Day 1 : Arrival in Auxerre This is one of France's prettiest medieval cities, on the banks of the River Yonne, and your base for tonight. Here you'll find two Gothic churches: the Cathedral of St-Etienne (13th and 16th century with magnificent stained glass windows) and the Abbey of St-Germain (13th 14th century with 19th century crypt). There's time to explore the medieval lanes and pretty port before dinner in town with plenty of choice of restaurants within a couple of minutes' walk of your hotel.
Day 2 : Auxerre to Chablis 37KM / 22 MI Take the path along the River Yonne, out of Auxerre, to the spectacular 12th century Abbey at Pontigny, founded in 1114 as a Cistercian monastery. Among those buried at the abbey are Adele of Champagne (queen of Louis VII of France) and Saint Edmund of Abingdon (Archbishop of Canterbury from 1234-1240 who was later canonised following alleged miracles at his grave!). Continue on along the River Serein and through La Chapelle Vaupelteigne to Chablis.
Day 3 : At Chablis 37 KM / 22 MI Explore the town of Chablis, which gives its name to the world-famous wine. Enjoy wine-tastings galore in local caves with the seven Grand Cru vineyards of Les Preuses, Vaudesir, Grenouilles, Valmur, Les Clos, Bourgros and Blanchots all sitting on a single south-west facing slope just to the north and overlooking the town. Alternatively, pedal, from Chablis, along the beautiful River Serein valley, discovering pretty towns and villages, including Chichee, Viviers, Tonnerre along the way. Enjoy rolling countryside as you cycle from one town to the next and enjoy a picnic by the Burgundy canal in Tonnerre. Later on, do not miss Hotel Dieu medieval hospital complex (the Hotel-Dieu) constructed at the end of the 13th century and at that time one of the largest hospitals in France.
Day 4 : Chablis to Auxerre 37 KM / 22 MI You will cycle through picturesque villages and on small country roads with magnificent views and rolling landscapes. Passage through Irancy vineyards with the possibility of a visit to a major producer of 'Crmant' (sparkling wine), with impressive cellars installed in old quarries. Then continue along the Yonne Valley and the Nivernais Canal.
Day 5 : Leave Auxerre
Add 220 single supplement. Single traveller supplement 26.
All breakfast and 2 evening meals
British Airways Heathrow to Paris CDG 07:20/09:35 then rail Paris Bercy to Auxerre 12:33/14:20 and transfer to the hotel 5 mins. Return: Transfer hotel to station 5 mins then rail Auxerre to Paris Bercy 11:43/13:27 then British Airways Paris CDG to Heathrow 17:40/17:55 (Tues), 18:05/18:20 (Sun, Mon Weds) 18:50/19:05 (Fri, Sat Thurs).
Hotel Normandie (3 star) This hotel was originally a maison bourgeoise until it was converted into a hotel by an ex-patissier! It has now been in Mme Ramise's family for over 45 years. The hotel only provides breakfast, although a la carte room service is possible (very reasonably priced and a good selection of hot and cold dishes). However, it's fun to explore the lovely town of Auxerre and there are plenty of good restaurants in all price ranges within 5-15 minutes walk. There's a public swimming pool in the town and a sauna at the hotel (approx 7). There is a secure closed garage behind the hotel (5 per day) or free parking in front (ask at reception).
Hostellerie des Clos (3 star) The Hostellerie des Clos is a family run hotel in the heart of Chablis. The hotel is set in beautiful gardens, with terrace for breakfast or pre-dinner drinks. There is a cosy lounge and all the rooms are individually decorated across two buildings.
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