A great trip for food and wine buffs, with walking that is gentle to start with and progressing to moderate grade as the week unfolds. Burgundy's natural riches and its complex history bear testimony to its fine heritage. It is a beautiful and fertile land where farmers, foresters, and above all wine growers skills have nurtured the landscape for more than a thousand years. The reputation of Burgundy's cuisine has travelled the world and the very word Burgundy is synonymous with the finest wines. Burgundy is a multifaceted landscape just waiting to be explored, and, as elsewhere in France, the best way to savour it, is to explore on foot its peaceful lanes and byways. Travellers will discover a fabled land of mediaeval chateaux, ancient monasteries and fragrant breezes where the art of living is pursued to near perfection at a gentle unhurried pace. Beaune is the hub of Burgundy’s wine industry, at the heart of a cluster of prestigious vineyards such as the Cote d’Or, Cote de Beaune and Cote de Nuits and is the obvious place to start our trip. The first walking day is just 3 hours on foot to Meursault; a gentle start allowing time to visit the sights in Beaune and sample some wine in the village of Pommard on route. Don’t miss the imposing mansion of the Dukes of Burgundy, the basilica of Notre Dame and the most famous of all the sights in Beaune, the steep pitched patterned roofs of the Hotel Dieu. A circular walk to Saint Romain includes a ruined chateau and a 12th century church as well as some beautiful scenery and a great restaurant for lunch. A steady climb from Meursault, to join the ‘Grande Randonnee’ paths, takes in mature oak forests before descending to the village and stunning chateau of La Rochepot. A visit to the chateau is a must before walking on to Nolay, a village of fine mediaeval buildings, narrow streets and half-timbered houses. The second half of the week is a little more taxing and involves walking an average of just over 18km per day and ascents of about 500m climbing onto the escarpment and hilltops for glorious views as far as the Alps. There is still time however to enjoy the delights of Rully, the ancient Chateau of Montaigu, the produce of the Cotes Chalonnaises and many more sleepy hamlets and villages. The landscape is a mix of vineyards on the lower slopes, woodlands on the edge of the plateau, and pastures and arable land above 380m on the plateau. Conditions underfoot are good with many of the tracks through the vineyards surfaced even though there is little or no traffic; lightweight boots are all you will need.
This tour is graded Easy – Moderate (Grade 2) Fitness: This walk should present no difficulties for anyone in reasonable condition and accustomed to day walks in undulating countryside. Day stages: 10km to 20km (24km without use of taxi on last day) per day with altitude gains varying from very little to 500m. 3 to 6 hours walking per day. This itinerary is planned to allow time to visit historic sites and vineyards along the route. Entrance fees and wine tasting is not included.
The first and last nights are spent in a very old and comfortable 3* hotel in the historical part of Beaune. Situated just a couple of hundred metres from the town centre in a quiet back street this hotel incorporates the old city walls in its structure. Rooms are well presented and there is a breakfast room and pleasant courtyard where you can sit and relax with a refreshing drink. These two nights are arranged on a bed and breakfast basis, as there is a wide selection of restaurants close by.
The village of Meursault is 10 km / 6.2 miles southwest of Beaune in the middle of the vineyards. The virtually flat walk is easily done in 4 hours including a stop over at the café in the famous village of Pommard. We have designed this short first day in order to have time to visit the Hospices de Beaune and perhaps have an early lunch in Beaune before setting off to Meursault.
Accommodation: For two nights unpack and make yourself at home in this comfortable 2* hotel on the main square of the pretty village of Meursault. It is reputedly the centre of the best chardonnay production in Burgundy and is therefore the best place to do a little tasting to introduce yourself to the produce of the land! On one night in Meursault, dinner will be taken at the hotel as we believe it has just about the best restaurant in town. The other night is on a bed & breakfast basis.
The standard walk from here is a 16 km / 10 mile loop to the beautiful village of Saint Romain. The ruins of the chateau include Roman foundations and the XII century church was an old ‘prieuré’ or small monastery. The restaurant in the village provides the best lunch break. There is approx. 220m of ascent and descent during the day but nothing too steep or demanding; there is plenty of time to take the walking at a gentle pace.
Today leave the vineyards and after a steady climb of 140m, meet the GR76 and walk in the shade of the typical oak forests of Burgundy. Coming out of the woods, see the village of La Rochepot with the stunning château of the same name. There is a good local restaurant in the village and the visit of the chateau is well worthwhile. From La Rochepot, follow the GR7 before descending to the old market town of Nolay.
Accommodation: A 2* hotel on the old market square in Nolay provides a convenient nights stop on the route.
Trips starting Sunday to Wednesday - during the first 6 km, gradually ascend 200m through lovely pastures shared with the Charolais cows, (of which Burgundy is very proud). Once on top of the ridge and before going down to the village of Santenay, there are wide reaching views of the Saone plain with the Alps in the distance. Then follow the GR7, walk across the Canal du Centre, walk up and down the Hermitage Mountain before descending through the vineyards of Rully.
Trips starting Thursday to Saturday; Nolay to Chassey le Camp. During the first 6 km, gradually ascend 200m through lovely pastures shared with the Charolais cows, (of which Burgundy is very proud). Once on top of the ridge and before going down to the village of Santenay, there are wide reaching views of the Saone plain with the Alps in the distance. Then follow the GR7, walk across the Canal du Centre and walk up to Chassey le Camp.
Accommodation: Sunday to Wednesday - our hotel is on the main square, this time in the typical vineyard village of Rully. The owner has the strong local accent and is very proud of his roots. He is a fine host and changes the restaurant menu every day offering a variety of local dishes. Rully will be our base to explore what is called here the Côtes Chalonaises. No doubt wine tasting will be a possibility!
Thursday to Saturday are spent at the Auberge du Camp Romain a 3 star hotel with spa and swimming pool in Chassey le Camp. This is approximately 4 km from Rully.
From Rully - 14 km / 8.6 miles or 17 km / 10.5 miles, 5 hours +452m/-452m
From Chassey le Camp - 16 km / 10 miles or 19 km / 11.8 miles, 4 - 5hours
A very pretty walk on the Côte Chalonnaise. There is a mixture of vineyard, field and forest walking. You could visit any ‘Caves’ wine cellars that you find open en route, but as long as you are not too late back for dinner, you can normally visit one in Rully from where it is not so hard to stagger back to Chassey le Camp! Clockwise loop to the villages of Mercurey, Rully and Nantoux. A very pretty walk on the Côte Chalonnaise.
From Rully - 24.5 km / 15 miles, 6 hours
From Chassey le Camp - 23 km / 14.2 miles, 6 hours
A long day northwards back to Beaune across undulating ground. Cross the Canal du Centre at the village of Remigny and walk through the famous vineyards of Chassagne and Puligny Montrachet. Walk on through the village of Volnay on the way back to Pommard. From here you can either retrace the route from day two for 4 km / 2.4 miles back into Beaune or call for a taxi (not included).
Depart Beaune after breakfast.
Most memorable part of your trip? The scenery specifically, vineyards and trees dressed in Autumn colours and small villages. Accommodation good, cuisine excellent.
A. Potter., Brighton, SA, Australia
Per Person, Twin Share