Day 1: To Beaune. You will be pre-booked into an old renovated family house, in the heart of the Vielle Ville (old town). Beaune is best known for: Red, Pinot Noir, although plantings of Chardonnay have increased recently. There is more sand in the soil here than in most Cote d'Or villages; the red wines tend to be no more than medium bodied, best drunk between 5 to 10 years old. Town: Internet, ATM, shops, all facilities. Hotel: 3* hotel in the old town center, great restaurant, room en-suite. Includes: (D).
Day 2: Beaune-Pommard-Meursault (3 h, 10 km). The morning is free in order to visit the medieval city of Beaune. Not to be missed: the Hotel Dieu (France's most beautiful medieval charity hospital), the Basilique Notre-Dame dating from 11th-15th century and the "Musee du Vin de Bourgogne". Then after an early lunch, it's an easy 10 km to Meusault, on mostly flat ground. On the way we will stop in Pommard, for our first tasting opportunity. Here we will advise on where to taste some good stuff! Later we reach the town of Meursault, another Giant of the place, for a relaxing evening in the vineyards. Pommard is best known for: the most powerful red wines of the Cote de Beaune district from Pinot Noir grapes. Meursault is best known for: mainly white wines from the Chardonnay grape. Although it contains no Grand Cru vineyards, the wines of the best Premier Crus are rarely surpassed. Town: shops. Hotel: 2* hotel or equivalent, en-suite. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 3: Meursault-St. Romain-Meursault (4 h, 14 km, +/-251 m). Today there is a circular walk to St. Romain, along a hilly trail in the vineyards with the possibility of tasting the wine en-route. The village, one of the oldest in the area, is encircled by steep cliffs and rocky peaks, spectacular historical sites: castle ruins, Roman remains and the "Prieure" dating from the 12th Century. St. Romain is best known for: its Appellation Controlee status since 1947. The soil here is more suitable for producing white than red wine. This is a village which is rather more successful in Chardonnay than in Pinot Noir. Town: Internet, ATM, shops. All facilities. Hotel: 2* hotel or equivalent, en-suite. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 4: Meursault to Nolay (5 h, 16 km). We quit the vineyards today and climb the hill above, meeting the GR76 (a variant of the GR7; a long distance trail that crosses France East to West), to walk in the shade of an oak forest, typical of Burgundy. Coming out of the wood, the view of the fascinating Chateau "La Rochepot" are stunning. The restaurant in the middle of the village serves local specialties and is the best place to stop for lunch. We recommend a visit to the Chateau after lunch. Finally, we follow the GR7 to the small Medieval market town of Nolay. Nolay is worth exploring, with his 14th Century market and wooden framed houses. Town: ATM, shops. All facilities. Hotel: 2* hotel or equivalent, en-suite. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 5: Nolay to Rully (5 h, 18 km). Gentle ascent for the first few km through green pastures, shared with the massive Charolay cows. At the top, we are rewarded with wide views of the Soane plain with the Alps in the background. Next, we reach the village of Santenay, for a well deserved rest and a wine tasting. We follow the GR7 across the Canal du Centre, then up Hermitage Mountain, and down through the vineyards to Rully. Please note that if you start the trip on a Friday or Saturday, we will stop in Chassey le Camp, a small hamlet 1km before Rully. Santenay is best known for: red wines from Pinot Noir grapes and, occasionally, whites. The soils in Santenay tend to be richer than the rest of the Cote de Beaune and, as a result, wines are more rustic than elegant. Rully is best known for: its dry whites, made from the Chardonnay grape. These are straightforward and easy to drink. Town: ATM, shops. All facilities. Hotel: 2* hotel or equivalent, en-suite. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 6: Rully-Mercurey-Rully (5 h, 18 km). A pleasant walk winding through the vineyards and the "Cote chalonaise", to the village of Mercurey and its much-acclaimed strong wine. On the way we will pass the ancient "Chateau de Montaigu". But to visit, you will have to taste their wines. Back to Rully via the GR7 and through the sleepy villages of Aluze and Nantoux. Mercurey is best known for: being pretty much the largest producer of the Cote Chalonnaise. 90% of this wine is red. Pinot Noir is the principal grape variety which is firm, if a little rough when young, but ages well. Town: Internet, ATM, shops. All facilities. Hotel: 2* hotel or equivalent, en-suite. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 7: Rully to Beaune (5 h, 15 km, or 24 km for the full trip). Finally, we head back to Beaune, across an undulating landscape, and among some of the best vineyards in the area. We cross the "Canal du Centre" again at the village of Remigny and soon cross the famous vineyards of Chassagne and Puligny Montrachet. Soon after Blagny, we ascend to Mont Melian, to cross the villages of Auxey-Duresses, Volnay and Pommard. From here, you can either retrace the route from day 2 for 4 km to Beaune, or alternatively, call a taxi (not included). Chassagne Montrachet is best known for: its white wines, made from the Chardonnay grape, rather than its red. The village has a number of Grand Cru, Premier Cru, and produces wines at "village" level as well. Puligny Montrachet is best known for its fine white wines.
The village has a number of Grand Cru vineyards, Premier Cru and "Village" wines. Blagny is best known for: its Appellation status red wines. Auxey-Duresses is best known for: its medium-priced red and white wines - not dissimilar to those of Volnay and Meursault. Pinot Noir is the grape of red wines and Chardonnay, for white. Volnay is best known for: producing elegant red wines from the Pinot Noir grape. More than half of Volnay's vineyards have Premier Cru status and stretch from Pommard to Meursault. As Meursault is really known for its white wines, the single red wine vineyard of Les Santenots is sold as Volnay Santenots. Town: Internet, ATM, shops, all facilities. Hotel: Same hotel as on day 1. We haven't included the dinner here, as we thought it would be more interesting for you to choose from the hundreds of fabulous restaurants tonight. Includes: (B).
Day 8: Beaune: end of the trip. After breakfast, we bid you farewell. Town: Internet, ATM, shops. All facilities. Hotel: Same hotel as on day 1. We haven't included the dinner here, as we thought it would be more interesting for you to choose from the hundreds of fabulous restaurants tonight. Includes: (B).
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