These past three and a half weeks, I have been riding my bike around the northern part of France. The first week was split between the northern part of Burgundy and Bretagne, to re-familiarize myself with the two regions before leading bike tours in both.
The second week, I took my first group along the Brittany coast, culminating in a night on Mont-Saint-Michel, which is technically in Normandy. After driving the bikes back to Paris, I caught a train down to Auxerre, in Northern Burgundy to meet my second group.
The week started with temperatures inching above 104°F (40°C), which no one would claim as ideal cycling weather.
After a deluge mid-week, we got some reprieve, and the trip continued inexorably toward Dijon.
My week began with a pre-dawn start from Mont Saint-Michel.
Then a five-hour drive almost due east to Paris.
We took a train down to Laroche-Migennes where we had a short, but hot (100°F) ride to Auxerre, a town in northern Burgundy with several imposing churches. This one, Saint-Pierre, is my favorite.
Auxerre is just a few kilometers from Chablis, the capital of northern Burgundy wine production. We faithfully reached our daily quota, paired with regional cheeses.
I saw this classic Beetle convertible with the top down, on the road. That earned me 200 points in my slug-bug contest with my boys.
It seems as though every little town in many parts of France have an impressive structure. Take this one for example. I have no idea where it is.
Shortly thereafter, we were in Misery.
A night in Clamecy meant more Chablis.
The following day we passed field after field of sunflowers. So many that it is not entirely clear what they could possibly be doing with them.
It also included a ride up to Vézelay, with its 18% grade. Woof.
The basilica is well worth a visit…
…with plenty of Flying Buttresses. I like Flying Buttresses.
We ended in Avallon, where we stayed for two nights.
Which enabled me to wander in to a wine shop and find this gem–from the oldest producer in CdP.
After two nights in Avallon, we were off to Montbard for a night. The route took us through my favorite cheese town: Époisses.
The ride into Montbard included a stop at Fontenay.
In Montbard, I saw this bottle of 1988 Bienvenues Bâtard-Montrachet on the list for a mere 122€. Huh? So yeah, I had to. Amazing wine.
The last day of cycling was long (100k) and started with a 3k climb up to the medieval village of Flavigwny-Sur-Ozerain (where the movie Chocolat was made).
As well as a monster climb (21%!!) from Blaisy-Bas to Blaisy-Haut.
The group broke up in Dijon, which meant an early morning train for me back to Paris. I had to get all the bikes back to the office, riding them two at a time around the Bastille and across town.
Last bike back…
…it was time to celebrate my birthday.