in exchange for more days in those 2 regions? I know these issues we're having trying to decide on this ONE thing may seem like a drop in the bucket in comparison to this month long trip itinerary, but every day is priceless on this once-in -a-lifetime trip for us!! So excited! Thank you again for everyone's responses, we appreciate it...everything helps!

Posted by
16883 posts

It makes more sense to me to spend 3 nights in Colmar, not to break it up by staying in a town as close as Eguisheim. I have enjoyed a day each in Strasbourg and Dijon and I'm sure that you would too, and without the stress of driving too far. Their cultural and architectural charms will be similar to other towns in the region, within the bigger-city setting, and with some good museums available. You could feel you had seen those regions more thoroughly. On the other hand, I'd say that Rick would rate Luzern higher on his list than either Strasbourg or Dijon.

Posted by
6622 posts

I would choose Semur en Auxois rather than Flavigny for a base in that part of Burgundy. There is really nothing in Flavigny including not much in the way of decent restaurants. Semur is both more picturesque and better equipped with restaurants and shops for basic needs than Flavigny. You can see our snapshots of both here:

It is too bad you don't have more time -- we spent a week in Semur and it wasn't enough for us. Remember two nights gives you only one full day in an area -- that doesn't leave a lot of time for exploring nearby abbeys and towns and such. I'd skip Switzerland this time out and put more time into Burgundy.

Posted by
11 posts

Thank you Janet! We actually REALLY wanted to stay in Semur en Auxious instead of Flavigny but we just can't seem to find anything in our price range :( I just loved looking at your pictures!

Posted by
10 posts

Hi there! I see your post shows you went last month... did you end up going on a bike wine tour in Beaune? If so, would appreciate any information/suggestions. We're on a budget but willing to splurge if it was really good.


Posted by
11 posts

suz - We did rent bikes in Beaune. The rental shop is named Bourgogne Randonnees. They have good maps and are very helpful with the routes. I think the bikes were $20 for the day and included a basket and spare tire tube with air pump. You can ride a short distance from the shop and access the main bike paths to the small wine villages. No tour required and it was alot of fun doing it on our own. We rode close to 30 miles that day I believe. I recommend it. Hope that helps.

Posted by
930 posts

We spent two weeks near Semur en Auxois. I say near. We were a couple km north of Avallon in Vassy. We rented a house for about $43 per night. Nice place, clean, quiet, safe. English speakinghost. Could sleep six. Found it on Gites de France. Awkward website to use, buthas some very nice locations.

Avallon had some very nice restaurants with good food and reasonable prices. Semur en Auxois is cuter than a bug's ear and we visited it twice. There are 5 or 6 nice medieval cites within close driving range of Avallon or Semur en Auxois. And the cathedral in Sens is worth a visit. Actually the cathedral museum is what is terrific. Very historic place. And they are building a 13th century castle near west of Avallon about 40 miles.

wayne iNWI

Posted by
6622 posts

Our favorite hotel is near Avalon -- we have stayed there a couple of times when just passing through driving from the south to Paris. Moulin des Ruats. They have a lovely terrace by the stream (it is on the edge of the Morvan forrest) and you can hike from the hotel into the national park. The restaurant is excellent and has a big clientele from the region so it is important to reserve if you plan to eat there. They serve trout bleau fresh from the millrace -- the presentation of this fish is like something out of 'Alien' but it is certainly fresh.

I am sorry the OP didn't find a place in Semurs -- our week there was just heavenly. Just walking around the ramparts of this town is such a pleasure.