Arrive in Vézelay, a magical village that was once a starting point for the pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostela. It was also here that St. Bernard and Eleanor of Aquitaine urged knights to join the first crusade.
On a day walk from Vézelay, you’ll explore the clean, green hills of the Parc Régional du Morvan. Walk through the small but fascinating vineyards originally planted in the Middle Ages, devastated by phylloxera, then replanted beginning in 1975. Saint-Père-sous-Vézelay has a small but lovely church, and an interesting maker of wooden clogs!
Distance: 8 km.*
Head off on a Grande Randonnée route to the village of Vault-de-Lugny. It’s a charming site on the lovely Cousin River, but the real attraction is the château where you will be staying for two nights.
Distance: 14 km.*
Meander along the curves of the Cousin River to the confluence with the Cure. This is classic Burgundian scenery. Pastures dotted with white cows rise up gentle hills crowned with oak trees. The villages are built of a lovely brown stone, adorned with burgundy shutters and roofs. Today’s highlight is the beautiful town of Avallon, high above two ravines. Walk back or hop in a taxi to return to Vault-de-Lugny.
Distance: 16 km.*
Start with a taxi ride to Vincellotes, from where you follow the Canal du Nivernais and the Yonne River as you head to Auxerre. Choose to walk past Les Caves de Bailly to taste crémant, sparkling like champagne. The caves are deep in the hillside, in an ancient quarry. Auxerre is a wonderful destination. Originally Roman, the town boasts many churches, particularly the Cathédrale de St-Étienne rising high above the waterfront. Half-timbered houses crowd narrow streets which open into squares lined with smart shops.
Distance: 15 km.*
Linger in Auxerre before departing for other destinations.
*Distance and elevation gains may vary depending on hotels chosen for specific departure.