Saturday, 12 March 2011

Green, green grass of home

Those familiar with this blog and this region should know by now that a cycling or walking holiday in Burgundy more has to offer then just wine and good food. For those not familiar with the area however, this blog might be an eye opener.
For years I have cycled day in day out the 10 miles between house and work and vice versa. After having moved, in September 2005, to France, this daily routine was one of the things I missed most. Of course, certainly in the beginning, we were too busy getting the gîtes and the campsite up and running, organising the enormous amount of stuff we had brought over, etc. to have much exercise. During that time I cycled regularly into Cormatin, to buy bread and a newspaper, but 2 x 2 miles a day is not the same as 2 x 10 miles. To make up for the difference I cycled the 8 miles up and down to Cluny as often as was needed to buy a book or something else which was not readily available in Cormatin. Only after the big renovation was over, time came to concentrate on finding out what would people attract to this part of the world for a holiday. One way of finding out was to get on my bicycle and cycle into Cluny, where the Tourist Office not only has an excellent staff, but also a good collection of brochures. And because I had cycled through Taizé and Massilly along the Voie Verte, it seemed logical to pick up some information about this cycle path.
I found out very quickly, that the Voie Verte more had to offer but just cycling along an old flat piece of converted railway (approx. 44 miles) between Givry and Charnay-lès-Mâcon. The tourist offices around here have free maps of the Voie Verte available, where one can see which round trips (boucles) there can be made from various spots along the Voie Verte. All these circuits are signposted with little shields along the roadside.
Very soon I spotted near our house some of those signs. It appeared that the Romanesque (Norman) church route almost passed by La Tuilerie. All boucles start and end at the Voie Verte, normally by a parking area for those who want to leave their car somewhere and carry on by bicycle. Boucles 10 and 10bis start from the parking area at Cormatin-Bois Dernier, but of course one is free to start wherever one wants. All boucles have a degree of difficulty ranging from 1 (easy-peasy) to 4 (why on earth am I doing this???), a distance, an estimated time (sufficient time to visit the tourist attractions underway), and they all start where they end. About the various boucles I will write in my next blog.

This blog in 3 episodes is of course far from complete. For more information about this region I like to refer to the tourist page on our own website and to an extensive blog about tourism and activities around here.

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