This itinerary in the heart of the Morvan reveals some of the jewels across this vast Burgundy region. A region rich with valleys dotted with lakes, the edge of which are ideal for a doze. This is a region shaped by its abundant nature. A region of undisputed gastronomic treasures, its cultural heritage is evident. With two UNESCO classified sites along your route, and numerous cities full of character, each outing is an opportunity to discover the history of Morvandais country.
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Château-Chinon: “Small town, big reputation”! So goes the town’s motto, whose mayor François Mitterrand left his legacy at the amazing Musée du Septennat. Gathered here in a former convent are all the ceremonial gifts received by the former President. After the Costume Museum, enjoy a magnificent panoramic view of the city from the Calvary erected on ancient Gallic and medieval remains. The town’s rich past lends a pleasant charm to the old centre where narrow lanes come to life at the weekend. A second day in the Vallée de la Cure offers the chance to enjoy the activities around the large Lac des Settons surrounded by fir and larch woods. Located 573m above sea level, attracts families and the sporty crowd alike. Outings on foot or by bike, catamarans, canoeing, windsurfing, fishing, swimming and relaxation: it’s all brought together for a visit with a difference. Before reaching Saulieu for a gastronomic evening, take a detour to the Saut de Gouloux waterfall.
Rich with historical and gastronomic heritage, Saulieu is home to some excellent restaurants. Between feasts, visit the Romanesque Basilica St-Andoche and its adjoining museum, dedicated to Rodin’s student, François Pompon. Next, head to Butte de Thil for its panoramic view and its fortress, before reaching Semur-en-Auxois, a medieval town perched on cliffs of pink granite. Go through its old centre and follow the charming promenade along its ramparts. En route to Montbard, stop-off at Alise-Ste-Reine to discover the secrets of the Battle of Alésia.
Stamping ground of the naturalist Buffon, Montbard sports a park, a museum and a remarkable site – The Forges of Buffon – dedicated to the author of the encyclopedic Natural History. Once you’ve seen these very pleasant and informative places, hurry along to the Abbey of Fontenay for a spiritual stopoff. Listed as a World Heritage Site, this 12th century Cistercian monastery is a masterpiece of architecture lurking in a green valley. End your trip with a visit to the traditional village of Montreal, before discovering the charm of Avallon, a fortified city dotted with old houses and gardens.
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