When you conjure up the Burgundy wine region of France, in your mind’s eye, what do you see? Think about it for a moment before reading further. Now, did you envision green vineyards as far as the eye can see, stunning countryside with a historic church steeple rising on the horizon, granite cliffs and maybe a french castle on the hill? Sounds pretty great, right?
Now, take it a step further, in your mind’s eye, and picture yourself riding bicycles through those vineyards, as well as along the cobble-stoned streets of quaint French villages that dot the landscape. That, my friends, is exactly what we experienced as we rode through the vineyards with Active Tours just outside of Beaune, France. It was a picture postcard perfect day.
It had been a l-o-n-g time since we’d ridden mountain bikes. We used to ride quite often but all of the changes in our lives over the past 5 years included selling our bicycles in the downsizing. We rode bicycles with Fraulein Maria in Salzburg, but they had high handle bars and big cushy seats. It’s true what they say though, you never forget how to ride a bicycle. I wonder why that is. Anyway, I have to admit 16 miles on a mountain bike through the Burgundy wine region was a bit more of a challenge than I bargained for, but it was well-worth me aching arse. And, I played it smart by accepting a ride in the van rather than attempting to climb a fairly steep hill.
You know when the airline pilot announces that the plane will be encountering light turbulence and you’re thinking, yeah, right, light turbulence. Ha! The same logic applies when your bicycle tour guide says there will be a slightly steep hill coming up. You better believe I put my bike on the trailer and caught a ride in the van. I knew I’d have to get off and walk my bike up that damn hill. And, my decision was applauded by those in the group who did in fact walk their bikes up the hill.
Upon arriving in Dijon a few days before our bicycle tour, we stepped off of the train to 90+ degree temperatures and the forecast for our originally scheduled tour date called for 100% chance of rain. Hmmm… not ideal either way. We postponed by one day and it was definitely the right choice. Although we wore long sleeves to ward off a slight chill in the air, the rain held off and the puffy gray clouds against the blue sky and the green hillsides set the scene for a perfect day.
Truth be told I’m not much of a wine drinker and I don’t have an appreciative palate for fine wine, but I do know what I enjoy and I’ve been told that’s what counts. Or, at least that’s what I tell myself. But, Abi definitely appreciates fine wine – having been in the restaurant business for 20+ years – and he thoroughly enjoyed our cellar tour and tasting at Chateau de Chassagne Montrachet. It was as if he’d come full circle from purchasing their wine for our restaurant 20+ years ago, and actually being at the winery. Really quite a special experience.
Spending the day with the crew of Active Tours, riding through the vineyards, enjoying three tastings and savoring a delicious lunch with a cordial group of people, all made for a fantastic day in the Burgundy wine region of France.
Our tour was sponsored in part by Active Tours. To see more photos from our day, please visit our Facebook and Instagram pages. Especially, if you want to see the photos from our decidedly delicious lunch. Oh-la-la!