Burgundy Trip Advice

Old Mar 11th, 2008, 03:31 AM
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Burgundy Trip Advice

Hi all,

I am traveling with my husband and 20 year old daughter (she is studying in Lyon right now) for 5 days through Burgundy in mid April.

I've read a bunch of other (quite useful!) threads, but am still not quite sure on a few things!

Here's my tentative itinerary:

4/13-Sunday-arrive Lyon mid afternoon
4/19-Saturday-Paris to fly home.

I plan to spend Tuesday afternoon after we arrive sightseeing around Beaune, Hotel Dieu, etc.

Wednesday and Thursday, I would like to see visit the vineyards and maybe do a bike tour. Domaine Chapuis Maurice (Aloxe-Corton), Maison Jaffelin (Beaune), Chateau de Pommard, and Chateau de Mersault and Buisson Battault & Fils, have all come highly recommended. I also definitely plan on doing Olivier's Lunch Wine tasting as that has been so highly reviewed by other Fodorites! So my question is: What is a good way to structure this so we don't get burned out/bored/overwhelmed? (We don't need to see all of those vineyards--those were just recommended ones!)

I also would like to spend a day in Dijon, but don't know whether it would be better to stay there Thursday night (if so, where? I'll have just one night for 3 of us) and spend the day Friday (taking the TGV to Paris Friday night) or if we can take the train from Beaune-Dijon, leave bags in baggage check (is there one there?), spend the day, and leave Friday night.

We will have a car, but don't know if it's better to leave it in Beaune or Dijon?

As for the day in Dijon, we are planning on doing the Owl Tour as a good way to see/acquaint ourselves with the city, but haven't stumbled across anything else I'm dying to do...we are not big museum people, so any help there would also be appreciated!

To recap: how much of what/when to do in Beaune for 2 days, when/where to drop off our rental car (Beaune/Dijon?)?, stay in Dijon or just spend a day, and what else should we do there??

Thanks for all your help!
megt is offline  
Old Mar 11th, 2008, 04:21 AM
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I don't what your budget is, but we stayed at the Sofitel in Dijon last summer (around 175 euros). It's a very nice, historic building in the centre of the city.
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Old Mar 11th, 2008, 04:31 AM
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Hi M,

Since you will have a car, I suggest one day driving out to some of the other towns in the area.

We very much liked our stay at http://www.hotel-grillon.fr/

You might wish to consider a daytrip to Dijon on Thursday and spending Friday afternoon in Auxerre, dropping the car there and taking the train to Paris that night.

ira is offline  
Old Mar 11th, 2008, 09:07 AM
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If you want to visit Lyon, Sunday & Monday are probably the worst days to be there. Shops will be closed on Sunday, and many on Monday mornings also. Often, the tourist areas of cities are kinda dead when shops are closed.

There is a lot to do & see in Dijon. Don't just take the Owl walk - budget time to wander around.

I think this has been discussed about 5 times in the last 2 weeks, but wineries in France are not as accommodating as in Napa/Sonoma (if you're familiar with the Calif winegrowing area. You might get quite bored with just a winery theme. beaune is not that large. You'll probably see all you want to see in 1/2 of a day.

Here is what I would probably do:

Skip Lyon. It won't be anything new for your daughter, and it won't be at its best on Sun & Mon for you. If she thinks otherwise, then spend time there. Stay there Sun to recover from jet lag & have your daughter show you her "haunts"

Mon - head out in the car early & visit perouges. Then take the scenic driving route through Beaujolais that I'll post below. Visit the fabulous chateau & wonderful gardens at Courmatin. This might be a little too much for your first full day, so choose between visiting perouges or the scenic drive. You could stay in Beaujolais for the night here:

a good idea might be to linger a bit in Lyon on Monday morning, visit perouges (Ilunch), then do the scenic drive through beaujolais, and stay at the Auberge du Paradis in beaujolais (very charming - great restaurant, and not much SS). Then visit Cormatin on the way to Beaune.

Tues: Visit Cormatin in the AM if you stayed in Beaujolais. Then head up to Beaune. Visit Beaune in the afternoon.

Wed. Visit a few vineyards & do a bike tour. Stay in Beaune.

Thurs - Head north & visit Bazoches Chateau. Then visit Vezelay & Auxerre. Stay in 1 of these two cities for 2 nights.

Friday - Visit Tanley Chateau, Fontenay, then head to Dijon. Stay in Dijon Friday night

Sat - take the 7:44am TGV directly to CDG that arrives at 9:33am. If this does not fit your flight schedule, leave Dijon lat in the evenihg on Friday

Scenic drive through Beaujolais

Take the A6 north from Lyon, 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 (see restaurant rec. below) 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.

Stu Dudley
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Old Mar 11th, 2008, 09:39 AM
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Regarding a bike trip. Don't set anything in concrete. Burgundy is farther north than just about anyplace in Maine, and just a tad south of Seattle. Weather in mid April could be iffy.

Stu Dudley
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Old Mar 11th, 2008, 11:55 AM
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Great thread! Lots of good suggestions for my time in Burgandy the end June 09. Stu, as always, you are a font of wonderful information! I'm looking forward to following your scenic drive.

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Old Mar 11th, 2008, 12:25 PM
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Don't miss Rochepot castle about a twenty minute drive from Beaune. It is a marvelous 12th centuty chateau - definitely one of the best castles we have seen in Europe. The town of La Rochepot is also very interesting.
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Old Mar 16th, 2008, 08:20 AM
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Thank you SO MUCH for all your help--Stu especially--I think you just planned the rest of my trip for me! Thanks guys!
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Old Mar 16th, 2008, 09:11 PM
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Last May, I spent a fun day driving a loop starting and ending in Beaune. There are vineyards for practically the entire circuit, though the vines might be sparse in April. In Pommard, you can taste some incredible wines, and visit a small, underground wine cave. In La Rochepot, you can enjoy the dramatic view as you approach the chateau; tours are given. You climb higher and higher through the picturesque villages of Baubigny, Evelles, and Orches. Then on the way down, you can watch gorgeous views of the St. Romain valley below, and maybe even see Mont Blanc in the distance. Pass the occasional field covered in red poppies (not sure they are in bloom April). Visit a wine barrel maker in St. Romain. Return to Beaune.
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Old Mar 17th, 2008, 11:23 PM
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Beaune - Even if you're not a "museum person" don't miss the amazing Hotel Dieu. In 2002 we had a wonderful dinner at L’Écusson on rue de Madeleine.
Dijon - We stayed at the Hotel Le Jacquemart, on rue Verrerie right in the center of old Dijon, and we had a very nice dinner at La Dame d’Aquitaine in a 13th century crypt.

For vineyard visits, just drive along the D-122 and you'll go through many of the grand cru vineyards. Gevry-Chambertin and Nuits-St-George are towns with restaurants, or have a picnic along the road if it's not too cold.
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