FRANCE’S BURGUNDY WALK
For much of its history, Burgundy was a powerful and independent state. There is a strong sense of pride in Burgundy’s regional identity. Burgundy was once a great Celtic kingdom ruled over by Vercingetorix, the last of France’s great Celtic kings. Vercingetorix made the mistake of fighting the Romans rather than negotiating. Unfortunately, he was opposed by the Roman general, Julius Caesar, and his crack legions. The drama ended with Caesar triumphant and Vercingetorix brought to Rome in chains and executed. From then on, France was to be dominated by Latin influences at the expense of Celtic influence.
Today, Burgundy is one of the richest regions of France and its historic towns and cities are the product of many centuries of civilization. The region is best known for producing some of the world’s finest wines. But for the student of art, architecture, or history, Burgundy is also a feast.
This walk takes you through some of the most famous and beautiful towns and villages of Burgundy. Your walk starts in Auxerre, the capitol of lower Burgundy, and a sleepy little town on the banks of the Yonne River. This is a beautiful town with the Cathedral St. Etienne dominating the skyline and famous polychrome roofs on many buildings.
You will also visit the wine center town of Chablis. This quaint little stone town is at the northernmost point of the great Burgundy vineyards. You will get a chance to sample the excellent cuisine of this region and try the wine in one of the town’s excellent restaurants.
But the walk is of interest to nature lovers also. As Burgundy is one of the great watershed regions of France, there is a wide variety of wildlife in the area and the plant life is impressive.
Your accommodations will be in a combination of Bed-and-Breakfasts and hotels and are equipped with private bathrooms.
Pick-up at pre-set time at the train station.
Leaving Auxerre, you go to the Saint Loup church (12th century) at Vaux, near the Yonne river. You will walk through the cherry trees and the stone fountains from Vallan and then you’ll arrive at Gy-I’EvEque where you will see the beautiful Christ aux Orties a 16th century wood statue. You’ll stop at Escolives after a visit to Coulanges-la-Vineuse (vineyard museum in the middle of old houses). Dinner with a wine grower in an old fortified farm from the 17th century. Night in a bed and breakfast. Walk: 6 hours.
You’ll cross the Yonne river at Vincelottes to follow a path through vineyards and orchards bringing you to the nice little village Irancy, homeland of Soufflot, the architect who designed Louvres Palace, in Paris (art museum). This village produces the greatest red and rose wines from this country. Then you’ll go to Saint-Bris-Le-Vineux where a visit of its 13th century church will let you discover many artistic treasures. At the end of the day you’ll enjoy the Roman church in Quenne. Short transfer to Auxerre, dinner in a restaurant and night at the hotel. Walk: 5 hours.
After breakfast, transfer to Quenne. You’ll walk through hills and visit Chitty, a little wine-producing village, where you will see a beautiful church from the 13th century which was fortified in the 14th century during The Hundred Years War. At Courgis, you’ll enter into the Chablis vintage territory. The writer Restif de la Bretonne (1734-1806) went to school in this village. Crossing the vineyard of Montmains and Vaillons vintages, you will reach the Chablis village. Dinner and overnight in a great hotel where the King of Spain Alphonse XIII, the Aga Khan, Rockefeller, Sacha Guitry, Mistinguette and the writer Jean Cocteau who wrote at this place during the year 1930 “la Voix Humaine,” all stayed. Walk: 6 hours.
Day 5 Chablis, the little city crossed by the Serein river, gives its name to the prestigious surrounding vineyards. It’s the homeland of this well known white wine, dry and light, finely flavored which is elaborated with Chardonnay grape. A short trip on the hill through the vineyard, to discover the seven great vintages giving Chablis its universal reputation. Visit of wine caves and enjoy a wine tasting. Afternoon bus transfer to Vezelay. Visit of the town standing on a hill overlooking the Cure valley and the Sainte Madeleine basilica. From this place Saint Bernard, the Cistercian monk in year 1146, called to arms the Christiandom for the 2nd crusade. Dinner in a restaurant and overnight at the hotel. Walk: 2 hours.
You will enjoy this way from Vezelay to Avallon crossing the village d’ Asquins, where the pilgrims going to Saint Jacques de Compostelle used to stop. You’ll see the Fontete chapel from the 16th century. The village of Tharoiseau, sitting like an eagle nest overhanging the Cousin valley, will offer you a wonderful view. Then through the forest, by a striking canyon, on your way to reach Avallon. Dinner and overnight in a 4 star hotel-Hotel de la Poste; from the 18th century (where Napoleon stopped) with comfortable old style rooms and dining room. Walk: 5-6 hours.
Visit of Avallon. Pretty village. with beautiful stone houses. This town. perched onto a granite hill surrounded by two canyons, hides behind its middle age walls many lovely old houses. Into the Saint Lazare collegiate church you will admire many painted wood statues from the 14th 15th 16th centuries. Drop off in the late morning at the Avallon train station.