Route 6 – Paris to Provence

Melun to Avignon. About 840km. July/August 2011

The road south from Paris to le Midi is one of the great thoroughfares of Europe – travelled by Grand Tourists, artists and holidaymakers bound for the sun – and a gastronomic pilgrimage through Burgundy, the Lyonnais and the Rhone Valley. Declining the chance to spend half a day pedalling through the Paris suburbs, we caught the RER to St Fargeau, near Melun, and set off from there through Fontainebleau forest, followed by a long day’s ride to Chablis and Burgundy wine country.  After a spell on the towpath at the top of the Canal de Bourgogne and a tasting lunch in Puligny Montrachet we skirted Lyon to the east (the flatter side) and made our way south through the Drome with more wine tourism chez Chapoutier at Tain L’Hermitage.  Entering Provence via the beautiful Col de Tartaiguille, we had time for a tour of perched villages and lavender country that brought us to the herb market town of Nyons; and took the Dentelles de Montmirail wine road to Avignon via Gigondas and Beaumes de Venise.

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La Cour des Adieux, Fontainebleau


 Fruitful Burgundy.  The covered market in Sens.

Chablis vineyard walks


Noyers, La Maison du Schematisme

Canal de Bourgogne, Grand Pré lock

Canal de Bourgogne near Pouilly en Auxois

The Cote de Beaune at Meursault

“Now for the real test.” (Lunch a little out of focus by this stage.) Chez Olivier Leflaive, Puligny Montrachet

Mosaic floor at St Philibert, Tournus

Georges Blanc’s Ancienne Auberge, Vonnas. The proof of the poulet is in the eating


Body-drying. The Y-front foulard

Jaboulet Hermitage La Chapelle. Special occasions only

The Rhone at Tournon

Chapoutier, the uptake

Chapoutier, the intake.  Tain L’Hermitage

Before the pass

Lavender or lavandin?

At the pass


The Dentelles wine road

Le Ventoux, brooding and accusatory

We ignored it

Cooling off period in the Ouvèze

Avignon, Pont Bénézet