Your route in a few words

As you cycle along the Nivernais canal and the river Yonne, covering 6 sections of around thirty kilometres per day, you'll have covered the entire route before you know it. You can also choose to cycle along just one or two sections, it's up to you. 

A bike ride through Burgundy at your own leisurely pace, pain-free.

174 km distance
6 sections
low difference in elevation
easy level of difficulty
families suitable for
through the countryside type of ride
Day 1

Decize/Cercy-la-Tour - 15 km

You can ease into your bicycle touring experience with a fairly short section. On this short ride, you'll have time for some sightseeing in Decize and Cercy-la-Tour.

Ville Decize
The little Venice of the Nivernais


Sitting on a rocky outcrop, Decize is surrounded by the water. To cross the town from one side to the other, you'll need to cross no less than 5 bridges! This town is heaven-on-earth for nature lovers, and the historic town centre is also worth a visit.

Added bonus for families: the free mobile application LEGENDR offers an original walking tour in the form of a game.

Town of Decize
Stéphane Valle/Nièvre Tourisme
Anthony Amat/OTBLM
Rustic charm


Make sure you take the time to venture as far as the ancient medieval fortress overlooking the countryside and the historic town centre of Cercy. From there, the panoramic view is stunning. Stop off for a relaxing break in this beautiful place full of flowers, nestled in lush greenery.

Added bonus for families: the swimming pool and play area where children will have a ball.

Historic tour of Cercy-la-Tour
Day 2

Cercy/Châtillon-en-Bazois - 35 km

A ride through Bazois in the midst of nature: through forest, woodland, past châteaus and Romanesque churches. The arrival point is the town of Châtillon-en-Bazois, overlooked by the château and aquatic gardens.

Château de Châtillon-en-Bazois

The Château de Châtillon-en-Bazois gardens

Continue this bucolic day at a landscaped area of greenery: the château's English-style gardens. They have the 'Remarkable Garden' label and are worth a visit, especially for the views and water mirrors on the lawns reflecting the château and surroundings.

Find out more about the gardens

Day 3

Châtillon/Corbigny - 32 km

This next section (the most challenging along this route) will get your legs burning! But it's absolutely worth the effort. You'll be crossing the famous staircase lock with 16 locks in Sardy-les-Epiry covering almost 4 km, the pretty lockmasters' houses, the Voûtes de la Collancelle (tunnels) and the Baye and Vaux lakes, before arriving in Corbigny.

Day 4

Corbigny/Clamecy - 33 km

Today, you'll be swapping Nivernais canal for the river Yonne. You'll be cycling past Dirol and the drawbridges, Tannay vineyard where we recommend stopping for a tasting, and then on to the town of Clamecy.

Lezbroz - Teddy Verneuil
2 for the price of 1!

The village of Dirol

This charming village with a population of only around one hundred might not seem particularly impressive, but it is worth a visit for its 2 weighbridges, otherwise known as the drawbridges! If you're lucky, you might see them in action when a boat is sailing through.

Dirol drawbridges
Céline Girard

Tannay vineyard

We recommend stopping to visit this little vineyard that covers around 25 hectares. It dates back to 1207 when the monks from Tannay collegiate church planted the vines to be able to make wine for the King. The wine would then be transported along the inland waterways of course!

Tannay vineyard

Clamecy, the capital of timber rafting

Around just one more bend and you'll arrive in Clamecy, today's arrival point. Nivernais canal crosses through this former medieval stronghold. The location meant it was the capital of timber rafting in the 18th and 19th centuries. Take the time to visit the historic town, the collegiate church devoted to St. Martin and the Musée Romain Rolland. 

Find out more about Clamecy

Nicolas GASCARD/BFC Tourisme
Day 5

Clamecy/Mailly-le-Château - 30 km

Now for a day of cycling through spectacular scenery! You can expect to see sheer cliffs, fortified villages and medieval fortresses… You're guaranteed to be amazed!

Updrone/BFC Tourisme

The Saussois Rocks

You've arrived at the foot of the Saussois Rocks. From this popular spot for climbing (almost 60 m high!) there's a breathtaking view of the valley and the wildlife there is safeguarded. 

View of the canal


The little hilltop village of Mailly-le-Château overlooks Yonne valley, and you'll enjoy exploring this walled village. There is a breathtaking view of the canal from the top, with the Morvan in the distance.

Added bonus for families: the little planetarium in Mailly-le-Château where you'll be whisked away into the starry sky.


Eat and sleep in Mailly

Stop off at the Le Pré du Roi campsite and relax and unwind in a rustic setting surrounded by nature and the river. Children will be able to blow off steam in complete safety in the 3-hectare grounds and you can go swimming as a family in the river Yonne (no lifeguards) or you can go canoeing. In the evening, head to the campsite snack bar!

Le Pré du Roi campsite

Day 6

Mailly/Auxerre - 32 km

This last day of cycling is your last chance to enjoy the fresh air alongside the river Yonne, before you arrive in the stunning town of Auxerre. But before that, you'll be riding at an easy-going pace from one beautiful village to the next, with hills covered in grapevines and cherry trees all around you.

Domaine Borgnat
A stop on the theme of wine

Wine tasting at the estate in Escolives-Sainte-Camille

Escolives (pronounced Ecoleev) is a charming village in the midst of the Auxerrois vineyard. You can come to the Domaine Borgnat and discover their wines at the 'Symphony Tastings': tour of the 17th-century wine cellars & tasting the range of wines.

Domaine Borgnat
Kim RASMUSSEN - OT Auxerre / BFC Tourisme
Journey back in time

The Escolives-Sainte-Camille archaeological site

Come and explore the archaeological site of the 'Gallo-Roman villa'. The sculpted blocks of stone that were found in the foundations of the thermal baths at this vast villa are absolutely beautiful.

Escolives archaeological site
Updrone/BFC Tourisme


Welcome to Auxerre! Unfortunately this means you've reached the end of your trip, but you can stay here for a few days to make the most of this town, as the heritage sites and local atmosphere are worth exploring. This is the perfect transition before returning to real life and your hectic routine!

To see:

  • The Cathedral of Saint-Etienne
  • The Abbey of Saint Germain and the crypts
  • The clock tower and astronomical clock
  • The streets lined with half-timbered houses

Added bonus for families: the walking tour 'in the footsteps of Cadet Roussel'

En résumé
À propos
À propos
Updrone/BFC Tourisme