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On the Right Track

GR Routes, Burgundy, FranceWalking is by far the most popular sporting/leisure activity of the French and as with many things in France, it is well organised. The GR routes, Grandes Randonnées, have been in existence for more than 60 years. Lines are painted on rocks, trees, walls and posts – red and white for hiking routes and red and yellow for GR de Pays which are easier but longer circular routes. One single yellow line marks the shorter PR Promenade et Randonnée routes. Over the whole country, the network of paths offers nearly 180.000 km of routes. The Fédération Francaise de Randonnée Pédestre (FFRP) maintain these paths and markings so that everyone can discover France’s regions and natural history in complete safety.

Walking in the vineyards of BurgundyIn Burgundy the GR13 passes from north to south from Auxerre
to Vézelay, through the Morvan Forest to Mount Beuvray and on
to the south of France. There are many shorter routes zig-
zagging across the region, and IGN Série Bleue features 156
different maps on the scale 1: 25,000 of each segment which
are available from amazon.fr.
Some of the more popular areas
include Carte de randonnée : Vézelay;
Chablis; Nolay;
La Charité-sur-Loire
; Saulieu - Lac des Settons;
Semur-en-Auxois; Mâcon - Cluny - Solutré; Tournus

Below: left to right: Quarré-les-Tombes; Château Chinon; Mont
Beuvray in the Morvan Natural Park. Below, Val Suzon near
Dijon, Beaune and Chagny and Nuits-St-Georges in the wine belt.


The Topo-guides, published by the FFRP give details of the individual walks, maps, distances between each stage, timing, where to stay etc. in French.

Topo-guides for the region

Auxerre et ses environs à pied : 21 promenades & randonnées – day walks

Tour et Traversée du Morvan (see below)

canals, vineyards and the Morvan

There are two new guides to walking on the Burgundy Canal, the Canal de Bourgogne, published on Kindle and other ebook formats by Melinda Lusmore. The first covers Migennes to Pouilly-en-Auxois and the second from Pouilly to St.Jean de Losne. Information on where to stay, places to visit en route, transport connections...

'Walks in the Beaune Countryside' suggests 30 routes with a map, telling you the distance, duration and rating, detailing the points of interest en route. It is available from the Beaune Tourist Office, 6 Boulevard Perpreuil for 3 euros.

Walking in the vineyards of Beaune © BIVB MonnierBourgogne Evasion offers half or whole day walking or cycling tours in the vineyards around Beaune, and include a wine tasting en route. Reasonably priced trips with English speaking guides.

For a well organised self-guided hiking tour in and around Beaune, see Discover France Adventures.

France offers the walker National and Natural Parks and sparsely populated areas of great beauty
throughout the country to explore on foot.

Find Your Way With Ease

You could find this gadget invaluable on your country treks. The Garmin Foretrex 401 is an easy-to-use wrist- mounted high-sensitivity GPS navigator. It is ideal for active adventures that require you to keep both hands free such as hiking, skiing, camping, and it is even used by the military.

Garmin ForetexIt is rugged and lighter than many watches as well as waterproof. It features an electronic compass, a barometric altimeter and a USB interface. You can even wirelessly share routes, tracks and waypoints between units. It also incorporates a trip computer, sunrise/sunset and hunting and fishing information and can connect to your PC.  When it's time to head back, simply turn on the TracBack® feature, and Foretrex will retrace your path back to where you started. Garmin Foretrex 401 GPS Watch