4 nights starting from
In depth visit to the Guédelon castle project to build a 13thcentury castle with optional stone carving hands-on workshop
Our base for the tour, the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Vézelay
Noyers-sur-Serein, officially classified as one of the 100 most beautiful villages in France.
Fontenay Abbey, founded in 1118, another UNESCO World Heritage site
Two lectures from medieval historian, Julian Humphrys
Our popular historian and guide, Julian Humphrys, is spreading his wings and leading tours to France, including this superb tour that looks at the abbeys and fortifications of the fabled Burgundy region. A highlight is a day at the amazing project at Guédelon to build a castle from scratch using 13th century techniques, where you will also have an optional stone carving workshop with hands-on participation. Added to this are in-depth visits to the UNESCO World Heritage sites of Vezelay and Fontenay and the lovely village of Noyers-sur-Serein, one of the “plus beaux villages de France.” You will be accompanied throughout by enthusiastic, erudite and inspiring historian, Julian Humphrys.
|16 - October - 2021||£ 1395.00||Travel Info On Request||booking-journey/#/start/MBU/16 October 2021/|
Departing: 16th October 2021 at 09:24
Returning: 20th October 2021 at 17:13
Day 1: Travel by Eurostar from St Pancras to Paris and onwards to Montbard. Transfer by coach to Vèzelay for check-in to the hotel. Welcome drink, lecture from Julian, ‘How to get to Heaven in the Middle Ages’ and dinner with wine in the hotel restaurant.
Day 2: Full day in Vézelay.
A full day is allowed to explore the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Vézelay, including the superb visitor centre and Romanesque Basilica, with time to stroll around the town and ramparts. Legend tells of a monk bringing relics of Mary Magdalene to Vézelay in the 9th century, which made the hill town an important religious site and a starting point of the St James pilgrimage route.
Day 3: Full day Guédelon Castle Project.
A full day at the extraordinary 25-year project at Guédelon to construct a 13th century castle using traditional methods and materials, in period dress (no Goretex for bad weather!) that has been featured in numerous TV programmes recently. A guided tour and lunch (sheltered but open-air so dress appropriately!) will fortify you for the optional stone carving workshop in the afternoon which encourages active intervention. Second lecture, ‘How to capture a castle in the Middle Ages’ and dinner with wine at the hotel.
Day 4: Fontenay Abbey and wine-tasting.
First of all to Fontenay Abbey, which was founded by St Bernard in 1118. Built in a Romanesque style, it is remarkably well preserved, particularly the church, dormitory and cloister, offering a fascinating glimpse into the serenity and austerity of medieval monastic life. Afternoon visit to Noyers-sur-Serein, classified as one of the 100 most beautiful villages in France. En-route back to the hotel, we will enjoy a wine tasting at a local vineyard.
Day 5: Transfer from the hotel to Montbard train station for return TGV to Paris and then onwards by Eurostar to St Pancras.
NB: Exact order of itinerary may vary according to local conditions and tour manager's discretion.
Please note the maximum group size on this tour is 25 passengers.
Hotel de la Poste et du Lion d’Or, Vézelay
This charming and traditional four-star hotel is located in the very heart of Vézelay a few minutes’ walk from the Basilica. With just 39 rooms, it offers personal service and exudes old-world atmosphere. Hotel facilities include a bar, restaurant, breakfast room and wi-fi. Bedrooms all have a private bathroom with bath/shower, TV, telephone air-conditioning, free wi-fi, hairdryer and tea/coffee making facilities.
Hotel de la Poste et du Lion d'Or Website
Julian read history at Emmanuel College, Cambridge, has worked at historical sites both in Britain and overseas and is now Development Officer at the Battlefields Trust. He has a very infectious enthusiasm for history and has published numerous books on castles and battles. He currently leads more than a dozen tours for Travel Editions and imparts his extraordinary historical knowledge with wit and panache, making a tour led by him both an educational and entertaining experience.
Oops! I did it again!, with apologies, of course, to Britney Spears. I don’t know why that came into my mind on this Tour as it is one of many Travel Editions Tours I’ve done twice. It may be the proximity to last time as it was the cancellation of another Tour that allowed me to transfer my booking and return to Vezelay, something I had always intended to do. My Review from March 2018 still holds good. Vezelay is a spiritual place, Fontenay Abbey tranquil and serene and Guedelon an inspiration. A change from last year found us spending an afternoon in Noyers-sur-Serein, a pretty village with many medieval buildings where Karen Blackwell, our hard working and very efficient Tour Manager organised an inpromptu lunch at a local restaurant, already known to Julian Humphrey, our eminent historian and lecturer. Although I already knew how to capture a castle, I refrained from heckling Julian’s interesting and informative lecture. I can’t say my stone carving skills at Guedelon had improved much from last year although I did manage a recognizable butterfly rather than a “P”. The hotel de la Poste et du Lion d’Or is really good and the food superb, each course at dinner served on its own special crockery. If I decide to go again, which I wouldn’t rule out, I guess my Review will have to start with Oops! I did it again, again. Just watch this space!
Review by Richardson who travelled 05-April-2019
I very much enjoyed the trip, thanks especially to the quality of lecturing and tour management, the content of the programme and the small size of the group.
Review by Anonymous who travelled 05-April-2019
If we hadn't just experienced Gill as a Tour Manager to Normandy, Karen would have been a 'Good' as well, but it is difficult to give gradations with only four categories to choose from. Julian, as previously, was absolutely excellent.
Review by Anonymous who travelled 05-April-2019
Review by Bonham who travelled 05-April-2019
Review by Martin who travelled 23-March-2018
Julian was excellent as usual. It was good have Hélène as a charming native french speaker, it helped greatly on several occasions. The hotel was very good. The tea making facilities were a pleasant surprise. The food in general was very good both in the hotel and the local restaurants. When we went to Avalon it was on a Sunday and finding somewhere for a light lunch was almost impossible in an unfamiliar place. Most of the places in the immediate vicinity of the coach stop were closed. Perhaps a packed lunch could be offered in future? On the last day the journey home could start earlier. We felt there was time wasted in the morning that could be better used at the end of the day for our journey home. Altogether for a new venue the break ran very well.
Review by Hudson who travelled 23-March-2018
This was an excellent tour. Vézelay was a brilliant base. The excursions were varied and very well selected. Fontenay, tranquil and serene, contrasting with. Guedelon an amazing vision of thirteenth century construction and toil. Julian’s lectures were delivered with his usual blend of knowledge and enthusiasm and if ever I get the urge to capture a castle, I now know exactly how to do it! Vézelay has its own vineyards and we were able to sample a range of their wines during our Tasting session. Sadly, even with the extra space afforded by upgrading my train tickets, I only managed to return with 2 bottles of rose. Thank you, Travel Editions.: this tour is one of your best.
Review by Richardson who travelled 23-March-2018
Good hotel and location. Trips and lectures interesting and thought provoking.
Review by who travelled 23-March-2018
I really enjoyed this tour very much. I thought Vezelay was charming and interesting with good restaurants and lovely views. Hotel was excellent, food very good and well presented. I thought Helene, our tour manager and Julian our historian, were very pleasant, well informed and made the trip go very well and made me feel a valued customer. This is my third trip with Travel Editions and wont be my last!
Review by Morris who travelled 23-March-2018
Our guides made this an exceptional t your with their attention to detail,good humour and knowledge. The hotel was just right and very welcoming.
Review by White who travelled 23-March-2018
Excellent tour which was very well managed and excellent and informative speaker. Guedelon was fantastic and it was great that we could go everywhere on the site. Vezeley is a jewel and the guide from Masion du Visitation was wonderful. Fonteney is such a peaceful place and so unexpected. Good hotel with very helpful staff.
Review by Jackson who travelled 23-March-2018
Very little paperwork or information ever reached me - not much on website either. Excellent tour, this was first one and odd tweeks would improve it. The visitors Centre is very good, but so intense that a break for coffee and reflection would be good before the visit to the Basilica. The visit to Guedelon was fascinating, with a very good Guide (Sarah) but I was ready for the stone carving an hour before it happened . Also the lunch was not good; too complicated and nothing hot enough for such a cold day. the coffee (not very medieval) was horrible. The hotel was very nice, simple but everything one needed - including, rare for France, tea and coffee making equipment. (I had scoured the pictured on the net and seen no sign, so I brought my own and need not have bothered) It was also good that they not only provided bottles of water in the rooms but replenished them. Eurostar a horrible scrum both ways, and machine refusing my ticket on the way back so I had to queue for a person didn't help. It is a lovely part of France and well worth the visit.
Review by Wheeler who travelled 23-March-2018
Special thanks to Helene and Julian who made the trip so interesting. Maybe allow for a bit more free time in Fontenay Abbey for future tours?
Review by who travelled 23-March-2018
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