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Bicycling Burgundy (solo)

I will bicycle beginning at Dijon and ending in Lyon - September 27 through October 12. Any suggestions for bicycle routes, GPS apps, services, lodging, baggage transfer, vineyards, local experiences, train travel, etc. would be very much appreciated. Merci !

Posted by
2008 posts

Hopefully these two websites can be of some help for you.

French Mystique offers tours around Paris, but maybe they can be off help too.

For good value for your money lodging you can use “Gîtes de France”, quess the larged B&B organization in France. I make use of it for my yearly trips to France and never had a serious disappointment. Try to switch to the French language as I sometimes have the idea you will have more hits.

Posted by
4132 posts

Oh, sweet! I spent 8 days biking around Burgundy once, though only 2 of those were solo.

Here's what I can tell you, though of course only you know what you want to do and what kind of cyclist you are.

A traditional road bike is not a good choice for an exploration trip, and you will not see many of them in France. If you are bringing one, then, be prepared for tow paths and cobblestones.

The more typical bike in France is a VTT (velo toutes terraines), a beefed-up hybrid. These should be fine for any rides up to about 40 miles.

When I was planning my trip, I found the bike-touring book from Lonely Planet to be very helpful. There are several multi-day routes, and each segment is lovely and interesting. The book may be out of print, but routes don't get old so it would be worth seeking this out at a library or secondhand.

My personal highlights were, Beaune, Vezeley, the Fonteney Abbey, and a small town in the Serien valley (name on request). These may not all fit into your itinerary, and your tastes may be different than mine of course.

Dijon on the other hand left me underwhelmed. I'd suggest skipping it and starting in Auxerre, so as to catch some of the northern sights, or in Beaune. You are ending in Lyon, which is a fabulous place, so you wont miss out on a city accent by skipping Dijon.

There are several rental companies in the area, and for our trip I dealt with two of them (long story but very positive experience on both counts). Both offered "self guided" touring services such as bag portage. I am sure you could arrange for this even if you are bringing your own machine. As a bonus these shops are an invaluable source of advice about route etc.

For planning and navigation purposes I prefer paper maps. The IGN series were perfect for cycling. These are toppo maps that show every building. The maps made communication with the rental folks about route very simple and easy—I can't imagine doing that with a GPS, although you could always program a GPS with routes once you had gotten them from the shops. OTOH any decent mapping app (Google Maps, Navigator etc) that does not require a data connection to plot your current location would be very useful.

The one train trip I took with the bike was fine.

Posted by
427 posts

Check out which offers several Burgundy cycling tours with baggage transfers, and local reps to take care of any unforeseen problems - trains strikes, for example. I can't recommend them too highly. You benefit from their local know-how and group rates for hotels even though you are travelling solo. Excellent maps and route notes supplied.