France’s Finest: A taste of everything in Champagne,...by Jessie Beyer - Monday, March 27, 2017
A Taste of Everything in Champagne, Burgundy, Plus Provence
Taking the scenic route through France’s finest
Food, wine, and cycling – all of these are quintessential to experiencing the best of France. Our bicycle tour of Champagne, Burgundy, Plus! Provence will lead you along quiet roads flanked by legendary landscapes as you soak in some of France’s rich history while stopping in of France’s culinary capitals, to taste its richest foods.
Where wine meets history
Champagne: What better way to soak up the history of France’s famed sparkling wine than while cycling through its legendary birthplace of Champagne? In the 17th century Benedictine monk Dom Perignon made important advancements in wine making and (depending on who you ask) is rumored to have invented sparkling wine. This region transports you through time when you pedal through Hautvillers, where Dom Perignon once resided, then into Châlons en Champagne, a charming town evocative of centuries past with its medieval and Gothic churches and half-timber houses.
Burgundy: The sheer mention of Burgundy calls to mind illustrious vineyards. While the area is famous for its Burgundy, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, Chablis and Beaujolais wines, it is also one of the most beautiful and most interesting regions of France thanks to its ancient history. Sleepy roads and vine-covered hills connect Burgundy’s capital, Dijon, with many villages whose architecture dates back to the Renaissance. Burgundy was settled by Gaul tribes, then conquered by the Romans (who, by the way, planted the first vineyards), and was at its ‘peak’ during the end of the middle ages. While cycling through Burgundy on our tour you will pedal through its stunning and storied landscape and feel as though history is unfolding in front of your eyes. Not only is Burgundy the home of world-famous wines but it’s a living relic of Southern France’s fascinating evolution throughout centuries. Fueled by the region’s famous food and wine you will pedal past royal ruins and pass by the sites of some of France’s greatest historical sites from the 100 years war and Joan of Arc areas.
Gastronomical “Gateway to the South”
Lyon is often referred to as the “gateway to the south” and is one of France’s must-see cities (its third largest) because of its history, architecture, cuisine, and culture. Nestled between the Monts du Lyonnais Mountains and the confluence of the Saône and Rhone rivers, Lyon is the capital of the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region and its beautiful city center is a UNESCO heritage site. Among its many offerings the city is perhaps best known as a gastronomic capital and for its many architectural landmarks – the perfect balance to walk off the many fine dining opportunities.
The Famed Mont Ventoux
Some of France’s most famous vineyards sit at the base of Mont Ventoux. On our bicycle tour you will have the opportunity to pedal the countryside along the Rhône River bed towards Mont Ventoux. Mont Ventoux has gained fame through its presence in the Tour de France. It is the largest mountain in the region and has been nicknamed the “Giant of Provence”, or “The Bald Mountain”. The top of the mountain is bare limestone, which makes the mountain’s barren peak appear to be snow-capped from a distance. Mont Ventoux, although geologically part of the Alps, is often considered separate from them, due to the lack of mountains of a similar height nearby. Its isolated position overlooking the valley of the Rhône ensures that it dominates the entire region and can be seen from many miles away on a clear day. The view from the top is correspondingly superb. Cyclists up for the challenge are offered the chance to ride up Mount Vontoux. Travelers looking for a bit more of a relaxing afternoon can take in the Picturesque wine villages in this Côtes-du-Rhône wine region.