Cycling from one tasting room to another around Beaune is an ideal activity for those who really want the immersive Burgundy wine culture experience. Safety concerns aside (don’t drink and drive), it’s a fantastic way to burn off some of the calories you’re slurping down while putting you up close and personal with the grape vines, vineyard landscape and wine culture of the region—something you just don’t get when traversed by car.
So where do you get a wine country bike? You rent one!
Bourgogne Randonnées: Bike Rental Shop
Around the corner from our B&B is the quaint Bourgogne Randonnées, a bike rental shop with good daily rates. Their wine country bikes come with a basket on the front (a great place to store some picnic items, a camera and a light jacket or even a small terrier if you’re a Dorothy reenactor), comfortable seats, and bike locks. They also gave us some extra bike tubes in case we needed, knowing that some of the wine country bike paths are less forgiving than others.
The guy working the shop was extremely helpful in curating our bike route for the day. We told him we were planning to ride from Beaune to Meursault for a private tasting and tour at Ropiteau Frères in the morning. Then we planned to ride from Meursault back to Beaune and up to Premeaux-Prissey where we had another private tasting and tour around 2pm at Domaine de la Vougeraie.
After looking us up and down and taking note of our large bellies, he warned us that it would be a lot of riding, but that it was totally doable and worth it! He grabbed two different maps (one for the trip south of Beaune and one for trip north) and marked them up with different colored highlighters so we wouldn’t get confused. He mentioned there being various ways to ride from one place to the next, but recommended a specific route that would be the most picturesque and safe.
Helmets are not mandatory in France and are complimentary at Bourgogne Randonnées. The idea of helmet hair might make you cringe, but if you don’t know how your body will fare on the bikes once we start drinking, you might want to opt-in for the less vain, more practical option, and took the additional protection.
There are a lot of bike routes from Beaune to the various towns of the Côte de Beaune and Côte de Nuits. Burgundy by bike is a great resource for anyone looking to rent a wine country bike. You can design your own route using their interactive maps and see some of the suggestions other bikers have left.
Bourgogne Randonnées Address & Phone
- Address: 7 Avenue du 8 Septembre 1944 (the Street is also called Rue du Chateau on some maps)
- 21200 Beaune, France
- Phone: +33 3 80 22 06 03
- Website: http://www.bourgogne-randonnees.fr/
Bike Riding from Beaune to Meursault
With our maps marked up, our seats adjusted and our helmets strapped under our chins we were ready to ride. From the Bourgogne Randonnées bike rental shop we took the bike path along the ring road and circumvented Beanue. The city center is crowded and a lot of the streets are cobblestone so it’s best to go around for both comfort and efficiency.
What we were looking for was the Porte des Avaux, the gate at the start of the bike paths through the vineyards that run parallel to the N74 (national highway) northwest of the road. Once there, you’re essentially biking through the vineyards on narrow service roads used only by the grape growers and vineyard management teams. These vineyard service roads are open to the public, and the wine country bike signs make it easy for you to stick to the most direct path as you ride from one town to the next.
The bike path starts where Rue des Verottes veers to the south and becomes Chemin des Tuvilains. It’s marked by two stone pillars you can’t miss.
The pillar on the left is the name of the gate “Porte des Avaux“ and the one on the right reads “Veloroute la voie des vignes” which means “Bike path through the vines.”
Getting to the bike path from Bourgogne Randonnées
- From Bourgogne Randonnées head up to Boulevard Maréchal Joffre and turn right.
- Make your way counterclockwise around the ring road circumventing Beaune’s city center and make a right on Avenue Charles Jaffelin. You’ll go through about 5 street lights before you see the turn off for Avenue Charles Jaffelin.
- From there you make your third left onto Rue de Sceaux.
- This road will hit Rue des Verottes and you turn right and you’ll see the entrance to the bike path a few yards up.
- Follow the green and white signs with the biker symbol to make sure you’re staying on the ideal route to the next town.
From Beaune we rode through Pommard and Volney before making it to Meursault where we met up with tasting room manager Felix and winemaker Nicolas Burnez who has been the winemaker at Ropiteau Freres since 2003.
The bike ride from Beaune to Meursault took us about 45 minutes and there was only a single strip of a hill that caused us to really break a sweat.