The Morvan

Perhaps one of France's best-kept secrets, the tiny Morvan region is easily missed but definitely worth a visit.

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Ever heard of the Morvan? It's perhaps not surprising when this area of low, wooded hills shares a country that includes regions such as the Alps, the Pyrenees, the Côte d’Azur, the Vosges, the Massif Central, the Millau viaduct, the Normandy beaches… well, you get the picture. There are more famous bits of the country that attract more visitors.

And in a nutshell, that’s what we like about this particular region of Burgundy. It’s not a huge area – it's only about the size of the Peak District – but it is criss-crossed by a network of fiendishly twisty and blissfully quiet roads. It’s possible to put a couple of good, diverse days’ riding together, and that's why it makes an excellent destination for a short break. Hotel tip: Hotel Vauban

OFF THE BIKE

CHATEAU DE SAVIGNYLES-BEAUNE
More than just a castle: Chateau de Savignyles-Beaune is a vast motorcycle museum, with an aviation museum and a car museum attached. Historic models from every brand you can think of plus many minor ones. An absolute must-see.

CHATEAU DE BAZOCHES
France is covered with gigantic fortresses designed by Vauban – but he lived in this far more modest Chateau de Bazoches. For a different kind of military engineering, visit the nearby Châteauneuf-en-Auxois.

TOURNUS
An attractive and vibrant town with a 10th-century Benedictine abbey and a bicycle museum. The Hotel Dieu was originally the city hospital in the 17th-century and the pharmacy is straight out of Harry Potter.

SOLUTRE-POUILLY
This is burgundy wine country and half the houses in this small village are ‘wine caves’. Combined with the scenic vineyards and the Rock of Solutré – a large limestone cliff – which is a prehistoric site with evidence of the Solutrean Paleolithic culture, it’s an ideal ‘taster’ for the region’s many attractions.

CHATEAU DE LA VERRERIE
The Chateau de la Verrerie is castle in the heart of the old industrial town of Le Creusot has been turned into a museum dedicated to the forges, mines and factories that shaped it.

GETTING THERE

Avallon’s an easy day’s ride from the all the north-coast ports, even Calais – and you don’t even need to stick to the motorway all the way there. Of course, it’s possible to take a roundabout route, enjoying a bit more of Northern France. That’d make it feel like even more of a holiday…

CAEN TO AVALLON
Distance: 295 miles. Riding time: One day
Route map, Download the GPX


CALAIS TO AVALLON
Distance: 310 miles. Riding time: One day
Route map, Download the GPX

CALAIS TO AVALLON (RELAXED ROUTE)
Distance: 445 miles. Riding time: Two days. Overnight stop: Monthermé
Day one route map, Download the day one GPX , Day two route map, Download the day two GPX


OUR MOTORCYCLE TOURING ROUTES

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MORVAN ROUTE ONE
Start/finish: Avallon. Distance: 155 miles. Riding time: 4.5 hours
A loop of wider, smoother roads through the wooded hills of the Morvan.
Morvan route one map, Download the GPX


MORVAN ROUTE TWO
Start/finish: Avallon. Distance: 175 miles. Riding time: 5 hours
A route using some smaller, tighter, twistier roads through the Morvan.
Morvan route two map, Download the GPX

 

Please note: This page contains the route files for The RiDE Guide To France which came free with RiDE magazine in July 2017. These website page are not regularly updated, so please check all critical information before you travel. All route files are in .gpx format. Garmin and BMW users can download the main file, which contains all the routes and our recommended hotels as separate waypoints. TomTom users can download the individual routes and use the Tyre software to convert them. For many routes we also have Google Map links. However, as Google Maps will not plot routes over seasonally closed high Alpine passes when they’re shut, these may not work for every route all year round.