Challenge level: 3 out of 5
|4 June - 9 June 2019||On Sale|
Cycle the vines and taste the wines on this brie-llient four-day cycling challenge through the Burgundy and Beaujolais wine regions. Riding about 450 km, you’ll see vineyards, wineries, historic châteaux, charming French countryside and the River Saône. Along the way, you’ll stay in four-star standard hotels and get to try some of the local cheese, fine cuisine, and of course, the wine. The region is famous for its Burgundy wines, Pinot Noirs, Chardonnays, Chablis and Beaujolais.
Rise and shine for six days of wine! Our adventure starts when we meet this morning near St Pancras International Station in London. Here, we’re met by some of the Dream Challenges team, who collect our bikes and luggage to take them to our hotel in Troyes in France. We then catch a train, via Paris, to Troyes and check in to our gorgeous hotel. We settle down for our challenge briefing and then head out for a first taste of that fine wine and French cuisine. Bon appetite!
After breakfast, we begin our challenge by cycling south to the small and picturesque town of Ervy Le Châtel, home to some castle-like architecture, a bakery and a bar. We stop here for a break and refreshments, before continuing south to Chablis, where we rest for lunch. Nestled in the valley of the River Serein, this town is so stereotypically rural French that it could be a movie set. Its name may sound familiar, as one of France’s most famous white wines is named after it, made from Chardonnay grapes. We hop back on our bikes and cycle on to the post-card perfect town of Avallon, stopping at Nitry en route for a break. Avallon is the first major town we reach in the Northern part of ‘Parc Naturel Régional du Morvan’ and a perfect place to Av-a-long drink! We also have dinner here and stay in a local hotel. A theory suggests that this Avallon is the same as the ‘Isle of Avallon’, mentioned in Arthurian legend.
A short cycle takes us to Époisses, a town famous for ‘Époisses de Bourgogne’, a pungent, unpasteurised cheese. We stop for a brief break at a café in a local bakery to try the cheese! From here, we cycle south-east through idyllic countryside to a quaint commune, called Vitteaux, where we stop for lunch. We’re then back on the saddle until we reach Sainte-Sabine, a very small commune surrounded by gorgeous, green fields. We stop here at an amazing château for a rest and a taste of its delicious gâteau (cake) and a drink. Another 31 km takes us to Beaune, where we spend the night. Beaune is a walled and cobbled town in the centre of Burgundy, surrounded by the ‘Côte d’Or vineyards’ (not to be confused with the ice cream, Carte D’Or!). After checking in to the hotel, we head out for the evening. Our venue for tonight’s wine tasting and dinner is the prestigious ‘Bouchard Aîné & Fils’. Built in 1743, this exquisite château has been the headquarters of the famous wine brand since Michel Bouchard settled in Burgundy in 1750.
Starting early, we cycle South in the morning from Beaune to Chalon-sur-Saône, the largest city in the Saône-et-Loire department of Bourgogne-Franche-Comté. Here, we catch a break and wander the numerous cafés and restaurants that surround the cathedral. A 34 km ride from here takes us to Tournus, our lunch stop. This is a pretty town on the River Saône, a tributary that joins the Rhône at Lyon and is also home to the 11th Century church of St Philibert, the main surviving building of the former Benedictine abbey. After visiting the church, we jump back on our bikes and follow the River Saône to Saint-Albain for refreshments, before reaching Mâcon. For now, we pass through Mâcon, but we’ll be returning to a hotel here later to rest for the night. We cycle for another 12 km to the 1312 ‘Château de Chasselas’. What can we say, except “Ooh la la!”? This stupendous chateau boasts twelve hectares of vines in both the Burgundy and Beaujolais wine regions and we have the vin-tastic opportunity to taste their fine wines! ‘Pouilly-Fuissé’, ‘Saint-Véran’, and ‘Crémont de Bourgogne’ wines are made from the Chardonnay grapes. The Gamay grapes produce the Mâcon and Beaujolais village red wines, as well as the ‘Rose Eternelle’ sparkling Rosé. Suitably refreshed we cycle back to Mâcon to freshen up at the hotel, before dinner at a restaurant.
Our last day’s route is slightly easier and starts with a ride out of Mâcon. Following the River Saône south to Lyon, we cycle to ‘Château des Blanchards’, where we have a break and a look around the vineyard. Back on our bikes, we head east and cross the river and then ride alongside it, heading south again to Villefranche-sur-Saône. This town was founded in 1212 by Guichard IV the count of Beaujeu. It became the capital of the Beaujolais province in the 14th century. After lunch here, we continue cycling until we reach the Metropolis of Lyon, stopping for refreshments along the way at Neuville-sur-Saône. After checking in to our hotel in Lyon and freshening up, we enjoy dinner at our last restaurant of the challenge.
After breakfast at the hotel, we take a taxi to the airport, where we catch a flight back to London. From the airport, we just have a short train ride to St Pancras Station, where we reunite with our bikes and luggage and part ways.
Pay a non-refundable registration fee and then commit to fundraising the minimum amount.
Minimum sponsorship target
Pay the challenge costs yourself and choose to fundraise or donate as much as you can for your chosen charity.
Pay the balance
This challenge is not designed for Olympic athletes – but it is still a challenge, you need to earn that wine! With approximately 360 km to cover over four days of cycling on relatively flat terrain, Velos and Vines - Burgundy is designed for people looking for an amazing goal to train and get fit for. A number of the people who will take part on this challenge will have little or no fitness level when they sign up. This challenge is the perfect motivation to get fit, lose weight and have an experience of a lifetime.
Please don't be! The majority of people will sign up on their own. Once the event is fully booked we will send you a contact list of everyone registered for the challenge, as often there will be someone in your local area you can meet up to train or fundraise with.
Absolutely not! One of the amazing things about the challenge is that people of all ages will come together to do something very special. The age range is likely to be from 18 to 75.
A bicycle will be required for this event, which you are responsible for getting to and from the challenge start and end points. A cycling helmet is essential. Cycling shorts are also recommended and everyone will need their own water bottles or a camel back-type hydration system. Apart from that no specialist equipment is required. We will supply you with a list of everything you will need to take before you go. If you require bike hire please get in touch and we can arrange this for a small fee.
We'll stay in gorgeous four-star standard hotels throughout this challenge - an idyllic place to rest after a day of cycling!
If you would like to stay on after the challenge to explore France further or have a well-deserved break, you will need to book your own travel back to the UK at additional expense. We are unable to offer any refund for the unused Eurostar tickets as these are part of a group booking.
In addition to paying your registration fee and perhaps the tour cost if you've chosen to self fund, you'll need to budget for any spending money on the trip - especially as we will be visiting some wonderful vineyards!
You will need to take out your own personal travel insurance covering health, accident, loss and repatriation. Dream Challenges has a recommended policy, which we will send you details of. You can however take out your own insurance providing it covers you for a cycle ride in France. Currently, UK citizens do not need a visa to enter France, but your passport must be up to date. If this changes, we will let you know and provide you with all the information you need.
The Dream Challenges team are here to help you achieve your challenge and will support you all the way. We are on hand from the minute you sign up to answer any questions that you may have about your training or the challenge itself. Once you have registered we will send you a realistic training programme to help you get fit for the event. The programme builds up gradually as the event gets closer.