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honeymoon {bike date} through the french countryside

June 16, 2011

Bike Date in France

This week’s bike date comes from Evelyn and Jon, who spent last summer in France, concluding their trip with a bike ride through the beautiful French countryside. When she’s not working on her PhD, Evelyn keeps a regular food blog and a delightful sewing blog documenting her latest projects. Today, however, Evelyn takes us along on a romantic bike ride through rural France…

Hi, I’m Evelyn. My husband Jon and I are both mathematicians. He’s a postdoc, and I’m finishing my Ph.D. I have a car, but we use our feet and bicycles for most of our day-to-day transportation. Before I met Jon, I probably hadn’t cycled since I was 12, but he encouraged me to hop on that bike and become a bike commuter, and I’m so grateful for that! I am in better shape than ever, and I think I get to know a city better on a bicycle than by foot or car.

Bike Date in France

Last spring, shortly after we got married, Jon started a short-term research position in Marseilles, France. I stayed behind for a few months until school was over, and then we had a lovely month together in Europe. Most of the trip consisted of math conferences and research with collaborators in France and Germany, but we decided to make the last week our honeymoon. Our favorite honeymoon day was probably the day we spent cycling through vineyards in Burgundy.

Bike Date in France

Bike Date in France

Burgundy is one of the fanciest wine regions in France, and the Burgundy tourism industry has helped create miles and miles kilometers and kilometers of cycling paths through the wine villages and vineyards there. On the advice of our guidebook, we rented bicycles from a nice shop in Beaune, a short train ride from Dijon, where we were staying. On the way out of town, we stopped and picked up a baguette and some cheese, fruit, and packaged salads from the supermarket. (Since it was Sunday, the artisan boulangeries and fromageries were closed.) The quality of cheese and bread available in French supermarkets is amazing, and the price is rock-bottom, so France is a surprisingly cheap place to eat, at least in the summer when you can (and will want to) eat most of your meals as picnics. Unfortunately, it has also given me a taste for really good French cheeses, which are quite expensive here. If you’ve never tried Roquefort societe, you should. You’ll thank me later.

Bike Date in France

Bike Date in France

After stocking up on provisions, we cycled one of the most popular routes on the voie verte, the system of bike paths through Burgundy. It is a 20km path that takes you from Beaune to Pommard, Volnay, Meursault, Puligny-Montrachet, Chassagne-Montrachet, and Santenay. Of course, we rode out and all the way back for a nice 40 km trip. The trail was very well-marked, and it’s closed to car traffic, so it’s very peaceful to ride. Being from a very flat area, some of the hills were pretty challenging for us me, but making it to the top felt like an accomplishment.

Bike Date in France

Bike Date in France

The villages we rode through were beautiful.

Bike Date in France

Bike Date in France

We had a lovely picnic in the middle of the day, and on our way back, we stopped at some wine sellers to taste and buy. We definitely suggest doing wine tasting and buying on the way back rather than the way out for safety reasons and so you don’t have to carry any purchases as long. (And while we’re at it, go easy on the tasting. You’ll be sweating a lot, and the alcohol might affect you more than you realize.) Burgundy really takes its wine seriously. They have a lot of appellations d’origine controlée, sometimes even for a particular part of a particular vineyard. It was very cool to try a wine, knowing we had just been in the precise location where the grapes were grown. We were able to taste some great wines, and now I can make fancy comments like, “You know, I really don’t prefer Pommards. They’re too oaky and spicy for my taste.” We picked up a couple bottles for a wedding gift for Jon’s brother and a bottle for ourselves. We’re planning on using it to celebrate my thesis defense.

Bike Date in France

Bike Date in France

After we returned our bicycles in Beaune, we walked around the city a little, and in one of the shop windows, we saw a very old wine bottle. As it turned out, we had gotten the same wine plus 118 years for Jon’s brother!

Bike Date in France

When we were planning our trip, it almost seemed like cycling through vineyards in Burgundy was too cliched, but some things are cliches for a good reason. Spending a day in the vineyards with your lover is divine, and it’s one of our fondest memories from any of our trips. When we go to a store with a nice wine selection, we look through the Burgundy section to see if we recognize any of the cities from our trip. It gives us a chance to reminisce about what a great bike date we had.

If you’re planning a trip to France and want to try cycling through vineyards in Burgundy, this website might help you plan your adventure. Happy cycling!

Thank you, Evelyn and Jon, for sharing this special bike date with us! I wish you many more happy years of marriage with plenty of bike dates thrown in! 

You can see more bike dates from the bike date series here

5 Comments leave one →
  1. Pat permalink
    June 16, 2011 07:44

    Looks incredible. Bikes, wine, cheese and no cars. What could be better?

  2. June 16, 2011 09:11

    How lovely!!! I wish I could go there right now!

  3. Melissa @ HerGreenLife permalink
    June 16, 2011 10:47

    Sounds fabulous, and makes me wish we incorporated biking into our Italy trip this spring. I’m sure there were opportunities in the Tuscan countryside (we stayed in Florence and Sienna), but I didn’t think about it much ahead of time, and it was hard to research once we were there.

  4. June 16, 2011 12:30

    Awesome! My wife and I rode through vineyards of Cote de Beaune on our honeymoon too. Such a memorable and amazing bike date!

  5. June 16, 2011 13:44

    Oh, how lovely. I’ve been day dreaming about peaceful, car-free cycling lately.

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