La Prise campsite has created this webpage for cycling enthusiasts to help them plan their cycling holiday. La Prise campsite is an ideal starting point for your cycling holiday. If the weather is bad, you can cook in the little chalet that we have built specially for cyclists and you can feel reassured that your car will be safe while you are away³..
In 2000 a plan was launched to develop an extensive tour of Burgundy for cyclists. It is known as Le Tour de Bourgogne à Vélo. A network of cycle paths (Piste Cyclables), traffic-free green ways (Voies Vertes) and cycle routes (Véloroutes) is being developed, linking up to the national network of France. It is mainly made up of the tow paths along the canals of Burgundy, a few disused railway tracks and quiet country roads. The Tour de Bourgogne will end up being 1000 km long with various connections to other cycle routes in the neighbouring regions.
The main sections consist of the Canal de Bourgogne from Dijon to Migennes, the Canal de Nivernais from Migennes to Decize and the Canal du Centre from Digoin to Chalon-sur-Sãone. In addition there are connecting sections between Decize and Digoin along the Canal Latéral à la Loire which includes a disused railway track, from Chagny to Beaune and from Beaune through the famous Côte d'Or naar Dijon vineyards to Dijon. An additional section from Chalon via Cluny to Mâcon follows the most beautiful Voie Verte in France along a disused railway track. A short-cut from Tonnerre to Auxerre via Chablis has also been added. And finally there are additional detours to the historic sites Vézelay and Semur-en-Auxois.
On the main route there is very little variation in altitude, and apart from the Côte d'Or and a stretch of 20 km along the Canal du Centre there are no steep hills; most of it is traffic-free. What's more, thanks to the excellent railway network in Burgundy, on which you can take your bikes for free, it is easy to skip any difficult bits.
The tour is already more than 1000 km long. By creating the most important regional cycling network in France, Burgundy will soon have a complete round tour, the Tour de Bourgogne à vélo®, which is more than 800 kilometres* long and embraces four departments. Each department has interesting sights, pretty little villages, friendly towns and lots of lovely scenery to offer. But the project consists of more than just providing easy, sign-posted paths. The intention for the future is to offer cycle tourists a complete package of services, including accommodation, luggage transport, stopping places and bicycle rental.
What is a cycle route and what is a green way?
A cycle route is a safe, sign-posted track that uses a variety of roads and paths: green ways, cycle paths, cycle lanes and in some cases little country roads. It avoids steep ascents and descents. A green way is reserved for non-motorised traffic: pedestrians, cyclists, skaters and people in wheelchairs. Vehicles for canal maintenance are however allowed to drive along the tow paths. Go on an outing, stop every so often to have a look at something and then set off again, do what you fancy at your own pace: along canal tow paths or disused railway lines. Take your time and enjoy the Burgundian way of life. 1000 km of the route are already completed, comprising (traffic-free) green ways, tow paths, secondary roads, paths through the vineyards and disused railway tracks.
There are five separate cycle routes in Burgundy which connect up with each other but each of which can be cycled separately.
Route 1: South Burgundy: from Chalon-sur-Saône to Mâcon using the green way. The first genuine green way in France, a former railway track, takes you through the Côte Chalonnaise wine territory to Cluny and along past the impressive rock formations of Solutré and Vergisson, that rise out of the vineyards surrounding Mâcon. A magnificent stretch full of variety.
Route 2: Canal du Centre - from Chalon-sur-Saône to Santenay and from Paray-le-Monial to Digoin. The church in Paray-le-Monial is a smaller scale copy of the former monumental abbey of Cluny. Following the tow path along the Canal latéral à la Loire you reach Digoin, where you can see the water bridge, a bridge structure used by boats to cross the river below. The green way, which runs from here via the spa town Bourbon-Lancy in the direction of Decize, is now completed as far as the little village of Cronat.
Route 3: Canal du Nivernais - from Decize to Auxerre via Clamecy. The Canal du Nivernais is known for its wonderful natural environment, but also for its many locks that you cycle past After the La Colancelle canal tunnel and the lakes at Baye en Vaux it is practically all freewheeling.
Route 4: Canal de Bourgogne - from Migennes via Montbard to Dijon. Alternating between tow paths and little lanes this route is ideal for mountain bikers. There is lots to see and visit on the way, such as the town of Tonnerre, the Auxois region and the pretty valley of the Ouche. This tour, which takes you past castles and old towns, demonstrates in a nutshell what Burgundy has to offer, the highlight being Dijon, the capital city of Burgundy.
Route 5: Through the vineyards - from Beaune to Santenay. A delightful cycle route throughout the entire year, but especially during the grape harvest. After the wine town of Beaune, you ride through vineyards and wine villages of name and fame: Pommard, Meursault, Puligny-Montrachet, Volnay, as far as Santenay, where you have the choice: to the left it is 20 kilometres to Chalon-sur-Saône, to the right it is 12 km to Saint-Léger-sur-Dheune.
Good to know
At night or on days with poor visibility, all cyclists and cycle passengers, outside built-up areas, must wear a regulation high-visibility jacket, as described in the official decree of the Ministry of Transport.
The above description can be found on the website "Burgundy by bike". Burgundy by bike
Good news for the Tourist Office in Decize:
The Official French Label ‘Accueil Vélo’ has been awarded to Decize Tourist Office, ‘Decize Confluence’. As with the Canal du Nivernais, the Canal Latéral à la Loire and major national cycle routes, our Tourist Office is visited by an increasing number of cyclotourists.