Bike riding has been most joyous. It is a pursuit that tends to be more enjoyable when undertaken on one's own vehicle. We collected our new bikes on the first Tuesday of our trip and were then able to travel out to the hardware shops and supermarkets that lie to the north of Beaune, right beside the tollway. We could now do it without the need to walk, or to wait yonks for a bus. Delicious!
Not only can we conduct house setting-up and maintenance in this way, but also venture well beyond the ramparts on tours to pastures green and wineries dormant. This we did on three occasions - twice to points south, viz Santenay and Chalon, and once to Point Snorth, ie Nuits-Saint-George.
I have regaled you with descriptions of these rides in prior postings, but no word can capture the splendor of this area. There are always new and wondrous sights to behold, as well as the familiar, everyday scenes of workers going about their daily tasks with good humour. Rolling through the vines, approaching a village or hamlet, then cruising their winding streets, by town squares and gorgeous parks, the cafes beckon for a stop and a coffee, all too easy to give in to.
We have worked out the best day's plan on the bike. First leave Beaune around 9:00 am. That's when the hire place opens and bikes for visitors can be collected from Cedric or Florian, two of the most helpful bike hirers IN THE WORLD. These chaps will let you know of any number of rides to be undertaken out of Beaune, all with good grace, understanding and enthusiasm, but I digress.
Leaving much after 9:00 am leaves too little time for lunch which, in France, waits for no man (or even DJ). So, morning coffee is taken in the morning, around 10:30 am in the town square of Meursault. This revives the cyclist and prepares him/her for a goodly grunt up an incline of moderate proportions and back onto some rolling countryside, passing an ancient windmill up on the hill to your right.
If lunch is not taken at the 3-hat at Puligny-Montrachet, or any of the other cafes in the town, one needs to bear in mind that the next opportunity lies quite some way off in Santenay, BUT ONLY IF ONE ARRIVES BEFORE 1:45 pm.
Roll on after lunch to the canal. Turn left onto the tow-path, on past the fisher-folk (men with extraordinarily long fishing poles) and canal-boaters, and on to Chagny, the train and home to Beaune.
Cost of train - 3.50 euros; cost of bike hire - 18 euros for the day. Value of day's experiences - priceless!