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The canal of Burgundy for families

Discover the mediaeval Burgundy with your family
  • Duration 8 days
  • Activity Biking
  • Holiday among adults, with family
  • Theme rivers and canals, countryside

Information : The canal of Burgundy for families

  • Comfort
  • Difficulty
  • Note No note
  • Roadbooks French / German


The prime ambition of this holiday is to discover Burgundy (French "Bourgogne") with your family and at your own pace. The towpath winds almost a hundred kilometres from the town of Montbard to the village of Pont de Pany. The first part of the route goes up the canal from lock to lock reaching its high point at Pouilly-en-Auxois.
Then in the second part you coast down to the bottom of the Valley of the Ouche (you won't feel a thing!). On the 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 numerous castles and mediaeval villages lining the valley.
Here, time seems to have less importance. The past lives on in the churches and castles of yore, the water of the canal seems to doze, stirring only from time to time at the gentle slow passage of barges, while a cyclist ploughs an invisible furrow along the towpath. And you can simply enjoy this benevolent langour...effortlessly.

A circuit suitable for children over 8 years old who will appreciate the mediaeval ambiance and visits to castles and abbeys.

You'll love

  • seeing the many castles and mediaeval forts and villages all along the valley
  • riding along the towpath - ideal for cyclists and away from cars and company...
  • 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.

Program : The canal of Burgundy for families

  • D1 Arrival in Montbard

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

    Dinner and night at the 3 star gourmet hotel-restaurant.

  • D2 Around Montbard

    33 km with total uphill 200 metres (level 2/5). Duration around 4hrs.
    The first day's cycling along the paths of Burgundy brings you to two places of great importance in the culture and heritage of the region: the Cistercian abbey at Fontenay and Buffon's "Grande Forge" (18th century iron works).
    The day includes the passage through Montbard, Buffon's town, on a hill overlooked by a huge park around the remains of the château of the Dukes of Burgundy. And of course an encounter with the banks of the Burgundy Canal which will be, as it were, your guide throughout your stay.
    As today's ride is in two loops, you can of course decide to visit just the Abbey or the Forge.

    Dinner and night at the hotel.

  • D3 From Montbard to Semur en Auxois

    33 km with total uphill 270 m (level 2/5). Duration about 4hrs.
    Today's ride is mainly along the towpath. The last section leads you through the Burgundy countryside to mediaeval town of Semur. The slow rise up the canal is punctuated by a fair number of flower-bedecked locks: in fact in the 12 km stretch there are 37 of them!
    You may like to leave the towpath to visit some of the high-built villages nearby all along the canal. There you'll find traditional old houses, venerable shops and the occasional château which still bears witness to a bygone age.
    This evening you'll be staying in the old town of Semur built on a rocky outcrop.

    Dinner at leasure and night at the hotel.

  • D4 From Semur en Auxois to Marigny le Cahouët

    35.8 km with 300m rise (level 3/5). About 4hrs.
    Today will be perhaps the hardest in terms of effort, but also the richest in historical interest. The first section leads you along pleasant narrow roads towards the Burgundy Canal through the lovely surrounding countryside.
    The section is at the foot of Mount Auxois amid the remains of the crucial battle of Alésia which led to Julius Caesar taking ancient Gaul into the Roman Empire (52BC). Today's journey comes to an end along the old canal that leads you gently back to your waterside accommodation.

    Dinner and night in a 3 star B+B at the side of the canal.

  • D5 From Marigny le Cahouët to Vandenesse

    39.3 km with 215 metres of rise (level 2/5). Estimated time: 5hrs.
    Today you follow the Burgundy canal all along. The towpath climbs gently up to Pouilly en Auxois, known as the "Roof of Western Europe". The itinerary is along the other side of the canal in the descending section in direction of the Mediterranean.
    Today's high point will certainly be discovering the 3.333km tunnel that goes under Pouilly en Auxois. You can visit it in the company of a guide.

    Dinner at the restaurant and night in guesthouse.

  • D6 Around Vandenesse

    36 km total uphill of just 50 m (level 2/5). About 4hrs.
    Very slight downhill section along a well-surfaced towpath that compensates for the distance. It's a very picturesque route along the Valley of the Ouche. This is one of the wilder unspoilt courners of Burgundy. You'll love looking around the gorgeous typical villages all along the valley. But leave a little in reserve so you can make it up to the railway station -the Gare SNCF of Mâlain situated in the upper village.

    Return trip by taxi from Pont de Pany to Montbard.

    Dinner and night at your first hotel.

  • D7 From Vandenesse to Montbard

    36km with total altitude chage of 50metres! (Level 2/5). Duration about 4hrs.
    This is one of the longest stage of your holiday. A gentle downhill run on the towpath with a smooth surface softens the blow of the distance to go! Pretty route through the alley of the Ouche . Here, Burgundy is at its unspoilt best. You're sure to enjoy visiting the picturesque traditional Burgundy villages all along the valley. But save a little energy for the climb up to the SNCF (French railways) stationat Mâlain in the upper part of the village.

    Local train (called 'TER') from Mâlain to Les Laumes, then transfer back to Montbard by taxi.

    Dinner and night at your first hotel.

  • D8 Departure

    Departure after breakfast.

Tariffs high season

From July to August, departure everyday

In family room

Adult : 745 €
Junior (12-17) : 635 €
Child (2-11) : 485 €
Baby (0 - 1) : 80 €

In double room

Adult : 765 €
Junior (12 - 17) :  765 €
Child (2 - 11) : 705 €
Baby (0 - 1) : 80 €

In single room

995 €

Solo traveller

995 €

Tariffs low season

From April to June and from september to october, departure everyday

In family room

Adult : 745 €
Junior (12-17) : 635 €
Child (2-11) : 485 €
Baby (0-1) : 80 €

In double room

Adult :  765 €
Junior (12 - 17) : 765 €
Child (2 - 11) : 705 €
Baby (0 - 1) : 80 €

In single room

995 €

Solo traveller

955 €

What's included?

  • Half board except in Semur en Auxois : dinner at leasure.
  • 2 and 3 star hotels and 3 "épis" guest houses.
  • Detailed roadbook and maps.
  • Logistical and technical support.
  • Baggage transfer
  • Return transfer by train to Montbard.


  • Bike rental from :
    • Bike for adult or junior : 95 €
    • MTB for child : 55 €
    • Trailer bike or bike cart for child : 55 €
    • Child seat : 10 €
    • Electric power bike rental for adult or junior: 130 €

What's not included ?

  • Parking at the first accomodation throughtout the stay : to pay directly
  • Dinner on day 3
  • Beverage and extra
  • Entrance fees for the visits
  • Return transfer from Home to the first accomodation
  • Facultative cancellation and rapatriation insurance

Characteristics of circuits

  • Family cycling holiday going from place to place.
  • Daily stages between 33 and 39 kilometres, around 4hrs to 5hrs at your own pace.
  • Total daily uphill: 50 - 300 metres.
  • Altitude: from 200 to 500 metres
  • Towpath and quiet little country roads
  • Suitable for country bikes


These holidays are much more about relaxed exploration than athletic performance. Your roadbook will guide you from beginning to end, and we provide the logistical and technical support necessary.

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...

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

The circuits proposed are half board.


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 at 10mn on foot.

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