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Ballooning

Take to the Skies in Burgundy – an adventure by hot air balloon

France Montgolfiere

A balloon flight over the châteaux and villages of Burgundy is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Floating along with the wind just after sunrise, or a couple of hours before dusk and everything seems at peace in the world. Where better to fly than France, where this gentle form of flight was invented back in 1783 by the Montgolfier brothers? France Montgolfières fly mainly from Vézelay with vistas over the Canal du Nivernais and the Morvan Natural Park or over the vineyards of Chablis. Air Adventures operate from Pouilly-en-Auxois, often taking off in the grounds of Château Chailly by the Canal de Bourgogne.

France MontgolfiEres

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France MontgolfiereShortly after dawn, or a couple of hours before dusk, the balloons ascend. This is like no other form of flying, you have fresh air all around you as you gently travel with the wind. No two flights are the same, one day you will fly over the hotel barges on the canals, another day close-by the medieval town of Vézelay and its famous Basilica, (right). The lakes and reservoirs, gently undulating countryside with grazing charolais cattle, these are just some of the delights in store.

To steer the balloon, it rises and descends to find different layers of wind giving you a perspective on the general landscape as well as the lock keeper’s vegetable patch! You may rise above low lying cloud in the valley, adding a touch of romance to the occasion, or skim centimetres above the reservoir to view the waterlife.

France Montgolfières has been flying in Burgundy for over 20 years operating under French air transport regulations. Vézelay and the Morvan Forest are two of the regular take-off points, but equally you could fly from such lovely locations as a barge on the Canal de Bourgogne, Abbaye de Fontenay or Hotel Château de Vault-de-Lugny. Imagine rising out of the grounds of one of these beautiful settings, brushing the tree tops, to see the French countryside in all her glory, opening up before you.The flight lasts for about an hour and on landing, there is a toast to celebrate your journey. You may have travelled 10 or 15 kilometres, and you will have had a bird’s eye view all the way. The retrieve crew will be at the landing to take you back to the starting point.

France Montgolfières offer several ticket choices depending whether you fly during the week, at weekends, with accommodation included etc. Prices start at 185 € per person. Groups of up to 70 people can be flown by arrangement. More information and Booking Online


AIR ADVENTURES

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From April to November, Air Adventures fly from the grounds of Château Chailly near Pouilly-en-Auxois. This is an impressive starting point to say the least. They can carry up to 40 passengers in four balloons, each one carrying ten people. You will be in the capable hands of Vincent Dupuis who has been operating in Burgundy for twenty years, and involved with ballooning even longer. He was twice world airship champion.

An activity for all ages and the most perfect way to see the glorious Burgundian countryside, flights cost 229 euros per person with reductions for groups.
For more information and bookings: www.airadventures.fr.