Burgundy By RailPosted on: 01 March 2009 by Gareth Hargreaves
If you want to escape from it all this spring and summer, the French region of Burgundy may be the perfect place to hide away.
The eponymous wines for which it’s famous, the relaxing countryside, gourmet cuisine, traditional French towns, and an extensive network of waterways and cycle paths are just some of the attractions that make this area of France ideal for some rest and relaxation.
Rail is undoubtedly the best way to get to Burgundy; simply glide right into the centre of your chosen destination on a comfortable high-speed train.
Flying to this French region is a real hassle - the nearest airport is two hours away by car and add that to the two hours you’d need to check in for a flight, plus the time you wait for your bags at the other end, and you’d already be there by high-speed rail.
Most destinations in the Burgundy region can be reached from London St Pancras, Ebbsfleet or Ashford International within around 4.5 – 6 hours by train. Your journey will start on board the Eurostar, where you can choose from spacious standard class, or treat yourself to First Class, or ‘Leisure Select’, with much bigger seats, and a meal served at your seat.
You’ll need to connect with a French high-speed ‘TGV’ train in either Lille or Paris to continue on to Burgundy. In Paris you need to change stations – but you could play this to your advantage by taking a few hours out in the beautiful French capital before continuing your journey.
There are TGV stations in all the major towns in Burgundy. Stations are located centrally, so there is no need for lengthy onward transfers when you get to your destination. Instead, arrive relaxed, leave your bags at your hotel and start exploring this charming region.
With over 1,200km of navigable water, Burgundy has the most extensive network of canals and waterways in France . Waterway stops have been created in several destinations along the canals, where you can step off and explore, or take a leisurely lunch.
Various types of boating options are on offer - you can hire your own boat (large or small) or opt for the more leisurely option and relax in the comfort of a hotel barge or cruise boat. You can also raft along the Chalaux River, or take a pedalo out on one of the lakes in Morvan Park.
Cycling is also a favourite pastime – the region is relatively flat, so perfectly suited for leisurely bike rides around the vineyards. There are miles of dedicated cycle paths where you won’t come across any cars, making them safe for families and ideal for getting out and exploring the region without any stress.
The routes are well signed, and suitable for cyclists of all ages and abilities – although you won’t find any difficult routes as the emphasis is on gentle relaxation. The region also has a reputation for excellent cuisine – there are several Michelin starred restaurants in the area to enjoy a quality meal, along with a glass of the region’s finest produce.
There are many typically French towns and villages – with historical buildings and medieval architecture, museums and art galleries and pretty narrow streets full of charm and character. For the great outdoors, the Morvan Regional Nature Park has walking and hiking tracks and plenty of opportunity for horseriding.
Burgundy is uniquely diverse; a region with something for everyone and a tradition of producing fine wines and culinary excellence. What’s more, it’s very easily accessible by high-speed rail from the UK.
Visit www.burgundybyrail.co.uk to find out more about the destinations and activities on offer for people travelling to the region.
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