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Cycling Routes in Burgundy

veloroutes and the voie verte

The véloroutes or cycle tracks in Burgundy have now been extended - in total there are 800 km of cycle routes creating an almost continuous route around the region. These signposted tracks may be roads, paths or voies vertes. The routes are divided up as Southern Burgundy, Canal du Centre, Canal du Nivernais, Canal de Bourgogne and the Vineyard Route. The Comité Régional du Tourisme de Bourgogne has brought out an excellent new series of themed maps. 'Cycling in Burgundy' highlighting the major sights with clear illustrations. Available from tourist offices throughout the region, free of charge in a selection of languages.

La Voie Verte is a tarmaced path specifically for cyclists and, apart from maintenance vehicles, no traffic is allowed on them. Using a disused railway line and canal towpaths, the route goes through a variety of landscapes, past châteaux, vineyards and along waterways. The route is also suitable for roller skating and is wheelchair friendly.

Cycle Route Map of Burgundy
Cycle along the canals and Voies Vertes

Southern Burgundy Route

If you are arriving by train, TGV Mâcon-Loche, Mâcon-Ville and Chalon-Ville are the nearest stations to the route and it is possible to rent bikes (see list in la Voie Verte publication details below).

En route there are car parks, toilets, picnic places and other amenities to help make the journey enjoyable.

  • St-Léger-sur-Dheune to Chalon-sur-Saône, 35 km along the Canal du Centre, passing the vineyards of the Côte Chalonnaise.
  • Givry to St-Gengoux-le-National, 20.5 km, along a disused railway line, this route is a mixture of woodland, vines and rural architecture including the pretty village of Buxy.
  • Voie Verte Saone et LoireSt-Genoux-le-National to Cluny, 20.5 km continuing on the old railway line through rolling landscape passing Château Cormatin, Taizé and on to Cluny. There is a Bicycle Museum in Cormatin worth a visit.
  • Cluny to Charnay-les-Mâcon, 21 km through the Lamartine Valley with the rock of Solutré in the distance. You will go through the Bois-les-Mâcon tunnel where temperatures can go down to 11 degrees in summer.

Branching off along la Voie Vert there are an additional 21 loop circuits.

For self-catering accommodation in Southern Burgundy see Burgundy Holiday Homes direct from owner.

along the canals

Most recently completed, the Canal du Centre véloroute runs from Cronat to Chalon-sur-Saône.
Digoin to Paray-le-Monial for example is 17 km along the canal through gentle Charolais countryside. Well documented information about accommodation, bike repairs etc. on www.burgundy-by-bike.com

For nature lovers, the Canal du Nivernais is the most beautiful waterway in Burgundy with unspoilt villages and pretty countryside along the route. Stay at the bed and breakfast Villa Castel Danynou on the bank of the canal at lock 30 and make excursions each day along the canal.

The following publications are available from the Tourist Offices:

The Canal du Nivernais from Decize to Auxerre, 190 km in length.
'A Vélo le long du Canal du Nivernais' e.mail: contact@nevers-tourisme.com. Price 5 euros plus 3 euros postage from Office de Tourisme de Nevers, 4 Rue Sabatier, B.P 818, 58008 Nevers, France, Tél. : 00 33 (0)3.86.68.46.00.

Michelin 'Canal du Nivernais à Vélo', in French only, 9.90 euros from the Auxerre Tourist Office, info@ot-auxerre.fr

The scenery along the Canal de Bourgogne is completely different being less wooded with more open fields, crops of dazzling yellow rape and wheat fields with poppies and cornflowers. En route you have a couple of Burgundy's finest chateaux, Ancy-le-Franc and Tanlay. The Abbey of Fontenay and Semur-en-Auxois are nearby. You can hire bikes from the tourist offices at Sens, Migennes, Tonnerre, Auxerre, Ancy le Franc, Montbard, Pouilly and Dijon.

For self-catering holiday accommodation close to the canals, see Burgundy Holiday Homes, direct from owner.

Cycling in Burgundy, photo BIVB, H. Monnierthe vineyard route

Cycling through the famous vineyards from Beaune to Santenay is a 20 km route. A map with information about the villages you will pass through is available from the Beaune Tourist Office, 6 Boulevard Perpreuil, 21203 Beaune, price 2 euros.

For self-catering holiday accommodation in the Beaune region, see Burgundy Holiday Homes, direct from owner.

Detailed Routes in the Morvan Natural Park and Cote d’Or

For comprehensive routes in the Morvan Natural Park and around the Côte d’Or, there’s now a book available showing 16 loops: ‘Bicycle Your France – Secret Burgundy’.

Maps

The IGN Top 100 Road Maps of France (previously Serie Vert), are recommended for cyclists. They come with contours in relief shading and graphic relief is added in high mountainous areas to give a better presentation of the terrain, scale 1:100,000.

For Burgundy:

  • Auxerre/Montargis (IGN Top 100)
  • Dijon /Montbard (IGN Top 100)
  • Nevers/Autun (IGN Top 100)
  • Dijon/Chalon-sur-Saône(IGN Top 100)

Find Your Way With Ease

You could find this gadget invaluable on your cycling trips. The Garmin Foretrex 401 is an easy-to-use wrist- mounted high-sensitivity GPS navigator. A bike mount is available as an alternative.

Garmin ForetexIt is rugged and lighter than many watches as well as waterproof and features an electronic compass, a barometric altimeter and a USB interface. You can even wirelessly share routes, tracks and waypoints between units. It also incorporates a trip computer, sunrise/sunset and hunting and fishing information and can connect to your PC. When it's time to head back, simply turn on the TracBack® feature, and Foretrex will retrace your path back to where you started. Garmin Foretrex 401 GPS Watch.

See Also: Cycling Routes in Franche-Comté

Pam Elson ©burgundytoday.com