What is the archetypal France bike trip? There are trips to the Loire or riding through Alsace but in our minds there is one perfect, relatively flat, central French area which is great for bike riding and that is the Yonne. The Yonne department combines touring through some of the great wine areas of Burgundy, past ancient cathedrals, abbeys and fortified buildings, along rivers and quiet country lanes.
This area is easy to get to from Paris (less than 1.5 hours by train) and still relatively close to the Channel ports. It has good road and local train support.
Bicycle holidays in the Yonne are not generally offered by travel agents or tour operators. But it is perfectly possible to use the web to book bike tours offered by local operators. Accommodation and other costs are generally low for France. Our estimate of the cost of a reasonably comfortable holiday (ie staying in medium quality hotels, and eating and drinking moderately well) and assuming you rent a bike, based on riding for 7 days and two people sharing a room for 6 nights is:
||Cost in Euros
| Bike hire
|| €10/day per bike for 7 days
|| €75/night for 6 nights
| Food and drink
|| €40 per person per day, for 7 days
| Public transport
|| say €20 per person
making €1,110 in total, or €555 per person. This would require you to travel 30km per day, if you do the whole figure of eight route.
Yonne bike route
The bike route is a figure of eight with Auxerre, the largest town on the route, at the centre. The local railway system follows three quarters of the route. The major part of the tour follows beautiful rivers and canals (and so is reasonably flat) before going up into the hills between Auxerre and Chablis past a number of specialist wineries until you reach the world famous Chablis wine region.
Accommodation is plentiful but, given the popularity of this area, finding somewhere to stay at short notice can be difficult in high summer. The accommodation column below provides an indication of the number of hotels or similar in each village/town. The first column in the table shows the main route in blue to the west, green south east and red to the north east and is the same as the coloured route on the Yonne Map .
Few: 1 or 2
Some: 3 to 6
- Many: 7 or more
A lot of the smaller tourist web sites are written in French only. This should be no barrier to you using or them as Google offers a number of translation solutions. Our preferred option is the Google toolbar which can be downloaded, as the quality of translation is reasonable and in most cases the web page will appear in English as you read down it. This means it is always up to date and integrated with the website.