I love biking in France more than anything. But I hate carrying panniers. No matter how carefully I pack, I still have 20-30 pounds of “stuff” in my panniers! Mind you, this has never kept me from taking a biking vacation, but it has made me envious of people taking tour-group trips. One of the advantages of self-guided or guided bike trips is that you don’t carry your own bags. The tour company arranges for luggage transfer from hotel to hotel…..but these trips normally cost $200-$350/day per person, much more than I am willing to pay to pedal around the French countryside! So needless to say, I was very excited to hear about a French company out of Auxerre that offers a very affordable luggage transfer service for bicyclists along and around the Burgundy Canal.
Bicycle touring along the Burgundy Canal can be more enjoyable and relaxing with the easy luggage transfer service offered by BagTransfert. Bags can be transported between the following cities along the Canal: Migennes, Brienon, Auxerre, Tonnere, St. Florentin, Thunder, Ancy, Montbard, Venarey, Semur, Flavigny, Pouilly, Vandeness, Dijon, Beaune, Santenay, as well as many intermediate villages. Luggage can be transported to hotels, B and B’s, private homes, campgrounds as well as local tourist offices, which is nice in case you don’t have a reservation yet for the night!
The luggage transfer service is available from May to September (contact each spring for exact dates) and is very easy to use. Just go to the website, www.bagtransfert.com, and make your reservation by 5:oo p.m. the night before. Provide the pickup and drop off locations and date of transfer. Pay for the luggage transfer online, in advance with Visa or Mastercard. You will receive a bag tag to place on your luggage. Leave your bag at the pick up location by 9:00 a.m. and it will be delivered to your destination by 5:00 p.m. It is also possible to arrange for transfers in advance before leaving the States by contacting Laurent Richoux at firstname.lastname@example.org and providing him with your itinerary and your credit card information. Laurent speaks great English and is very quick to respond to inquiries.
The cost for transfers along the Burgundy Canal is only 6 Euros per bag, regardless of distance. This is really a terrific service and great bargain for bicyclists! The company also offers a discount for families: 20% if there are four or more bags.
The website is currently only in French, but plans are underway for an English and German translation soon. In the meantime, it is easy to use Yahoo’s Babelfish translation tool to translate the website to English.
The Burgundy Canal is one of five itineraries that are part of the “Le Tour de Bourgogne a Velo” network of signposted routes for short and long distance cyclists. The Burgundy by Bike Route runs from Migennes to Dijon and follows canal towpaths and quiet country roads for 212 km through the heart of Burgundy. Now it’s possible to enjoy Slow Travel Adventures along and around the Burgundy Canal…. its castles, abbeys, vineyards, chateaux, beautiful villages, history and great food, without the burden of heavy panniers on your bike. This route will definitely be on my short possibilities list for 2011 because of BagTransfert!
For More Information:
The Burgundy Regional Tourism Office has a wealth of information to help with trip planning. Many of the brochures are available via download, others can be requested via mail.
One of the best resources for general information on biking in Burgundy is also through the Regional Tourism Office, Burgundy by Bike. This website will provide you with detailed itinerary information, hotel and restaurants, bike rentals, and links to all the local tourism offices.
One of the best resources for lodging in Burgundy, as well as throughout France is Logis de France. Most of the accommodations are owner run and managed and many feature regionally-recognized chefs. Most are very affordable. I have found them to be consistently reliable for great rooms, food and prices.