After a few days in big European cities there’s nothing better than getting out into country side on a biking tour whether it’s for a day or a week.
Dijon, the capital of the Burgundy region is a great place to start. It’s a historic, medieval town approximately two hours south of Paris by train. The Canal de Bourgogne (Burgundy) is just out of the town and spans 242 kilometres with a wonderful cycling trail adjacent and 189 locks to allow boats up and down the canal.
Construction of the canal started in the late 1700’s during the reign of Louis XVI and took 67 years to complete providing a means to connect the north and south of France.
Before I go any further I need to tell you I’m not an expert as we only cycled 25 kilometres of the trail from Dijon to a beautiful town called Velars-sur Ouche. Had we known what we know now, we would we have planned to cycle further and stay at some of the many villages along the way.
If you plan to cycle for the day and come back to Dijon as we did, it’s easy. You’ll need a bike so head to Port du Canal, a short tram ride from Dijon’s historic town. The bike shop, Les 2 Roues Electriques and is just across the road from the tram stop at Port du Canal. They hire excellent mountain bikes and electric bikes if you are so inclined, for as long as you like.
However, if you are planning on biking the whole of the Canal de Bourgogne it’s a little more involved. There are many places to start your cycling tour depending on your time constraints, were you want to end up and what you want to see.
Maggie LaCoste, a biking enthusiast who describes biking in France as the ultimate slow travel adventure has written a great article – Top Reasons to Bike the Burgundy Canal This Summer. As well as making many great suggestions she talks about luggage storage or transfer and accommodation.
She also has a number of excellent websites listed at the end of her article.
I am hoping to get back there some time soon and be better prepared so I can see more of the Canal de Bourgogne and its surrounding villages, castles, abbeys and churches and hang out in the local villages to experience life outside of the big cities in France.
Visit Dijon Office de Tourisme and get maps of the area before you start.