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The Burgundy Canal by bike

Cycling to see the mediaeval Burgundy
  • Duration 8 days
  • Activity Biking
  • Holiday among adults
  • Theme rivers and canals, wineries

Information : The Burgundy Canal by bike

  • Comfort
  • Difficulty
  • Note
  • Roadbooks French


Exploring Burgundy along the water's edge and at its rhythm, that's the simple idea behind this holiday. The towpath winds almost 120 kilometres from the town of Montbard to the outskirts of the ducal city of Dijon. The first part of the route goes up the canal from lock to lock reaching its high point at Pouilly-en-Auxois.
Then you coast down to the bottom of the Valley of the Ouche (you won't feel a thing!). On longer holidays, there are two nights for each stage, which gives you a chance to get to know the region a little better and to visit some of the many castles and mediaeval villages dotted along the valley.
Here, time seems to have no importance at all. The past lives on in the churches and castles of yore, the waters of the canal seems to doze, stirring only from time to time at the gentle slow passage of barges, while a cyclist plies a sightless furrow along the towpath. So why not give in and enjoy this salutory languour?

You'll love

  • seeing the many castles and mediaeval forts and villages all along the valley
  • the towpath - ideal for cyclists and away from cars and Co...
  • the visit to the Abbey of Fontenay
  • the Museoparc of Alésia, on the site of the great confrontation (52 BC) of the Romans led by Julius Caesar and the Gauls led by Vercingetorix. The Romans won against the odds, and Gaul (more-or-less today's France) became a province of Rome, a situation which lasted around 600 years! Much to see, and fun toboot!

Program : The Burgundy Canal by bike

  • D1 Arrival in Montbard

    Things to see:
    XVIII century park designed by the naturalist, Buffon. The museum in the former orangery.

    Dinner and night in 3 star gourmet hotel-restaurant.

  • D2 Around Montbard

    33 km stage with total uphill 200 metres (level 2/5). Around 4hrs.
    The first day of your voyage along the paths of Burgundy brings you an encounter with two unmissable features of the Burgundian heritage: the Cistercian abbey at Fontenay, and the phenomenal Grande Forge conceived and built by Buffon.
    The ride through Montbard, Buffon's home town, reveals a borough built in tiers across a hill which is overlooked by the vast park that houses the remains of the castle of the Dukes of Burgundy.
    Then finally you come to the banks of the Burgundy Canal which will be your guide for the remainder of your adventure.
    As today's route forms two loops you may, if you wish, choose to follow just one of them: round the Abbey of Fontenay or round Buffon's celebrated Grande Forge.

    Dinner and night at the hotel.

  • D3 From Montbard to Flavigny sur Ozerain

    49km stage with total uphill 510m (level 3/5). About 4hrs20.
    The day starts along the canal. The route is along towpaths, past numerous flower-bedecked locks, and contrasts with the next stage of the ride heading towards two mediaeval cities, Semur-en-Aixois and Flavigny-sur-Ozerain. The excursion into the Burgundy countryside reveals a hilly landscape with a mix of farmland. Hedges and spinnies, and herds of Charolis cattle, will be present throughout your day, before you venture into the narrow streets of Flavigny sur Ozerain, at the end of your ride.

    Dinner and night in lovely guest house in the heart of the mediaeval city of Flavigny.

  • D4 Around Flavigny sur Ozerain

    32 km with total uphill 375 m (level 2/5). About 2hrs45.
    Difficult not to speak of Julius Caesar and Vercingetorix if you stay in Flavigny just near the battlefield at Alesia where the former is said to have defeated the 52BC.
    Flavigny is today a picturesque mediaeval town near the battle site; Caesar made it his base before the fatal conflict. You can get a flavour of the place where the battle was fought by crossing the very fields and then visiting the Archeological Museum.
    But the day holds other surprises. The unspoilt countryside, with its hedge-lined fields and spinnies, and another gem of the built heritage with a stop at the splendid Château de Bussy.

    Dinner at restaurant and night in guesthouse.

  • D5 From Flavigny sur Ozerain to Vandenesse

    53 km with total uphill 175 m (level 2/5). About 4hrs15.
    You leave the mediaeval city by a long descent down to the valley and the next instalment of your daily route along the Burgundy Canal.
    The towpath climbs gently up to Pouilly en Auxois, known as the "roof of western Europe". Your route goes along the other bank of the canal, descending on the Mediterranean side. The high spot of the day is surely provided by the discovery of the 3,333 metre long tunnel that passes beneath Pouilly-en Auxois. A spectacular feat of engineering which can be visited only in the presence of an official guide.

    Night in guest house and dinner at restaurant.

  • D6 Around Vandenesse

    22.5 km with total uphill 310 m (level 3/5). Around 3hrs15.
    Great day on the programme, cycling across rural Burgundy and its mediaeval remains.
    Unulating scenery, nice to bike through, an old Roman road that plies between two lofty and majestic châteaux, casting you back in time. On the way back,you could take a dip in the Lac (lake) de Panthier, nice way to come, as it were, down to Earth.

    Night in guest house and dinner at restaurant.

  • D7 From Vandenesse to Dijon

    51 km with total uphill 80 metres (level 2/5). About 4hrs15.
    This will be one of the longest ride of your holiday. But the long, slightly descending, well-surfaced towpath will compensate for the distance! A picturesque itinerary that follows the Valley of the Ouche. This is unspoilt Burgundy in all its splendour, and you are sure to enjoy visiting the lovely villages along the way to the capital of Burgundy.

    Dine where you will, then sleep at the 3 star hotel in the heart of Dijon.

  • D8 Departure

    Departure after breakfast. Train transfer to Montbard.


From April to October, departure everyday

In a triple room

Adult : 755 €
Junior (12-17) : 755 €
Baby (0-1) : 80 €

In double room

Adult :  795 €
Junior (12 - 17) : 795 €
Baby (0 - 1) : 80 €




In a single room

1005 €

Solo traveller

1005 €

What's included?

  • 4 nights half-board in 3 star hotel and 3 "épis" guesthouses
  • 2 nights half-board in local guesthouse
  • 1 night in 3 star hotel with breakfast.
  • Detailed roadbook and maps.
  • Logistical and technical support
  • Baggage transfer
  • Return transport by train from Dijon to Monbard


  • Bike rental from :
    • Bike for adult or junior : 100 €
    • Bike cart for child : 60 €
    • Child seat : 10 €
    • Electric power bike rental for adult or junior: 130 €

What's not included ?

  • Parking for the duration of your holiday :  to pay directly
  • Dinner on day 7 in Dijon
  • Beverage and extra
  • Entrance fees for the suggested visits
  • Return transfer from Home to the first accomodation
  • Facultative cancellation and rapatriation insurance

Characteristics of circuits

  • Cycle holiday going from place to place without accompaniment.
  • Daily stages between 22,5 and 53 kilometres, from 2hrs to 4hrs20 per day at your own pace.
  • Total daily uphill: 80- 510 metres.
  • Altitude: from 200 to 500 metres
  • Roads: towpath and quiet little country roads
  • Suitable for country bikes


These holiday rides are more about relaxed exploration than athletic performance. We transport your luggage from lodging to lodging, and a detailed roadbook will guide you all through your stay. We also provide logistical and technical support.

On longer holidays you change accommodation every other day, which gives you the chance to better explore your surroundings or simply take your time and relax...

Accommodation is in either 2 or 3 star/"épis" hotels or guest houses chosen for their atmosphere, warm welcome and environmental and architectural quality.
N.B : the accommodation described above is given as an indication and may vary according to availability at the moment your reservation is finalized.

This holiday includes half-board accommodation.


By car

Highway A6 exit Bierre-les-Semur

By air

Paris airports or Lyon St-Exupéry airport

By train

Montbard railway station. The accommodation is next to the railway station (15 mn on foot)


Global note
  • Belle découverte de la Bourgogne, loin de la foule. L'alternance entre les déplacements à vélo et les visites qui jalonnent l'itinéraire nous a beaucoup plu.

  • Une fois de plus, avec Safran, nous avons apprécié la qualité de l'accueil et des contacts humains.

  • A rare route associating nature, history and gastronomy in a fine balance.
  • We were delighted for this first experience with Safrantours in this beautiful region of Burgundy. Great organization, great accommodations and restaurants, good bikes and the itinerary was source of total relaxation,distractions, beautiful village visits etc ...

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