La Voie Des Vignes

When the snow started to fall in Chamonix we decided to move on. We had planned to visit Switzerland but the forecast there was wet and cold, and, as the Missus says, we can do wet and cold in Cumbria whenever we want. So Switzerland has been deferred for the moment and we drove north-west, heading for the land of the Grands Crus.

Track so Far

Track so Far

We are staying at Camping La Grappe d’Or (GPS N 46.985617 E 4.768335) , a site just outside the village of Mearsault, near Beaune. This is the heart of the Burgundy wine area and the campsite sits on a terrace overlooking fields of vines spreading out in all directions.

Looking South from the Campsite

Looking South from the Campsite

About 100 yards from the campsite is ‘La Voie Des Vignes’ ..a veloroute which extends from Beaune to Santenay, through the villages and vineyards of the district. At Santenay the veloroute links up with the Voie Verte (traffic free cycle path) which runs (cycles?) alongside the canal du Centre from Saint-Léger-sur Dheune to Chalon-sur-Saône.

Trompe-l'oeil

Trompe-l’oeil

We set off along the Velo Route heading towards Santenay this morning. This faux shutter cleverly painted alongside a real window is in a hotel in Mearsault, first village on the route.

Winedow

Winedow

Cycling Through the Vines

Cycling Through the Vines

All the villages here are packed with wine sellers and wine producers selling directly to the public. Wine tastings are advertised on all sides but probably best not combined with a bike ride (if any of our friends in Cabo de Gata are reading this, they may agree).

Precision Ploughing

Precision Ploughing

Most of the vines had been cut back to a thick stump in the Autumn and new growth had just started. The fields were busy with workers pruning, weeding, ploughing and spraying.

On the Straight and Narrow

On the Straight and Narrow

Pruning the Vines

Pruning the Vines

This lovely guy stopped his pruning to chat to us. He spoke very quick french, of which I got about 10%. We did pick up that his grapes were all Chardonnay, and that it was pretty dry and stony soil, ideal for the vines. He was rubbing or cutting off some of the smaller shoots

Stepping Over the Vines

Stepping Over the Vines

Curious (to us) high wheelbase tractors buzz about through the vineyards.

In the Groove

In the Groove

Just Passing By

Just Passing By

Gates

Gates

Some of the vineyards are limestone-walled and gated.

poppies

Poppies and other wildflowers line the roads.

niasantenay

We stopped at Santenay, about 10 miles to the south west, for a coffee. The veloroute winds through several villages, all immaculate and geared up to the wine business…Caves, Chateaux and Domaines everywhere.

themairie

Canal du Centre

Canal du Centre

Just beyond Santenay the veloroute connects with a voie verte alongside the Canal du Centre. This is a peaceful, traffic free ride, disturbed only by the occasional duck or heron. And just now and again a serious cyclist flashing past at the speed of lycra.

After a few miles along the canal we retraced our steps and headed back along the voie verte and the velo route.

18th Century Windmill

18th Century Windmill

There is an old windmill just outside Santenay.

Dogfighting

Dogfighting

There is a lot of wildlife. Kites abound and we saw these two (a kestrel, and possibly a buzzard?) having a minor tiff above the rows of vines.

We will uproot shortly and head east into the Franche-Comte region.

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Rambling about Europe with the Kray Twins (Colin and Penny).

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Posted in - France, 2014 Spring, Bourgogne, Mearsault
8 comments on “La Voie Des Vignes
  1. Rosie Pike says:

    Loving your blog and have to ask, how do you find all these wonderful cycle paths?

  2. Tracey says:

    Do you pick up your cycling maps at the Tourist office or do you have a book or website of them? As My husband and i love cycling when in france so would be interested.

    Looks like you are having a lovely time

    Many thanks

    • Hi Tracey. We tend to make up our motorhome route as we go along but we did know about the velo route at Mearsault. There are maps of the velo route in the reception at the campsite. I agree that the tourist offices are a good source of ideas….i always go in when i see one and ask for cycle, village maps, etc. they often have good walking guides of the towns as well. Dont have a particular website or book i use but some good cycling is described in the Dordogne ebook.

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Places Visited
Dordogne Guide
Our Guide to Bordeaux, the Médoc and the Dordogne

Our Dordogne Guide Book is now available. See motorhomefrance.com

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