Burgundy and Beaujolais....How Many Days

Aug 12th, 2008, 03:33 PM
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Burgundy and Beaujolais....How Many Days

I am planning a trip for May to Burgundy and Beajolais. We want to fly into Paris, spend three nights there. Then, we want to take the train to this area and rent a car for our time there. We are thinking of two days in the Vezelay/Avallon area, then two or three days in the Dijon/Beaune area and then two days in Beaujolais. Can we take a train to Vezelay, rent a car and then drive through these areas. We could drop the car in Lyon and take the train back to Paris.

How many days do you think we need for this itinerary? Does it make sense to take the train, or should we just rent a car in Paris and drive back and forth from there?

Any help would be greatly appreciated!

glsebs is offline  
Aug 12th, 2008, 04:12 PM
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There are many castles & gardens in this area. Most (perhaps all) have guided tours that have specific start times. Also, most close for lunch. This means if you plan to visit a lot of castles, your schedule will be influenced by the starting times of the tours and you won't be able to pack as much into a day as you might think. Also remember, most shops in cities like Dijon & Auxerre will be closed on Sundays, & Monday mornings, so plan your itinerary around that.

I would take the train to Auxerre & start there. Go to the tourist office and pick up a map with a walking tour (in English). Do this in the morning. In the afternoon, visit Tanley chateau and (if you have time) Ancy le Franc chateau or Fontenay abbey. Head towards Vezelay, stopping in Semur en Auxois for a quick look (better from the outside than inside, IMO). Stay in Vezelay 2 nights. Next day explore Vezelay, Bazoches Chateau, Avallon, and anything else that interests you. Return to Vezelay

Next morning head to Dijon and take the Owl walk. Spend a good part of the day there. Stay in Beaune 2 nights. Next day, explore some vineyards & wine towns.

Gotta run an errand now - I'll post about Beaujolais later (perhaps tomorrow).

Stu Dudley
StuDudley is offline  
Aug 12th, 2008, 05:26 PM
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I also would recommend starting in Auxerre. And, if you have time, also visit Troyes.
Shanti is offline  
Aug 12th, 2008, 06:27 PM
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I'm headed to Burgundy in Sept. so I can't really help you. However, I saw awhile ago that you had stayed at the Clos de Boetie in Sarlat. We have a reservation for 7 nights there in Sept. and I was wondering what you can tell me about it. Were you pleased etc. We will be staying in a prestige room. Thank you for any information you can give me.
dac is offline  
Aug 12th, 2008, 07:44 PM
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We spent 5 nights at Hotel Clos de Boetie in May of 2006. We were very happy with the hotel. It is in a great location, and it has its own parking lot below the hotel.

I don't remember the exact room category, but we had a large room with a king bed and a terrace patio on the ground level. The room was nicely decorated, and the breakfast was very good.

On market day in Sarlat, we picked up lots of goodies and had a picnic lunch on our patio....it was one of the best meals we had!

We loved using Sarlat as our base in that area. It is a charming city and very convenient to the rest of the Dordogne. We had dinner in town every night, as we were so tired from our busy days and drives, we were happy to walk to dinner.

I am happy to answer any other questions you have. When you come back from Burgundy, I hope you will return the favor!

Enjoy your holiday. It is a really beautiful and special area of France.
glsebs is offline  
Aug 13th, 2008, 07:17 AM
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Hi G,

I also suggest taking the train to Auxerre.

Very good advice from Stu.

ira is offline  
Aug 13th, 2008, 07:50 AM
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Thank you Ira and Stu. This is exactly the informaion I needed.

Stu, if you can finish your original posting regarding Beaujolais. I wanted to spend two nights in the Chateau de Bagnols, see the area and then either take the train from Lyon back to Paris for one more night. Is two nights the correct amount of time to see this area?

Thanks again for your advice. BTW, your postings on the Dordogne were so helpful to us when we went to the Dordogne last year!
glsebs is offline  
Aug 13th, 2008, 07:59 AM
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OK - more info on Burgundy & Beaujolais

Here is a web site for Chateaux open in Burgundy
If you plan on visiting more than 1 chateaux/monestary on this list, save your ticket from the first chateau and you will get a discount at the second chateau. Save your ticket from the second chateau, and you will get a discount on the third chateau, etc, etc, etc.

Here is a similar list of chateaux in Beaujolais
Don't know if the save-the-ticket works on these - we visited Beaujolais first & discovered the saving idea in Burgundy.

Beaune has an excellent Saturday farmers market. There is a mid week market also, but it is not as large. If your schedule is flexible, staying Fri & Sat in Beaune would be great because you could visit the market, and then on to beaujolais on Sunday. There are no major cities in Beaujolais like Auxerre, Dijon, or beaune - so the stor closing on Sunday won't be a factor.

While in Beaune, also visit Rochepot chateau. From Beaune, get there on the D17 - which is a very scenic road.

After 2 nights in Beaune, head south to Beaujolais. Stop at Cormatin Chateau - perhaps our favorite in the Burgundy & Beaujloais region because of both the Chateau and the garden.

Here is where I would stay in Beaujolais
Actually - we did stay there for 2 weeks at their Gite. There are also 2 B&Bs on the property. This is a lovely setting surrounded by vineyards, and a short drive to many wine villages where there are good restaurants. The B&Bs are actually listed in the Michelin Red Guide. The owners speak excellent English. I would stay thre 2 nights. You could visit Tournas on the way to or from Cormatin Chateau.

We spent 2 weeks in Beaujolais followed by 2 weeks iin Burgundy. We though the countryside in Beaujolais was the more interesting of the two. Here is a nice drive to explore this region.

Get on the A6, and get off at exit #30 – Belleville. You will need Michelin Map # 327 to follow this route. Head west on the D37 towards the town of Beaujeu. Take the first “Beaujeau Centre” exit (ignore some ugly commerce). Turn north (right) on the D26 to Col de Truges & Julienas – this area is covered with vineyards. At the Col de Truges, stay on the D26 to Julienas. About 1 K past the Col de Durbize (see the map), take the D32 to Fleurie. This is a very scenic section. Drive into the town of Fleurie (see restaurant rec. below), turn around in the parking lot in front of the Church, & retrace your drive on the D32 back towards the D32/D26 split. On the way, you will be rewarded with a wonderful view of a little chapel on a hilltop to the left of the road. At the D32/D26 intersection, take a sharp right on the D26 to Julienas. On the D26, 2K after the D32/D26 intersection, turn left to Emeringes onto the D68E2 & cross the pretty flower-covered bridge & proceed to Emeringes. When you “dead-end” in Emeringes where there is a phone booth in front of you & an Auberge to the left, curve right & follow the D68E2 towards Jullie. Less than 1K past the cemetery on the left, look to the left for a sign to “Vatre” & turn left. When you hit another road in about 100 meters, turn left again. When you see a somewhat dilapidated old farm with a “a Vendre” sign, look up the road & you will see the Domaine de la Chapelle de Vatre – it’s the building with the huge windows. Proceed towards the building & turn left to access the property. If you look at your 327 map, you will see the “Chlle de Vatres” on the map – this is the little chapel that is on the Domaine de la Chatre’s property. It is lit-up at night. These driving instruction might seem a little complicated – but we found the best way to navigate around Beaujolais is to watch for signs directing you to villages. In this case, the signs would say Beaujeau to Julienas to Fleurie to Julenias to Emeringes to Vatre.

After Vatre, leave the complex and turn left. The road will skirt the north side of Domaine de la Vatre where there is a fabulous view of vineyards, the village of Jullie with its church, and a chateau. This view is visible from the Domaine de la Vatre – we spent many late afternoons admiring this view from the grassy hill next to the Domaine’s “horizon-less” pool – while sipping on a glass of Beaujolais. Continue on this road and you will go through a small forest & emerge with another nice view of Jullie. Shortly, turn right on the D17 towards Jullie but follow the signs to Julienas. At the round-about (marked as La Fife) turn left to Junienas. At the stop sign, make another left & proceed into the village of Julienas – this is easier than it sounds. The road will curve to the right through Julienas & you’ll end up in an open area with two restaurants/hotels on the left. Look for the sign to Macon - the D169. The road number changes to D486T (you are crossing from the Dept of the Rhone to the Cote d’Or dept) – just follow the signs to Macon. Pass through St Amour (see restaurant rec. below) and keep following the signs to Macon, angling left as you leave St Amour. The road will become the D186. At a crossroads, follow the sign to Creches & very soon turn left to La Vernette/Chaintre/Fusse (keep the eyeball pealed – this sign is hard to spot). Follow the signs to Chaintre – the D209. Pass through the very cute village of Chaintre and then follow the signs to Fuisse. You will see lots of chateaux along the way (not open for tours). About 1 K later, you will get a fantastic view of Fuisse and the Solutre Rock to the west. In Fuisse, turn right & then a quick left to Chasselas (rue le Pouilly-Fuisse on the right & past a church on the left – this will be the D172). You will go through a small forest then some more wonderful views of vineyards. Turn right on the D31 to Tranayes. Soon you will see Solutre Rock on the right. Turn right on the D54 to Solutre Rock & drive past the rock. Many people park the car & walk up to the plateau – we didn’t. Continue, and in the village of Solutre-Pouilly, turn the car around & retrace your route back past Solutre Rock again – back to the D31/D54 split. At the split, turn right onto the D31 towards Serrieres and then on the D185 to Pierreclos. As you approach Pierreclos, you will see the chateau looming. This chateau is open for a self-guided tour. It is not a “gusseyed-upped” chateau. Once past the chateau and the church, turn right to Macon on the D45 and then the D85 left towards Roche Vineuse & through the pretty village of Bussieres (and more Chateau - not open) towards Berze. Go under the bridge, then turn right on the D17 & then right towards the A6 freeway, going under the freeway to get on the N79 towards Macon, and then the N6 south back towards Junienas (well marked) . Don’t worry if you get lost on any of this route – getting lost is the best part. Directions to towns, villages, and freeways are well-marked.

While you are visiting the chateau at Pierreclos, see of you can get a copy of “le Route des Chateaux en Bourgogne du Sud”. This pamphlet lists all the chateaux that are open in this region. Our favorite was Cormatin – just north of Cluny. Both the Chateau’s interior & gardens are very interesting.

You could take the TGV from Lyon directly back to Paris or CDG airport. However, I would hate to try to drive into Lyon - we drove out & that was bad enough. Consider taking the train from Macon or someplace else where you could return the car.

Stu Dudley

StuDudley is offline  
Aug 13th, 2008, 08:49 AM
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Great advice.
Thank you so much.
glsebs is offline  
Aug 13th, 2008, 09:59 AM
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Slightly off-topic, but I just wanted to chime in with a couple of restaurant recommendations for the Beaujolais area.

1) Le Donjon, a smart restaurant perched on the hillside in the charming village of Oingt. Book a table for lunch or dinner on the terrace for fabulous views of the hills. (I have eaten there 4 or 5 times and never been disappointed)

2) Les Platanes de Chénas - lovely restaurant in Chénas with fantastic views of the hills and tables set out under the spreading branches of plane trees (and a wonderful dining room with open fire if it's raining). http://www.platanes-chenas.com/index.php

Hope you enjoy your time in the Beaujolais - one of my favourite parts of France! (and the wines are among my favourites too
hanl is offline  
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