Getting around Burgundy – Lonely Planet

Given the naturally dashing topography of this rural region – verdant hills, vineyards, glistening golden mustard fields and ancient forests crisscrossed with canals, rivers and pretty country roads – trips to Burgundy tend to be as memorable as the final destination.

It is one of the most beautiful countryside in France and slow travel is the secret to navigating the bucolic landscapes of Burgundy. Walkers, hot air balloons and boaters who stroll between villages, vineyards and secluded abbeys at a snail pace are rewarded with smoldering romantic views directly on a Turner canvas.

Public transport connects the main towns, but further afield you’ll need your own wheels – two or four – to get around efficiently and unearth the wealth of unique Burgundy experiences seemingly in the middle of nowhere: the Market de Louhans, a historic poultry market overflowing with squawking chickens, capons and fattened hens, is a classic example.

Navigating Burgundy by car offers a lot of freedom © Philip Norton / Getty Images

Driving in Burgundy

Driving around Burgundy is relaxed. The regional capital Dijon and the “big” cities like Beaune and Mâcon are still small for urban destinations, with simple traffic systems and easy parking, some free Where non-paying: in Dijon, go to the free parking lot at Place Suquet, a 10-minute walk from the old town; and in Beaune, park outside the city walls on Place Madeleine, again an easy walk to the historic heart.

The A6 motorway crosses the region from north to south, providing rapid links between Auxerre, Vézelay, Beaune, Mâcon and other towns. In Beaune, the A31 goes north to Dijon and the A36 east into the neighboring Jura. Check tolls, fuel costs and travel times between cities on Autoroutes.fr. When you’re on the road, tune in to Autoroute Info (107.7 MHz, Twitter @AutorouteINFO) for 24-hour traffic information.

Carpooling, where passengers help cover fuel costs, is popular. BlaBlaCar is the French national system connecting travelers looking for carpooling and motorists taking the same path. In the region, public transport operators Mobigo and Divia, based in Dijon, both run their own very successful car-sharing programs.


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Take the bus and tram in Burgundy

Getting around Burgundy by bus requires the patience of a saint and careful planning. Buses connecting to towns and villages are limited, less frequent on Sundays and during school holidays, and non-existent in some rural areas. Count only on buses and you’ll miss some of Burgundy’s greatest treasures.

Mobigo is a unique portal for bus services throughout the region, bringing together bus operators in Burgundy: Divia Mobilités operates the buses and trams of the Dijon metropolis, Côte & Bus covers Beaune and its surroundings, TRéMA manages the Mâconnais, etc. Mobigo’s trip planner, interactive network maps and timetables are handy digital tools.

Traveling by train through Burgundy

If you are new to Burgundy and see the main urban sites for a few days, the train journey works. The comfortable regional trains operated by TER Bourgogne-Franche-Comté provide a sustainable way to travel between major cities Dijon, Beaune, Mâcon, Auxerre and a host of key wine villages (like Nuits-St-Georges) in between.

Check the timetables and buy your tickets online, via the SNCF Oui.SNCF smartphone application, or at any station. Bicycles run free of charge on regional trains. Before boarding a train, paper tickets must be validated by time stamping them in a composter, a yellow post located on the way to the quay. If you forget (or don’t have a ticket), find a conductor on the train before they find you – or risk a fine.

France, Burgundy, Aloxe-Corton, man cycling along a tree-lined road
The beautiful Burgundy countryside is a bliss for cycling © Peter Adams / Getty Images

Cycling, e-bike and e-scooter in Burgundy

The beautiful Burgundy countryside is a bliss for cycling, with an extensive network of secondary and tertiary roads promising a peaceful cruise with very little traffic. The area boasts 3000 km (1,864 miles) of marked trails cycle routes (cycle routes): the Voie des Vignes, winding picturesquely for 23 km from Beaune to Nolay; the Green Way from Chalon-sur-Saône to Mâcon via Cluny (70km); and the Voie Bleue fluviale from Chalon-sur-Saône to Mâcon along the Saône via Tournus (61km) are classic walks. Several mid-range and high-end wine hotels offer guided tours by electric bike of chateaux and wine villages. One Up Tour in Chablis organizes vineyard tours by electric scooter.

Serious cyclists can tackle a tour of the entire region – a circular loop stuck to the edge of the canal towpaths (towpaths), disused railway tracks and dedicated cycle paths over much of its 664 km (412 miles). Another path follows the course of the Burgundy Canal from Dijon to Migennes (225 km). Buckets of more suggested itineraries, maps and guides can be found on the complete Burgundy section of the excellent France Vélo Tourisme website.

You can rent regular bikes and electric bikes in Dijon, Beaune and other big cities. The Dijon public transport company Divia Mobilités operates the DiviaVélodi bicycle sharing system, with 400 bicycles ready to be picked up at 40 stations in the city. Insert a credit card, get an access code, choose a PIN code and go. A 24/7 subscription costs 1.50 € / 7. The first 30 minutes are free, then € 2 for each additional 30 minutes.

Discover Burgundy on foot

Burgundy has thousands of kilometers of hiking trails, including sections of the GR2, GR7 and GR76 long-distance routes. Varied local trails take you through some of France’s most delightful wine regions, including the world famous vineyards of Côte d’Or, Chablis and Mâconnais.

Rural trails crisscross the Morvan Regional Natural Park (several departures from the Maison du Parc in St-Brisson). You can also take undemanding and family-friendly trails in successful rural sites such as the Abbey of Fontenay, Autun, Avallon, the vast abbey church of Cluny, Noyers-sur-Serein and the top of the hill of Vézelay.

Barge approaches a lock while cruising on the Petit Saône river, Haute-Saône, Bourgogne Franche-Comte France
Sailing the serene canals of Burgundy is the last word on a leisurely journey © Getty Images

River navigation in Burgundy

Transport and tranquility are usually incompatible – but not if you hire a houseboat and cruise the 1,200 km (745 miles) of serene canals and navigable rivers of Burgundy at a zen pace of 6 km / h (3.5 mph ), stopping at your leisure to pick up fresh produce. baked croissants for breakfast, lunch in a village bistro or explore a chateau winery by bike. Navigating the efficient system of locks along the Canal de Bourgogne, Canal du Center, Canal Lateral à la Loire and Canal du Nivernais is as energetic as it gets.

Local rental companies like France Afloat offer boats from March to October; the canals close for repairs in winter. The boats can accommodate from two to 12 passengers and are fully equipped with compact sleeping, cooking and bathroom facilities.

Accessible transport in Burgundy

Burgundy, like the rest of France, presents constant challenges for visitors with reduced mobility – cobblestones, hilltop villages, narrow sidewalks cluttered with coffee tables, budget hotels with no lifts. But with careful planning, an accessible stay is quite possible.

About Thomas Thorton

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