How to Cycle and Wine Taste with your Dog in Burgundy – France
I want to take a moment to share with you the fun of biking and wine tasting in Burgundy—two activities that can be pet friendly depending on how you go about it. Burgundy is a cyclist’s paradise. Just look at this map of cycling paths in Burgundy! Lots of options, right?
Many companies organize cycling tours, but unless a guided tour is your goal, you can cycle Burgundy without being on a bike every day. Instead, if you bring your own bike, you can cycle the region at your own pace, planning as many bike free days as you wish.
You can take your bike on and off a lot of the trains in France. That makes getting from one town to the next an easy endeavor if you want just to have your bike as a way to get about town rather than do the whole “tour de France” thing. And, if you don’t want to fly/train/drive to France with your bike, many B&Bs in the area have bikes you can borrow or rent while you are there. My grandma, for example, lent us her and my grandpa’s bikes for our own little bike rides. And, oh, the fun we had!
Granda drew us a little map of the area around the B&B so that we wouldn’t get too turned around.
We first headed up through the tiny village …
… stopped at the old swimming hole where my Mom as a teen and young woman would spend time sunbathing.
We then went on towards the woods where we followed a path and enjoyed the cooler air.
Once we hit a busier road, we turned back.
We then biked to a farm where they have a watermill. It is very picturesque.
And then we followed a road and then a dirt path through a field. We never got too lost because there is a tall water tower that acts as beacon in the area.
We then headed back to the village but instead of going straight to Grandma’s, we turned left and followed a road surrounded on both sides by green meadows and white cows.
We stopped at the next tiny village where a privately owned castle stands newly renovated (with more renovations to come). There was also an adorable bakery and café.
Mom got a flan from the bakery; Dad an espresso. We sat and watched the kids get out of school across the way.
And finally we made our way back to grandma’s B&B.
Now, if you have a bigger or older dog, do not fret! There are ways to cycle with them as well. The pet hitches are what I would recommend. They look a lot like the hitches used for children.
Or you can get yourself a bike like the ones we see in Amsterdam with the wooden container in the front. Those look cool and will hold your stuff too! All that to say, I know it can be done because I have heard of people travelling the world by bike with their dogs! Like the Cycling Gypsies for example.
But I am small, so I either go in the sling bag …
… or, if possible, in the basket. In fact, in Chalon there were pay-as-you go bikes available with baskets just the right size for me! At home I go in the basket.
And if cycling along picturesque roads surrounded by green pastures and white cows is not enough for you, you can add wine tasting to the mix. It is wine country after all! We were lucky: Grandma knows the locals so we were invited to a private estate. But if you don’t have the inside scoop like we did, you can always sign up for a bike and wine tour. There are tours that are available just for the day. And OH the fun we had!
I got to walk about and see how it all happens. The smells were enough to make any one swoon. Even the humans. Oh, and before I forget our guide mentioned to me that most private and smaller vineyards don’t mind a canine visitor at all as long as they are well behaved. Nice to know! He said to just call ahead to give a heads up in case there is a dog on site that may be less than welcoming. This vineyard did not but many do. But I was assured that if you call, most owners will make sure to put their own dog in a safe but out of the way place, for the duration of your visit. How nice!
And the young man in charge (the owner’s son Julien) of our tour of Deliance Pere et Fils, was very very good at explaining the art of wine making to us. He is a master at the old-fashioned, traditional way of making sparkling wine. It isn’t called Champagne here because sparkling wine has to come from the Champagne region to be called that. In Burgundy, it’s called a Crémant! And you know what? Mom is a huge fan of sparkling wines and she preferred this Crémant to any of the Champagnes she has had!
I would caution that biking and drinking can make for a dangerous road situation. So please be careful and don’t overdo it!
In review: The countryside of Burgundy has a lot to offer. And if like us, you resist the idea of renting a car, the combination of train and bike can be a lovely solution. I know that we certainly enjoyed our chance to breath in deeply the fresh air of this magnificent wine route.