My husband and I will be staying in Dijon or Beaune in June. We are traveling by train. Is is possible to catch some kind of transportation to Vezelay for the day? It sounds difficult. Thanks you for any suggestions!
I haven't travelled to that particular area, but I'm pretty good at finding French public transport info being a French-reading transportation geek, and it looks like you're screwed. There are no departmental (county) buses to Vezelay. The SNCF runs a single bus journey each way once a WEEK to the nearby larger spots of Avallon and Montbard, which is timed for workers and schoolchildren to leave the village in the early morning of Monday and get back Friday evening. If you really want to go, you'll need to have your own transport.
I could not see a way to make it work. I was hoping there might be a "van service" like we found in Bayeux to Mont Michel several year ago. We may leave that open and see if any possibilities emerge! Thank you for your response.
It is very difficult. There was a seasonal bus that ran from Montbard to Avallon and a few of these each day continued on to Vezeley. You'd take the train to Montbard changing in Dijon. June is not really high season so I don't know that this is on then. It's really worth having a car, or a bicycle, for a day or two in Burgundy. REALLY worth it.
"do you mean rent the car in Dijon or Beaune for a few days, and then leave it there to jump back on the train" That is exactly what I mean. TGV for region-to-region, car (or bike!) for local countryside = best of all worlds. Of course depending on your next destination and your comfort level, you might keep the car a bit longer. (No need to return it to the same place you started, as long as you stay in France). How much time do you have in Burgundy and how does that fit into the rest of your itinerary?
Thank you for your reply to my question. So far, we have avoided renting a car when traveling in France. Just the idea of driving in a foreign country freaks me out! But this may be the catalyst towards driving. Negotiating all of these trains and buses looks like a tremendous hassle and very time intensive.
Driving in rural Burgundy is easy. Rent the car in Burgundy. Make sure your parking logistics are good - don't stay in the heart of Dijon, for instance. Get the right Michelin maps. I understand the car anxiety, but it's okay and worth it.
When you suggest renting a car in Burgundy, do you mean rent the car in Dijon or Beaune for a few days, and then leave it there to jump back on the train and continue on with our journey? That never even occurred to me.
We would just like to add to the comments about driving in Europe. We leased a car in Paris and drove around Europe for two months. France is a very easy country to drive through with great roads, even the secondary ones. We visited Vezelay and found the Basilica fantastic and the town lovely. Picked up some wonderful wine there at the shops there, also. A short car rental would get you out and into the beautiful Burgundian countryside.
Kathleen & Greg