The best of three wine regions and the Tour de France into one trip of a lifetime. Starting from Strasbourg, we will make our way along picturesque villages on the wine routes of Alsace, Jura and Burgundy. Visit famous wine villages such as Riquelwir, Chateau Chalon, Montrachet and Beaune. Each wine region boasts unique architecture, world history and different geography to cycle, hike and explore. Enjoy a culinary experience as these regions' cuisine, cheeses, meats and wines are diversely varried. Experience the Jura's Yellow Wine (Napoelon's favorite) and enter medieval wine caves. This tour will allow you to ride at your own pace along three spectacular wine routes and sample famous wines from Alsace and Burgundy including Motrachet and Beaune and experience the Jura regions unique Yellow Wine, which was one of Napoleons' favorite. Two amazing hikes of historic grandeur are part of the tour with one going to a WW2 Resistance fighters' hideout and another to a battlefield where Julius Ceasar battled Vercintegotrix (a Gaul Prince) 32 BC. Enjoy Unique accomodations ranging from Chateaus to quiet Farm Auberge and Michelin rated cuisine unique to these regions. Visit three World Unesco sites. Rest and relax as we prepare delicious picnics where you will sample local foods. Ride along waterway, and past green meadows. Visit Romanesque architecture and tiny villages. Included are 3 walking historical tours, Strasboug, Besancon and Beaune. Distances riden are completely adjustable and optional.
Welcome to Alsace!
1 hr Historical Walking tour
Strasbourg is where our tour begins. It is an ancient and lively city and is a UNESCO World Heritage site. It is filled with treasures to explore. Today, you will get a chance to meander the canals, cobblestoned streets and small boutiques of Strasbourg as we take you on a walking tour of the old town, its picturesque quarters and half-timbered houses in the neighbourhood known as "La Petite France". The Gothic cathedral and its famous astronomical clock is also a must-see. Since this is an active vacation, do not hesitate to treat yourself to pastries, giant soft pretzels and fresh cheeses that will be available at every corner- you'll burn off the calories!
You will receive directions on how to get from Paris to Strasbourg with your booking information package. We will pick you up at the Starsbourg train station (a direct train ride from Paris via TGV) or at the Strasbourg airport and chauffeur you to our accomodations. We will get your bike ready while you relax and tonight we will brief you on this incredible cycling and hiking journey. Enjoy your stay at the magnificent Chateau de Pourtales, your accomodations for the next 2 nights.
Eckbolshiem to Obernai
40 kms of Scenic Cycling Along Canals and Countryside
After breakfast, we will transport you to the pretty village of Eckbolshiem. We will cover a distance of 40 kms as we head westward towards the base of the Vosges Mountains that you will be bordering over the next few days. Don't worry though, there are very few hills to climb on this tour! Our ride will go along the Bruche Canal built by Louis the 14th military architect Vauban. We will encounter cabage and corn fileds and quaint villages along the Bruche before entering the wine region. We'll stop in Rosheim to see its three medieval town gates, the Romanesque church and the beautifully restored Romanesque house, recognized as the oldest in the region. Then we will ride though pictoresque Rosenwiller and descend into the vineyard village of Boersch, with its fortified medieval gateway and magnificent Renaissance town hall. You can stop to explore the town and this afternoon we can come back to do a little wine tasting. Your final destination of the day is Obernai which is only a couple of kms down the road. It is entrenched in centuries of history and you will find wonderful restaurants and boutiques to explore. A picnic lunch will be served in the town of Obernai. You will enjoy your 4 star accommodations, Hotel a La Cour d'Alsace in the heart of Obernai (option to stay back at chateux de Portales). Tonight you can relax or stroll through the old streets of town.
Ebermunster to Colmar
6o kms of Cycling Along the Alsace Wine Route
You will experience classic Alsace towns today. We will shuttle everyone to a must see in Alsace, the Abataille de Ebermunster. It is an incredibly beautiful abby and is where we will start our ride after a visit. There will be many beautiful villages along the wine route today including Riquewihr, a medieval town right in the heart of the Alsatian vineyards. It is classified among the "Most Beautiful Villages in France". For centuries this magnificent town has managed to combine the quality of its architecture with the quality of its world-famous wines, hence its nickname "The Gem of the Alsace Vineyards". But it's just one gem amongst a treasure box that is lined up for today. We will go to Kaysersberg and Katzenthal both with their famous castles. The town of NiedermorschwihrIt and its narrow cyling routes in the vineyards is breathtaking and a great spot for our picnic. Then we will continue to the ancient city of Turkheim with its exceptionnally well preserved medieval walls. It is surrounded by stunning scenery. The village also has several half-timbered houses, typical of the region. We will end the ride on a tranquil path, following the Lauch river to Colmar. Truly a great and scenic ride today. We can go on a group wine tasting at Wettolsheim after our ride this evening. You will really enjoy your stay at l' Hotelerie le Marechal situated on the banks of the Lauch river in the heart of "Little Venice" in Colmar.
Baume-les-Dames to Besancon
45 kms of Cycling Along the River Doubs
We will leave Colmar at 8:30 am and say goodbey to the region of Alsace to drive into the region of Bourgogne-Franche-Comté. We will stop in Baume-les-Dames for our ride that will take us into Besancon following the banks of the Doubs river along it's escarpment. Our ride will take us directly to our hotel (l' Hotel de Paris a Besancon) in the heart of the city. After lunch we will shuttle everyone to visit the Besancon Citadele and it’s WW2 museum (optional). Scenery includes, little villages, ride through a tunnel, farmscape and paths along canals with an optional short hike to the ruins at the Château de Vaise in Champlive. This could be the start or end of the ride for some (those ending thier ride here can board the support vehicle and be shuttled into besancon only 20 kms away). There will be some relax time after the Citadelle visit and before dinner we will meet in the town square for an evening historical walking tour into Besancon.
Viseney to Baume-les-Messieurs
40 kms Cycling Through the Jura Wine Route
There will be a short drive to the start our ride in Le Viseney, on the best of the Jura wine route. On the way, we will make a stop at Port Lesney and cross a small bridge that separated occupied France and Vichy France during WW2. Once in Le Viseney, we will ride to Chateau Chalon then on to Baumes-les-Messieurs. 1pm - Enjoy a picnic style lunch and shower in Baumes-les-Messieurs. Shortly after lunch you can casually visit the Abbey of Baume-les-Messieurs and then we will go for a yellow wine tasting at Le Domaine Salvadori in Chateau Chalon. We will then shuttle you to our next accommodations La Grange a Nicolas in Beaume-les-Messieurs for dinner.
Chaux-des-Crotenay (The battle of Alesia) Hike
3 hr hike discovering the Battle of Alesia
Today's hike will begin in Chaux-des-Crotenay, which is believed by many to be the true location of Alesia. The Battle of Alesia or Siege of Alesia was the final military engagement in the Gallic Wars that took place in September, 52 BC, around a fortified settlement of Alesia, a major centre of the Mandubii tribe. It was fought by the army of Julius Caesar against a confederation of Gallic tribes united under the leadership of Vercingetorix of the Arverni. It was the last major engagement between Gauls and Romans, and is considered one of Caesar's greatest military achievements and a classic example of siege warfare and investment. The battle of Alesia marked the end of Gallic independence in France and Belgium. Some believe the battle site was atop Mont Auxois in Burgundy, above modern Alise-Sainte-Reine, but this location, some have argued, does not fit Caesar's description of the battle. A number of alternatives have been proposed over time, among which only Chaux-des-Crotenay (in Jura in modern France) remains a challenger today. Today you will discover what this site offers for evidence. A lunch will be provided along the way, and the hike will be giuded by an organization (ArchéoJuraSites) aimed at educating people on this site and it's historic value. After the hike we will shuttle everyone to our next accomodations "Chateau de Couches" in the Burgundy wine region.
Couches to Pommard
40 kms Cycling Through the Burgundy Wine Route 1
Starting from Beaune, we will ride along the best of the Burgundy wine route all the way to our next accomodations "Le Château de Couches", where Marguerite de Bourgogne, Queen of France was held captive in the tower. After settling in we will have a late picnic lunch there. We will then drive to Beaune for a walking historical tour of the old city and a visit of the Medieval Hospice de Beaune. This will be followed by some wine tasting and dinner in Pommard. Then we will shuttle everyone back to Le Château de Couches.
Pommard to Vougeot & Tour de France Stage Finish
35 kms Cycling Through the Burgundy Wine Route 2
After breakfast, we will get ready for our ride leaving right from Le Clos du Colombier. Our ride will go along the best of the Burgundy wine route (part 2) all the way to Vougeot. Here you will be able to shower and get changed into street clothes. We will have lunch ready for you as you take a place on the stands to watch the finish of stage 8 of the Tour de France. This will be followed by some wine tasting in Nuits-Saint-Goerges then we will get you back to your next accomodations "Le Clos du Colombier" in Pommard.
Tour de France Rider's Village - Walking Tour of Dole
1-1/2 hr Historical Walking tour
In the morning we will board a bus that will allow us into the riders' village and start area of stage 9 of the Tour de France. This is an up close opportunity to get a behind the scenes look at the TdF in action. There you will be able to see all the teams prepare for the stage and your favorite riders warm up. Once you have seen the start of the stage, we will shuttle you back to Dole do a walking historical tour of Dole. We will visit it's medieval Cathedral, quaint streets, remains of the lepard baths/colony and finish with a visit to Louis Pasteur’s Tanning Mill. Tonight you can relax by the pool at the Chateau du Mont Joly and tonight we will have a farewell meal together as we dine to Chefs Frasnet’s masterful cooking.