For lovers of the land: the vineyard route
From Beaune to Santenay, the bucolic landscapes of vineyards stretch over twenty kilometers (12 miles) along the Voie des vignes . Hop off your bike to enjoy little breaks to discover the local products in the land of Burgundy, where prestigious vintages ripen
In Beaune, the École des Vins de Bourgogne offers a great introduction to wine lovers through tastings and masterclasses, while the traditional Fallot mustard factory will titillate your taste buds.
After this apéro, head for the hilly paths meandering through cultivated land. Other gourmet stops await you, such as the Château de Pommard estate and its famous wines, beloved by Henri II and Louis XV. Or the Château de Meursault estate, whose cellars house nearly 800,000 bottles.
From Santenay, continue for about ten kilometers (six miles) to Nolay for a change of landscape; this spot is punctuated by dramatic cliffs and forests.
Along the water: the Nivernais canal
Water, the most soothing element, is the common thread of your rides along the Nivernais canal. With 175 km (108 miles) of tracks punctuated by unusual places, lovers of wild and unspoiled spaces will be delighted. From the 16th to the 19th century, the canal made it possible to transport wood from the forests of the Morvan to Paris. In those days Clamecy, capital of floating, was a flagship city.
Another impressive stop on the cycle route is the Sardy Ladder, which houses a succession of 16 locks. Make the most of the aquatic element from the first rays of morning: the Baye Pond offers an ideal opportunity to take a dip in the water and cool off. Another option, for the more athletic: test your balance on a paddle or a windsurfing board.
Breathe fresh air: the great crossing of the Morvan
For a big breath of fresh air, head to the Morvan mountains. To explore this region of pine and deciduous forests, sculpted by lakes, the most athletic will choose to take the Grande traversée du Morvan by mountain bike. In the southern part of this crossing, between Château-Chinon and Bourbon-Lancy, a 73 km (45 miles) route leads through the landscapes of hilly groves and villages. In three days, you'll reach the heights of Mont Beuvray and Haut-Folin, the highest point of Burgundy.
Take a breather to admire beautiful views of the Morvan massif. Adventure is at the end of the road: inhale, exhale, climb, descend, then rest in Bibracte, an ancient Gallic town, or at the thermal spa of Bourbon-Lancy.
Imagine the fire at the Grande Forge de Buffon
To conclude this return to the four elements, take a relaxing pedal along the Burgundy Canal. On the route between Rougemont and Montbard, a stop at the Grande Forge de Buffon deserves a look. Built in the 18th century thanks to an idea from the naturalist Buffon, the former industrial site bears witness to the genius of the Age of Enlightenment.
The forge takes the shape of a large stone boat, with a hydraulic system and big wheel. Go back in time and discover the workshops which produced 390 tons of iron per year in 1778. Imagine the fire necessary for this work in the blast furnace, by positioning yourself in front of it on the ceremonial staircase nicknamed the "little theater" of Buffon. Here, the distinguished guests of the naturalist admired the spectacle melting iron ore, heated up to 1,200 degrees Celsius (2192 Fahrenheit).