France:
Cycling the vineyards of the Cote d’Or

What?
The famous vineyards of the Cote d’Or, en vélo

Why visit?
I have already highlighted some of the reasons why Burgundy is one of my favourite regions of France. But a big draw of this region are its famous wines, and the most famous ones are produced in a  narrow corridor between Dijon and Beaune, the Cote d’Or.

You can visit the Cote d’Or by car, but driving and wine don’t mix well. So as a pleasant and healthful alternative, get your own pedal-powered wheels to do some Grand Cru-sing. 


Where?
Just south of Dijon, along the Route des Grands Crus towards Beaune. Map. 


WINES ARE A big draw for many visitors to France (including us at Minor Sights) but for those without access to a car, visiting wineries is often a challenge. Yes, you could take a bus between Dijon and Beaune and stop at several places, but you’d be keeping an eye on infrequent time tables throughout your trip and you would not be able to take detours to check out some half-hidden chateau or picturesque little church. 

The kind people at the Dijon Tourist Office (Rue des Forges) offer a solution. They rent out bikes and since Dijon is rather small, it takes just a few minutes of pedalling to swap Dijon’s (pleasantly provincial) cityscape for some gorgeous countryside (and perhaps a gorgeous glass of Pinot Noir)
The tourist office is right behind Dijon's impressive central square, with the stately Palais des Ducs and a playful fountain. 
Those with cycling stamina could reach Beaune in a few hours but why rush? There are lots of little sights hidden on this Route du Vin. Many of the villages here go back to the Middle Ages and offer Minor Sights to match- small countryside churches, a 19th century chateau or two, and of course row upon row of vineyards. 

Many of the churches here feature the same colourful polychrome terracotta roof tiles that were made famous by Beaune’s Hôtel-Dieu and some of the churches of Dijon.

You will find a few local restaurants, cafes and bistrots where you can order wine by the glass. Try 'Au Clos Napoleon' in Fixin, which offers an outdoor terrace with views of church and vineyards. . 

Best of Burgundy: wine, church, vineyard.   
But do some pro-active planning: bring a picnic from Dijon and find your own secluded spot behind some ancient church or in the shade of some vines to enjoy it. 
A tasty pique-nique is best picked up in Dijon- after all, cycling is hard work and needs proper nourishment. 
Chateau de Brochon overlooks the vineyards of Brochon village. 
Getting there:
Dijon is easily reached by TGV from Paris in 90 mins or so. The Dijon Tourist Office rents out bicycles. Follow the signs for de Route des Grands Crus (less prosaically known as D122). Within 10-15 minutes, you will have left the city behind you and are surrounded by vineyards.

Avoid the main Route National D974 as much as possible- it’s a useful landmark but you’re going to be more comfortable on the back roads without lots of traffic.  

Useful links:
Dijon Tourist Office (Rue des Forges)

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