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Help _ itinerary for 10 full days in Burgundy and the Rhone

Help _ itinerary for 10 full days in Burgundy and the Rhone

Mar 14th, 2008, 04:06 AM
  #1  
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Help _ itinerary for 10 full days in Burgundy and the Rhone

I am in the process of planning yet another trip to France. In late 2006 I visited Paris and the Dordogne and Perigod region. Previously I had only been to Paris. In my last trip I fell in love with France and all things French, and since March 2007, I have begun learning French.

In May this year, our trip will be mainly Paris, Burgundy and the Rhone. We will be a group of 4 (2 couples in their 55-60s). We are interested in wine, good food, French culture and beautiful scenery. We will be renting a car and driving around.

I am responsible (volunteered) for the planning of our time in Burgundy and the Rhone. Unfortunately, I have left it a bit late (due to my dad's cardiac condition, but he is now fine with a pacemaker installed 2 weeks ago ) Anyway, after intensive reading for a week, I have now drafted an outline. I would be grateful if I could have comments on whether such an itinerary is do-able (we don't like rushing around), or whether there are any suggestions on things to do or see or skip.

Here goes:

We arrive in Lyon by plane the second week of May. We will have 10 full days to spend in Burgundy and the Rhone region. ^ days in Burgundy and 4 for the Rhone region, is that a good balance?

Question: should we drive from Lyon up north to Burgundy first or explore the Rhone area first? We arrive on a Friday.

Assuming we drive north to Burgundy the afternoon we land in Lyon, we plan on staying 3 nights in Dijon, and 3 in Beaune (or should we stay elsewhere for a night or two?).

In Burgundy, I am thinking of spending one day visiting the villages of Auxerre, Noyers, Vezelay, Avallon, and Semur-en-Auxois. I read that these are very pretty villages.

Another day to be spent in the Maconnais.

Another in the Cote d"Or region.

Another in the Cure and Cousin Valley.

Another on the Route des Grands Crus.

(By the way, we have visited a lot of vineyards in Bordeaux and Australia, and although my hubby and one friend are serious wine lovers, we do not intend to re-visit the wine-making process too many times, and I definitely do not wish to spend too many whole days just popping in and out of wine tastings!!)

And of course - One day visiting Dijon and Beaune!

So that's Burgundy.

Now for the Rhone area, initial plan is to stay in Lyon (or somewhere near as a base) for 3 nights, and maybe another 2 nights in Annecy? That gives us 4 full days in this area.

We should spend some time in Lyon, would one day be enough? What about time in Annecy? (Ideally, I would like to do a couple of 2-3 hour easy hikes since I love walking - any suggestions on where to fit these in?)

When in the Rhone area, I would like to fit in the Cotes Du Rhone region (any suggestion on what route to take? I have read Rick Steves suggested route in his book which starts in Vaison la Romaine, detouring up to Le Crestet, then returning to Beaumes de Venise, and then passing Gigondas, Sablet and Seguret back to Vaison la Romaine. Is there another suggestion for touring this region? If we take Rick Steves' suggestion, would driving on the D-938, D-90, D-8, adn D-9 be difficult and slow? Or should we take these nonetheless because of their "scenic value"?

How should we fit in touring the Beaujolais region?

By the way, I read on the web that there are guided tours of Lyon in English, but the site only lists the tours for March, are there any sites that list tours in May?

Gosh! This does seem to be a lot to ask!! I do hope to receive some help on my itinerary.....

Merci beaucoup!!
BooFit is offline  
Mar 14th, 2008, 04:26 AM
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Your trip sound a little overplanned.

It is really not necessary to follow a route which is suggested in a guidebook and to see the pretty villages which are mentioned in a guidebook.

It is much more fun to do some exploring on your own. The yellow Michelin maps are fantastic - the scenic roads are marked by a green stripe (these maps are available online on www.viamichelin.com when you zoom in).

The D-roads (departmental roads) are pretty fast, usually much faster than the N-roads (national roads).

Have a good breakfast, plan to visit a few attractions, then start driving at a leisurely pace, stop whereever it is nice, have a meal, a glass of wine and enjoy the day.
traveller1959 is offline  
Mar 14th, 2008, 04:42 AM
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Thanks traveller1959. I agree it is not necessary to do everything by the guidebooks. I read those to educate myself since I am so unfamiliar with the region and without reading up would not know where to even begin !! So, all this is part of my research....... and I do appreciate any help that I can get through this forum!

A good breakfast is indeed very important to start a good day of travelling. In the Bordeaux region, we stayed at Chateau Lamothe, and every day started with a wonderful cooked breakfast which we still remember very well!

BooFit is offline  
Mar 14th, 2008, 05:04 AM
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Hi; BooFit; Dijon and Beaune are very close. Consider staying in one of these places and then stay in Auxerre. Iris
iris1745 is offline  
Mar 14th, 2008, 05:40 AM
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iris1745, thanks. Any good suggestions for accommodation? I guess we could use that as a base for exploring the Vezelay etc. Between Dijon and Beaune, which would be a better place to use as a base? It probably depends on where we can get good accommodation. We are looking for something nice and preferably with a "french" feel to it, e.g. chateaux.
BooFit is offline  
Mar 14th, 2008, 07:56 AM
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There are two ways of going to the Périgord: from the south-easterly direction or from the northerly direction. If you choose the first one, do Burgundy first. From the Rhône valley, I recommend taking the road that follows the Gorge de l'Ardèche and then the Gorges du Tarn, visiting Albi and Cahors on the way to the Dordogne. The second option would involve visiting Bugundy last and driving through the Auvergne, which would consist of seeing several plus beaux villages on the way to the Périgord, and perhaps also Puy-en-Velay. The villages are Apremont-sur-Allier (with a beautiful garden à l'anglaise), Besse-en-Chandesse, and while perhaps not on the official list, La Chaise-Dieu.
Michael is offline  
Mar 14th, 2008, 08:42 AM
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Hi BooFit; We are staying in a chateau [b&b] just south of Auxerre. The name is Chateau de Ribourdin. It seemed very convienent for the area. Our hotel in Lyon is Maison d'Hotes du Grillon [b&b]. It looks down on the old town. They do not have parking, but parking is available on the street. ENJOY Iris
iris1745 is offline  
Mar 14th, 2008, 10:23 AM
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In '06 my wife & I spent 2 weeks in Burgundy and 2 weeks in Beaujolais. We've spent 16 weeks in Provence - 8 of those very close to the Cote du Rhone region.

I kinda disagree with traveler - I'm a "scenic route" junkie, and there are some Michelin Green roads that are definately more scenic than others. Michelin seems to like forests, and often when I've take a green road - as I see is tree trunks for miles. They also like drives along rivers – but often you can’t see the river because there is thick trees/shrubs in the way.

You also need somewhat of a daily plan - mainly because shops are closed in most cities on Sunday & Monday morning. So if you plan to visit Dijon or Auxerre on a Sunday - you're in for a surprise. Also, most castles close for lunch, so you can really only visit 1 in the morning & 1 or 2 in the afternoon.

Burgundy is pretty spread out. When we were there, we stayed in a Gite close to Beaune, and found ourselves spending too much time on the freeway getting to the northern sites.

>>In Burgundy, I am thinking of spending one day visiting the villages of Auxerre, Noyers, Vezelay, Avallon, and Semur-en-Auxois.<,

That's way too much to do in 1 day. Auxerre is a half day visit. Noyers is about 1 hr, Vezelay will take most people 2-3 hrs, Semur is better from the outside than the inside - but you're still going to drive around the town, take pictures, and go inside - 2 hrs perhaps.. Remember, shops close for lunch.

I read that these are very pretty villages.

Another day to be spent in the Maconnais.

Another in the Cote d"Or region.

Another in the Cure and Cousin Valley.

Another on the Route des Grands Crus.<<

Actually, I think your first day (Auxerre, etc) is way too crowded, and the remaining days won’t take you all day, IMO. I thought the Route du Grand crus was quite boring compares to other wine routes & villages (Alsace, Cote du Rhone, even Beaujolais)

>>And of course - One day visiting Dijon and Beaune!<<

Dijon is my second vforite city in France and Beaune is one of my top 3 favorite villages in France

>>So that's Burgundy.<,


>>>Now for the Rhone area, initial plan is to stay in Lyon (or somewhere near as a base) for 3 nights, and maybe another 2 nights in Annecy? That gives us 4 full days in this area.

We should spend some time in Lyon, would one day be enough? What about time in Annecy? (Ideally, I would like to do a couple of 2-3 hour easy hikes since I love walking - any suggestions on where to fit these in?)

When in the Rhone area, I would like to fit in the Cotes Du Rhone region (any suggestion on what route to take? I have read Rick Steves suggested route in his book which starts in Vaison la Romaine, detouring up to Le Crestet, then returning to Beaumes de Venise, and then passing Gigondas, Sablet and Seguret back to Vaison la Romaine. Is there another suggestion for touring this region? If we take Rick Steves' suggestion, would driving on the D-938, D-90, D-8, adn D-9 be difficult and slow? Or should we take these nonetheless because of their "scenic value"?

How should we fit in touring the Beaujolais region?<<

Wow – this would be a very hard 7 day trip at best. I think you must have a general map of France where all these places are close together. Annecy is far away, the best parts of Beaujolais are in a very rugged area & will take a bit of time to traverse & visit, Lyon is huge & takes some effort to get in & out (plus 1 full day to visit), and the Rhone area around there is pretty ugly, IMO. Provence (Vaison), is 2 ½-3 hrs away from Lyon and the drive down there is not scenic until you get to Provence. We recently spent 2 weeks vacationing in the Ardeche just 1 ½ hrs west of Valence & spent some time in this Rhone area and the Alps also.

See www.viamichelin.com to calculate drive times – but remember the scenic area from about Chalon to Orange in Provence is well off the freeway.


Here is what I would do:

Friday – arrive in Lyon. I’ll assume you will need a little time to relax from jet lag, etc. I would drive to Northern Burgundy – around Vezelay & stay there for 3 nights.
Visit Vezelay and Bazoches Chateau.

Saturday – visit Auxerre in the morning. Go to the tourist office & pick up the excellent walking itinerary (in English), and follow the route. There are stripes on the street indicating the route, so it is only difficult to follow when they have recently paved over the marking & not re-painted the stripe yet. Get to Auxerre by 9:30 & have lunch there.

In the afternoon, visit Tanlay Chateau – it’s my favorite in the area. Call to verify the opening hours in April. It will be closed for lunch, so try to get the first tour after it opens.

If you have time, catch Noyers on the way back to Vezelay.

Sunday – visit Ancy le franc Chateau in the morning. After that, visit Abbey de Fontenay. Bothe close for Lunch, so call to verify opening times. After Fontenay, visit Semur in Auxois. Like I stated previously, it’s much better from the outside than inside. Drive arnd the village first & take lots of pics. Then go inside. Shops will be closed, but that’s no big deal anyway. There is a nice lookout near a park at the “other” end of the village from where you enter under the old gate. (arch).

Monday – We did not visit Avallon while we were there because of the excessive driving north from where we stayed. Remember, however, that shops likely be closed on Monday morning.

I would use this day to head south & do the Cote d"Or visit.

Stay overnight in Beaune – 3 nights.

Tuesday – if you stay in Beaune, there is no reason to visit it because you’ll have plenty of opportunities to see it before & after your day-trips. It’s not that big and perhaps a 4 hr visit if you walk around the ramparts. We really enjoyed Beaune.

Visit Dijon. Go to one of the 2 tourist offices and pick up a copy of the Owl Walk & follow it. Plan on ¾ of a day in Dijon. Perhaps visit Chateau Rochpot (scenic area too) if you have time in the afternoon.

Wednesday - Visit Autun in the morning. We were a little under whelmed – but others like it. The cathedral and the area around there was the most interesting section of Autun.

Nolay was a cute town for a 30 min visit – lots of antique shops.

Perhaps visit Chateau Sully & anything else that you are interested in.

Thursday
Head south towards the Cote du Rhone. Stop in Tournas if you like - we didn’t think it was that great – but (again) others like it. Perhaps the best combination chateau & garden we visited while in the region was Cormatin Chateau – East of Tournas.

Stop in the perfectly preserved village of Perouges (east of Lyon). If this was my trip, I would skip Tournas, visit Cormatin as soon as it opens, then have lunch in Perouges.

Continue south past heavy & light industry on the Rhone, the nuclear power plants, and all the other ugly stuff.

Stay in the Dentelles area – Seguret, Gigondas, Vaison, etc. Seguret is a gem. That drive that Rick Steves outlined is the ‘standard” drive around the Dentelles. It’s in the Michjelin Green Guide also.

I have a 27 page itinerary that I developed for visiting Provence & the Cote d’ Azur. E-mail me at [email protected] if you want a copy. We’ve spent 8 weeks in this region – so we know it pretty well.

Friday – market day in Carpentras. His is a huge market and wanders through town.
After the market, take on of the two scenic drives that are in my itinerary, starting from Entrechaux. I know you didn’t want to visit a winery, but Beaucastel near Chateauneuf du Pape gives an excellent tour.

Saturday – visit Avignon, and after than the Pont du Gard.

Sunday – one of the most popular outdoor markets in France – l’Isle Sur la Sorgue. Food/crafts/brocante/serious antiques/Provence fabric. After the market, drive through the lovely Luberon (see my 27 page itinerary), and then back to the Dentelles via Sault if you have the time.

Monday – hop the TGV in Avignon & get back home (via Lyon, Paris).

I have a very scenic ½ day drive through Beaujolais that I did for a friend. I doubt if you will have the time, but if you think you will, post back & I’ll put it on this thread.

If you are leaving France from CDG and have a flight that leave after 11:30 – let me know because I have another suggestion.

Stu Dudley
StuDudley is online now  
Mar 15th, 2008, 07:01 AM
  #9  
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Thank you very much Stu. I think we will leave Provence for a next trip and this time only concentrate on Burgundy and the Rhone region. That will probably give us more time to take things in and enjoy "being" in France, in that region, rather than trying to cram too many things in. I agree with you that my previous itinerary, particularly the latter part, was perhaps too ambitious, so after consideration, I have decided to skip the trip to Annecy.

We will be arriving and departing Lyon ny air. The first day we arrive in Lyon is a Friday, and we will have gotten over (hopefully) any jet lag because we will have spent a few days in Paris. So we will hit Lyon running.

I have taken much of your advice onboard. Here is the 2nd draft itinerary, without the Provence suggestions:

Friday - arrive in Lyon. Drive to northern Burgundy, stay around the Vezelay region (for 3 nights). Any suggestions for accommodation (e.g. chateau, or nice B&B?) Relax and have a nice dinner somewhere.

Saturday - visit Auxerre in the morning. Lunch in Auxerre. PM visit Tanly Chateau. Then Noyers.

Sunday - Visit Ancy le franc Chateau, then Abbey de Fontenay. Find place for lunch, then go to Semur in Auxois.

Monday _ visit Avallon. (Although the shops may be closed, is this a reason for not visiting Avallon?) Anything else we should not miss whilst in this region? Either stay in Vezelay for the night or drive to Beaune and stay there overnight.

Tuesday - visit the Cote d'Or. Explore a bit of Beaune. Overnight in Beaune.

Wednesday - Dijon Owl walk. Explore Dijon. Overnight in Beaune.

Thursday - Visit Autun and Nolay. Do the scenic route to and from La Rochepot, taking in the castle, La Cave de Pommard, Meursalt, and Puligny Montrachet. Overnight in Beaune.

Friday - the Maconnais area. Start off visiting Tournas, Cormatin, Donzy-le-Pertuis, Solutre Rock, Pouilly, Fuisse, and Macon. This is a suggested day tour that is set out in the book "Driving Around Burgundy and the Rhone Valley" and the total driving distance is around 75 km. Overnight in ???? Beaune? Lyon? someother place?

Saturday - Do the Beaujolais drive (Stu, could you let me have your "very scenic half day drive through Beaujolais" please? Is it the one that you possted at 1207 pm on 3/11/2008? That drive looks complicated!!)

See Lyon at night (is Lyon the city that is lit up at night? Or is it Dijon?) Overnight Lyon.

Sunday - Drive part of the Cote du Rhone route. Visit Vienne, drive south. Visit Tain-Hermitage. Visit Crozes Hermitage and Hermitage on the way. Visit Romans -sur-Isere, and the Palais du Facteur du Cheval. Drive back to Lyon. Overnight Lyon.

Monday - visit Lyon, vist Perouges. Overnight Lyon.

Tuesday - relax, lunch somewhere nice, pack up, return hire car, catch plane to CDG and then back home.

Question:
-how is this draft itinerary looking?
-Should I switch the itinerary for the last Sunday and Monday? (i.e. do Lyon and Perouges on Sunday, and Vienne etc on Monday?)
-Any recommendations for overnight stays in (a) Vezelay or somewhere in the region, e.g. Avalon, Semur en Auzois, etc? (b) area around Beaune, and (c) area around Lyon?

Any other suggestions would be very very welcome!

BooFit is offline  
Mar 15th, 2008, 09:21 AM
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You will need three maps to cover the areas you’re planning to visit
-Michelin Map # 319 for the northern Burgundy area (Auxerre, Tanley, etc) scale 1/150,000
-Michelin Map # 320 for Central Burgundy down to Macon scale 1/175,000
-Michellin Map 327 for Beaujolais, and the Rhone area south of Lyon scale 1/150,000Get the Michelin Green Guide to Burgundy & Jura, for Burgundy & Beaujolais
Michelin Green Guide Augergne Rhone Valley for the Rhone area south of Lyon & Lyon.

When you get to Lyon, go to a touris office & pick up two brochures that describe many Chateaux open in the area;
Route des Ducs de Bourgogne for the Burgundy area www.routedesducs.com
La Route des Cheataux en Bourgogne du Sud for the chateaux around Beaujolais

When you purchase your tickets to the first Chateau in the Burgundy area, save your receipt because that gives you a discount on subsequent Chateaux. We did not discover this until we visited Burgundy – perhaps you can do the same thing for the Beaujolais Chateaux.

>>Friday - arrive in Lyon. Drive to northern Burgundy, stay around the Vezelay region (for 3 nights). Any suggestions for accommodation (e.g. chateau, or nice B&B?) Relax and have a nice dinner somewhere.<<

Read about Vauban in your various guide books. Visit his Chateau at Bazoches just a tad south of Vezelay www.chateau-bazoches.com If you are not jet-lagged you may have time to visit Avallon today.

>>Saturday - visit Auxerre in the morning. Lunch in Auxerre. PM visit Tanly Chateau. Then Noyers.<,

www.chateaudetanlay.com
Remember to pick up the excellent walking tour map at the tourist office which is next to the huge Tour de Horlogue (you won’t miss the horlogue) In Auxerre we parked next to the river & walked into town. Depending on how much you want to pack into a day & how long you take for lunch, you may be able to visit Ancy le Franc also. Tanlay’s first tour in the afternoon departs at 2:15. If it takes 1 hr, it should finish at 3;30. Ancy is very close by. They have a tour at 4 and another at 5. This may not leave you much time for Noyers. Decide after you depart Tanlay. In Noyers, they also have a walking tour map at the tourist office. The walking tour is a little “messy” but it gives you a good map of the town.

>>Sunday - Visit Ancy le franc Chateau, then Abbey de Fontenay. Find place for lunch, then go to Semur in Auxois.<<

Fine www.chateau-ancy.com

>>>Monday _ visit Avallon. (Although the shops may be closed, is this a reason for not visiting Avallon?)<<

We have not visited Avallon. Read about it in the Michelin Guide & do a quick visit on Friday – it’s close to Vezelay

Anything else we should not miss whilst in this region?

Either stay in Vezelay for the night or drive to Beaune and stay there overnight.
<<

I think you’ve hit the highlights. You could head south to Beaune. On the way there, stop at Chateau de Commarin www.commarin.com


>>Tuesday - visit the Cote d'Or. Explore a bit of Beaune. Overnight in Beaune.<,

If you are not “chateaued-out” by now, try Chateau de Sully www.chateaudesully.com

>>Wednesday - Dijon Owl walk. Explore Dijon. Overnight in Beaune.

Thursday - Visit Autun and Nolay. Do the scenic route to and from La Rochepot, taking in the castle, La Cave de Pommard, Meursalt, and Puligny Montrachet. Overnight in Beaune.<<

Nolay is really small. Only visit if you want to browse the antique shops.

>>Friday - the Maconnais area. Start off visiting Tournas, Cormatin, Donzy-le-Pertuis, Solutre Rock, Pouilly, Fuisse, and Macon. This is a suggested day tour that is set out in the book "Driving Around Burgundy and the Rhone Valley" and the total driving distance is around 75 km. Overnight in ???? Beaune? Lyon? someother place?<<

No need to visit Macon. After Auxerre, Dijon, and Beaune – you’re really going to be disappointed. If you want to visit, they have a pretty good market on Saturday – but Beaune’s Sat market is better. Tournas will also be disappointing after Auxerre/Dijon/Beaune. I think you have too much on your plate today. Skip Macon & it’s doable. I have the “book” you mentioned and I used it to tour the area. I also used the Michelin guide. My Beaujolais tour goes past Solutre rock & Pouilly Fusse.

>>>Saturday - Do the Beaujolais drive (Stu, could you let me have your "very scenic half day drive through Beaujolais" please? Is it the one that you possted at 1207 pm on 3/11/2008? That drive looks complicated!!)<<

On Saturdays you need to remember that Sunday & Monday follow, and lots of things in cities are closed then. I would visit Lyon on Saturday & do the Beaujolais tour on Sunday. If you mark the route on the 327 map, it is very easy to follow. Sunday lunch is big in France, so reserve ahead. Also on Sunday, visit the Beaujolais wine museum. It’s a little hoaky at times, but quite interesting. www.hameauenbeaujolais.com Visit the museum first to get a feel for the different wine villages you’ll be passing on the drive, then take my Beaujolais drive. I sent you details about the drive in e-mail – and I’m pretty sure it’s the one you mentioned.

If you want to stay at a winery in Beaujolais that has an excellent B&B, try
http://www.vatre.com/
They also have a Gite, which is where we stayed for 2 weeks while in Beaujolais. The Michelin Red Guide rarely lists B&Bs – but this one is listed. The setting is fabulous – high on a mound surrounded by vineyards. The place has a pool, and there are 360 degree views. You’ll take lots of pics. You can see the wine village of Jullie from the place. The owners speak perfect English.

>>>See Lyon at night (is Lyon the city that is lit up at night? Or is it Dijon?) Overnight Lyon.<<

Like I stated – visit Lyon on Sat & do the wine museum & Beaujolais tour on Sunday.

Sunday - Drive part of the Cote du Rhone route. Visit Vienne, drive south. Visit Tain-Hermitage. Visit Crozes Hermitage and Hermitage on the way. Visit Romans -sur-Isere, and the Palais du Facteur du Cheval. Drive back to Lyon. Overnight Lyon.

>>Monday - visit Lyon, vist Perouges. Overnight Lyon.>>

Visit Lyon on Saturday. Shops will be closed on Monday morning if Lyon is like most cities in France (except Paris).

Any day is fine for visiting Perouges.

After what you’ve already seen in Burgundy & Beaujolais, you’re going to be really disappointed with the area south of Lyon along the Rhone. It’s really crappy, IMO. Not scenic, and the villages are not nearly as interesting as in Burgundy & Beaujolais. We’ve visited Vienne, Tain-Hermitage, and Hermitage. The vineyards are not nearly as pretty as they are in Burgundy or Beaujolais. The Roman ruins & museum across the river from Vienne is OK – but the museum is mainly mosaics – which get a little tedius after a while. The ruins of the Roman village are OK – not great, IMO.

>>Tuesday - relax, lunch somewhere nice, pack up, return hire car, catch plane to CDG and then back home.<<

Question:
>>-how is this draft itinerary looking?
-Should I switch the itinerary for the last Sunday and Monday? (i.e. do Lyon and Perouges on Sunday, and Vienne etc on Monday?)<<

Everything in Lyon will be closed on Sunday (except the museums & churches)


>>-Any recommendations for overnight stays in (a) Vezelay or somewhere in the region, e.g. Avalon, Semur en Auzois, etc? (b) area around Beaune, and (c) area around Lyon?

Any other suggestions would be very very welcome!<<

I sent you my restaurant recommendations for Burgundy & Beaujolais. Also, Auberge de Paridas is a nice place to stay in Beaujolais if the Vatre is not available.

Stu Dudley

StuDudley is online now  
Mar 15th, 2008, 12:50 PM
  #11  
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 14,838
OK – you didn’t ask, but this is what I would do if it was my trip:

You will need three maps to cover the areas you’re planning to visit
-Michelin Map # 319 for the northern Burgundy area (Auxerre, Tanley, etc) scale 1/150,000
-Michelin Map # 320 for Central Burgundy down to Macon scale 1/175,000
-Michellin Map 327 for Beaujolais, and the Rhone area south of Lyon scale 1/150,000Get the ----Michelin Green Guide to Burgundy & Jura, for Burgundy & Beaujolais
-Michelin Green Guide French Alps – make a copy of the Chambery sction and also the Massif de la Chartreuse section

Friday – arrive in Lyon, and drive to Ch Bazouches www.chateau-bazoches.com
then Avallon, then Vezelay. Stay in Vezelay area for 3 nights. Vezelay itself is isolated and quiet – not much going on. If you want to stay in a larger city with lots of restaurants, try Auxerre. I would stay in Auxerre.

Saturday – visit Auxerre, then Tanlay, then Noyers

Sunday – Ancy, Fontenay, Semur en Auxois.

Monday – Head to Beaune, and visit Chateau Commarin on the way. Visit Beaune in the afternoon. Some shops will be closed. You may have some more time available today. Stay in Beaune 4 nights

Tuesday Cote d’Or, Chateau Sully, more Beaune. You may have some more time available today.

Wednesday – Dijon in morning & early afternoon. Ch Rochepot in later afternoon if you have time

Thursday - Nolay, Ch Rochepot, Autun,, La Cave de Pommard, Meursalt, and Puligny Montrachet.

Friday – head south. Tournas, Ch Cormatin - but make sure you know what times they are open so you won’t arrive just as they are closing for lunch. In ’06 in May they were open from 10-12 and 2-5:30. What this really means is that the last tour in the morning probably departs at 11.
Do part of my Beaujolais tour in reverse, from Pierreclos to Domaine Vatre (Jullie la Salle). Stay 3 nights in Vatre (my first choice) http://www.vatre.com/ or at the Auberge du Paradis http://www.aubergeduparadis.fr/

Saturday – Let’s go into the Alps. Take the freeway to Chambery – it’s about a 2 hr drive. Best to do this on a Saturday when shops in Chambery will be open and when there won’t be any commute traffic around Lyon. Remember, things close for lunch – so if you depart Beaujolais at 10 you’ll get there just in time for everything to close for lunch in Chambery. In the Massif de la Chartreuse section of the Alps Green Guide, there is a suggested driving itinerary south of Chambery. We have visited Chambery (one of our favorites), but we’ve never driven in the area (got there by train). We’ll be in this region for 2 weeks in June & I plan on taking the #3 Route des Trois Cols.
Depending on your schedule, Do Route #3 first, then Chambery – or vice versa. I would do the #3 drive first because if I have wine with lunch, I’m not good at drives in the afternoon.
Return to Vatre

Sunday – Visit the morning food & flower market in Villefranche sur Saone.next to the N6. Most of it is inside a big warehouse & it’s quite colorful. Next, visit the southern Beaujolais section. Look up Beaujolais in the Green Guide & take route #3 In the Land of Golden Stone. This is a pretty drive. End the drive at Ternand, which is a cute town. After Ternand, take the scenic D31 northeast from Ternand to le Saule d’Oingt, then the scenic D116 northwest to Chambost. From there follow any route suggested in the Green Guide and get to Beaujeau. From Beaujeau, follow my Beaujolais driving itinerary till you get to Vatre.

Monday – Prepare for commute traffic around Lyon and visit Perouges. There are several places for lunch there. After Perouges, head for Lyon. Dump the car & visit Lyon. Stay in Lyon 2 nights.

Tuesday – visit Lyon more, then head back home.

Stu Dudley

StuDudley is online now  
Mar 22nd, 2008, 07:08 AM
  #12  
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Thank you so much Stu, for your enormous help! I have been quite ill with a very bad flu (never had it so bad before, with fever lasting for 4 days...) Then it was a lot of catching up with work......

Anyway, I resumed my research yesterday. I have modelled it very much on your suggestion in your last post, the main difference is that I will skip the French Alps and spend more time taking in north Burgundy. Here's the revised itinerary:

Friday - arrive in Lyon, drive to Auxerre. Overnight Auxerre.
Question: Viamichellin gives a travelling time of 3hr 10 min. Is this a realistic time?

Saturday - visist Auxerre, Avalon and Vezelay. (Driving in Burgundy route on page 85). Overnight Auxerre.

Sunday - visit Maligny, Chablis, Tanlay, Ancy le Franc. Overnight Auxerre.

Monday - Noyers, Fontenay, Semur-en-Auxois. Overnight Auxerre.

Question: Any recommendation for good accommodation? Iris1745, thanks for your recommendation of Ch de Ribourdin, will make it one of our considerations. Has anyone stayed in a chateau or a self-catering house in this region? We would need 2 bedrooms EACH with its own bathroom.
What about Le Petit Manoir des Bruyeres?
Recommendations for good restaurant?

Are we spending TOO MUCH time in north Burgundy, the Yonne region?

Tuesday - Drive towards Beaune. Visit Chateau Commarin on the way. Arrive in Beaune. Afternoon in Beaune, or maybe start the afternoon by visiting La Rochepot, Nolay and Autun and leave Beaune till tomorrow.

Question: Can we do Beaune, La Rochepot, Nolay and Autun in the same afternoon, leaving Beaune till the last in the afternoon?

Overnight Beaune. Any recommendations for good accommodation? (By "good" I mean rooms that are not too small, clean, not dark/dim, sufficiently strong shower, quiet, preferrably with a view, We prefer a place that is not in the centre of town, not near any main road, with a countryside setting.)

Wednesday - Cote D'Or (plus Beaune?)
Overnight: Beaune area.

Thursday - Dijon.
Overnight: Beaune area

Friday - Drive south. Tournas, Macon, to Domaine Vatre (Jullie la Salle). Check into Vatre (if we manage to book it). Then follow part of the tour set out in page 148 of Driving in Burgundy which takes in Fuisse, Pouilly, Solutre Rock, Cluny. Will we be able to include Brancion? Perhaps not...
Overnight: Vatre.
Suggestions for restaurants in this area?

Saturday - (Alternatively, we can concentrate on Jullie and Julienne etc and enjoy the surrounding area on Friday. We can then visit the rest of the Beaujolais region today).
Overnight: Vatre.

Sunday - Head south. Visit the flower and food market in Villefrance-s-Saone. Drive to Lyon.
Overnight: Lyon. Any suggestions for good accommodation?

Monday - Lyon.
Overnight: Lyon.

Tuesday - Morning in Lyon. PM depart for home.

There is still quite a lot of work to be done on this itinerary, but does this look realistic? Should we cut some places out of the itinerary so as to allow for a more leisurely trip?

To all of you: Many MANY thanks for all the help and suggestions posted here!! Stu: thank you in particular for your very constructive ideas!
BooFit is offline  
Mar 22nd, 2008, 07:46 AM
  #13  
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OH DEAR!!!

Both the Vatre and the Auberge du Paradis are not available!!

Will need to look at other areas tomorrow!! (It is midnight my time now....)
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Mar 22nd, 2008, 08:15 AM
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>>Friday - Drive south. Tournas, Macon, to Domaine Vatre<<

There really isn't much of interest in Macon.

>>(Jullie la Salle). Check into Vatre (if we manage to book it). Then follow part of the tour set out in page 148 of Driving in Burgundy which takes in Fuisse, Pouilly, Solutre Rock, Cluny. Will we be able to include Brancion? Perhaps not...
Overnight: Vatre.
Suggestions for restaurants in this area?<<

I gave you my 3 favorites in the e-mail I sent.

>>Saturday - (Alternatively, we can concentrate on Jullie and Julienne etc and enjoy the surrounding area on Friday. We can then visit the rest of the Beaujolais region today).
Overnight: Vatre.

Sunday - Head south. Visit the flower and food market in Villefrance-s-Saone. Drive to Lyon.
Overnight: Lyon. Any suggestions for good accommodation?

Monday - Lyon.
Overnight: Lyon.<<

Again - Lyon will be rathar dead on Sunday with all the shops closed and few people in the streets. Visit the "Land of the Golden Stone" area & Perouges instead.


>>Tuesday - Morning in Lyon. PM depart for home.

There is still quite a lot of work to be done on this itinerary, but does this look realistic? Should we cut some places out of the itinerary so as to allow for a more leisurely trip?<<

Nope - it's pretty leisurly.

Stu Dudley

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Mar 22nd, 2008, 09:21 AM
  #15  
 
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The Michelin Red Guide has another wine estte B&B listing that sounds like Vatre. It's 1 K from Fleurie. Domaine du Clos des Garands [email protected] The Red Guide says it has "elegent decor". Prices are reasonable.

What happended to the visit to one of our favorite chateaux? - Cormatin. There is a Commarin & Cormatin - two different Chateaux.

Stu Dudley
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May 14th, 2008, 10:10 AM
  #16  
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Thanks, especially to Stu, for the help in planning this itinerary. We are now in France, and I have some time to post a brief report of the trip so far.

Before I go any further, I must thank you Stu, for suggesting we go to Stephane Derbord's restaurant in Dijon. We went there for lunch today and it was simply FANTASTIC! We have eaten many times in Michelin starred establishments, and on this trip in particular, we have had meals at a few good restaurants, but this one really is exceptionally good.

So here goes: my trip report (in brief) so far:

Friday 9 May
[We had spent 3 days in Paris from the 6th to 9th of May before we took a fligt to Lyon].
Arrived in Lyon at around 2 pm and picked up our rental car from Avis. Drove around 4 hours to Lindry, a little village west of Auxerre.

Spent the night in A La Metairie, a B and B which is run by a couple who speak reasonable English and who are most friendly and helpful. We had two rooms, Romantica and Rustica. Both reasonable size with nice ensuite shower and toilet. THere was a private sitting room for the two rooms and it was very comfortable...

A very reasonably priced charming place/

After checking in, we drove to Auxerre for dinner. We had reserved a table at Barnabet which is on 14 Quai Republic (tel: 03 86 51 68 88). I think it is a one starred Michelin restaurant. Dinner was enjoyable, and what amazed us was that a few customers brought their dogs in to stay at the table whilst they were eating!! Wonder what happens if the dog decides to "do its thing" at the table!! The french children that we saw in the restaurant were also very well behaved and had good table manners. No running about or yelling. Remarkable!

Saturday 10th May
WOke up after a night of sound slumber. Breakfast was really good. Fresh breads and croissants, local cheeses, ham, 3 types of jam and preserves, good coffee and decaf as well. Tea was also offered. Homemade cake, fruits, and one day we even had pancakes!!

The owners are very friendly and helpful and provided us with lots of suggestions and pamphlets about places of interest.

We drove to Auxerre and spent the morning walking around. We first picked up a pamphlet from the tourist office and followed the signs and the marked line on the streets. THat made exploring the town really easy.

In the afternoon after lunch we drove to Cravant (pretty village) and then to Vezelay. VIsited the Mary Magdaline Basilica and walked around the back streets of Vezelay. THe main street is rather touristy but the back streets are nice, and some quite pretty.

Dinner was at the Hostellerie de la Poste in Avallon - 13 place Vauban. The food was good, service attentive, but the room was quite warm and this somehow affected our appetites. The place is very popular (we had made reservations at restaurants before we departed for our trip).

Sunday 11 May
After a very good breakfast, we set off for Chablis. We went to the big Sunday street market and loved it. Bought provisions for a picnic lunch (cold cuts, cheeses, olives, fresh breads, tarte du pomme, endives, tomatoes, strawberries and WINE) and then drove to Noyers for a picnic lunch beside the river. Bliss! It was really so enjoyable..

After lunch drove to Tanlay and toured Chateau Tanlay.

Dinner was at Hostellerie des Clos. Now this I found disappointing, and I will tell you why in my next posting becos hubby and friends are waiting for me to go to dinner...
BooFit is offline  
May 14th, 2008, 10:38 AM
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>>and what amazed us was that a few customers brought their dogs in to stay at the table whilst they were eating!!<<

That's very common in France.

>>Wonder what happens if the dog decides to "do its thing" at the table!! <<

We haven't seen that happen - yet - but we've had over 250 restaurant meals in France. I've stepped in a lot of their "thing" on the sidewalks, however.

Glad you enjoyed Stephane Derbord. Our meal there took about 4 hrs - and actually went fast.

Stu Dudley

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May 14th, 2008, 12:34 PM
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Glad to hear of another Stephane Derbaud (sp?) fan. We ate there after a couple of two and three star restaurants and found his food to be as good or better than the others and the price to value ratio to be exceedingly high. It renewed our faith in finding wonderful, reasonably priced dinners to die/dine for in France. Sounds like a wonderful trip you're having.
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May 15th, 2008, 09:17 AM
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The night we visited Hostellerie des Clos in Chablis was a SUnday. The place was packed and maybe this accounted for the lacking in service. There were, in our opinion, not enough waiters. In the area where we were seated there were about 10 tables and we saw mostly 2 servers attending to these tables (and probably to some other tables in the area behind us). The poor servers were rushing about, and one actually had perspiration dripping from the ends of his hair!

The server who served our table was probably rushed - when he poured our wine more often than not he extended his arm right across in front of the face of my husband (seated on my right hand side) or across the face of my other friends. AND this was done whilst the person was talking to another. Once the forks and knives were not laid until after the dish had arrived in front of the person. We also saw another table of 2 guests being annoyed at the wanting in service, the gentleman had to get up to get his bottle of wine to pour.

The food - generally good. My foie gras was in fact heavenly, but the pigeon was overcooked. I (and another friend) had ordered pigeon "medium with a little bit of pink" but it came fully cooked.

By and large, it was a good restaurant, perhaps that night was especially busy so the service was not up to what we would expect of a starred establishment...

Monday 12 May
We set off after breakfast and drove to Chatillon-sur-Seine. Visited the Chatillonais Museum. This museum houses the Treasures of VIx and the contents of the tomb of a princess together with her gold jewellery and other possessions. Most impressive of all was an enormous bronze vase, which could hold up to 1100 litres of wine. Definitely worth seeing...

In the afternoon, we visited the Abbey de Fontenay. This is an oldcistercian abbey and is classified in the UNESCO World Heritage List. Saw the amazing restoration of the hydraulic hammer in the monk's forge. Since 2004, students of eight universities (France, Italy, Czech Republic, Germany, Romania, Poland) have been taught by their tutors and an expert in Medieval metallurgy from the University of Paris, and with the help of artisans they have come together and reconstructed this historic system, respecting the true historical facts. The hydraulic hammer which is a water wheel 5 meters in diameter and a drive-axle 9 meters long, have all been amde fromseveral tons of ancient oak and is truly exceptional. I think it was only completed recently so we were lucky to see the finished product!

After this, we then drove on to the small fortress town of Semur-en Auxois. THis is a very beautiful town of cobbled lanes, medieval gateways and beautiful views. The castle is interesting because on its exterior it has a large "crack" and looks very vulnerable. THere is a lovely pedestrian street and we stopped at the patissierie Les Semurettes to purchase Gateau Mont-Auxois, which we read somewhere was a local treat. Apparently the owner or the chocolatier participated in the making of the film Chocolat,and supplied many of the ancient tools of the trade.

We had dinner at Auberge Les Tilleuls. This is on 12 quai Yonne Vincellot. The chef Alain Renaudin was very friendly, taking time to explain the ingredients and the receipes. The food was great, and fresh. THe dessert of strawberries cooked in a local wine Ratafia was very very good and refreshing. The Bresse deboned breast of chicken stuffed with foie gras and steamed for three hours was also very good, as were the other pates which were served as appetisers. We had a table by the river Seine, and were accompanied by the sunset and ducks swimming on the river whilst we had our meal. Thoroughly enjoyable!


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May 21st, 2008, 06:55 AM
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May 13 (Tuesday)
Checked out and drove to Chateau "Les Roches", where we stayed for three nights. This lovely place is run by Tobias and Marco and is situated in a village called Mont Saint Jean. Initially (before we departed for our trip) we thought it would be rather out of the way, but decided to stay there nevertheless because it really looked and "felt right" and there was a good review about it. We were so very pleasantly surprised that it was actually very well placed to explore Dijon, Beaune, the Cote d'Or region and places like Le Rochepot. The roads were interesting and more often than not provided scenic views and driving through was very pleasant. The place is newly renovated and are of a good size with good bathrooms and great views. Tobias and Marco are most helpful and friendly hosts and totally none intrusive as well. Guests have their own little kitchen with fridge and tea and coffee making facilities, and the best of it is that there is a lovely comfortable reading lounge with free internet access and computer provided, as well as another TV sitting room and library where guests can relax in. It really felt like a home away from home. We definitely recommend it as a place to stay whilst exploring Burgundy.

After checking in we drove to Vandenesse en Auxois and had lunch at a Restaurant called de l'Auxois. Had a pleasant meal and after that walked along the Burgundy canal. Then drove to Chateauneuf en Auxois. This is positioned high on a hill and overlooks the Burgundy canal. It is a very pretty village that has a fairy tale feel to it. We saw a busload of tourists just sketching the place....

Dinner was at a little restaurant in the village where we were staying. Food was good, apparently people from other villages drive here for dinner, and the place was fairly busy for a Tuesday drizzly evening in a small village.

May 14 (Wednesday)
Breakfast was served on the terrace, and was a good selection of fruit, ham, cheese, cereals, croissants and breads.

After breakfast we drove to Dijon to explore the town. Had lunch at Stephane Derbord's Restaurant in 10 Place Wilson, Dijon. We thought it was the BEST meal we had in this trip. 3 of us had the 62Euro menu and I chose from the a la carte menu - starter Escargots - very nicely done with tomatoes, garlic, olives and crutons. Main course was turbot and to end I had the "dessert sampler" which was simply heavenly. Service was highly professional, friendly and helpful. The chef's wife greeted each guest at their table and the waiters were attentive without being intrusive. The wine list was very good and we accompanied our meal with a Puligny-Montrachet 2005 and a Vosne-Romane 2005. Left vowing to return again when we visit this area next time, and it was even suggested that we should stay at the Hotel Wilson next door and have many meals at this restaurant.

Explored more of Dijon after lunch and by this time it had started raining quite heavily. We went into a wine shop (recommended by the Sommelier of Stephane Derbord's restaurant) situated in Rue Musette and had a nice discussion with him about Burgundy wines. Ended up buying some to sample and then decided to call it a day.

Shortly after we returned to Les Roches, it started pouring, with thunder and lightning. We therefore decided to stay indoors and the owners kindly prepared a place of cold cuts, various cheeses, pickles and bread for us. We sat in the dining room enjoying our food and wine until it was time for bed.

May 15 (Thursday)
This morning we set off to explore Beaune and the Cote d'Or. Managed to find a parking spot right next to the Hotel Dieu (Hospices de Beaune). This is a very well preserved Hospice build in 1443 by Nicolas Rolin and his wife. Nicolas Rolin was the Chancellor of Philippe-le-Bon and he not only founded this Hospice for the Poor, but also endowed it with an annual income (a saltworks) and its own resources (vines). The Grand Hall of the Poor is really remarkable and the decor and panelling is amazing! The courtyard is also extraordinary. The kitchen apparently continued to function until 1985. There is a huge dual hearth fireplace and the most spectacular item is a little robot which is at the end of a steel spit.

Lunch was at Loiseau des Vignes at 31 rue Maufoux, a short walk away from Hotel Dieu. We recommend this restaurant highly as well. (We learnt later that the restaurant is somehow connected with Bernard Loiseau as his portrait was hanging on the wall near the entrance). What we found amazing is that their wine list was amazing and many varieties were served by the glass. (This could actually add up quite considerably. We had an 8cl Puligny 05 Leflaive which was 34 Euros; a 12 cl Meursault 02 Jobard which was 21 Euros; a 12 cl Grd-Echezeaux 04 Mongeard which was 43 Euros; and an 8 cl of the last kind at 28 Euros.) The good thing was that each could pair his or her wine to what type of food he or she was having.

After lunch we explored the southern part of Cote d'or - Puligny Montrachet etc. Visited Le Rochepot (a must see in our view). Then drove back to Les Roches for dinner. The owners Tobias and Marco are very good cooks as well and every Thursday and Saturdays they serve dinner not only to guests but also to non-guests. The evening we had dinner there there were others from nearby who actually spend a lot of their time living in France.

It is late now. A bientot.

BooFit is offline  

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