This weekend we went for a quick weekend ride at the Canal du Nivernais. Leaving from Paris it’s only a 2h ride on a regional train (TER) which allows you to get onboard with your regular bikes (not foldable, not disassembled).
At Auxerre we slept at the Relais des Saints Pères hotel. They were very kind and helpful, and allowed us to store our bikes at a private patio in the hotel. They also provided us with a good breakfast before leaving.
When leaving Auxerre via the Canal, you’ll find immediately at the beginning of the canal a place called La Maison du Vélo (The Bike House), where you can rent bikes, but also buy spares or ask for a pump or other equipment.
The path is a well paved road next to the water. It is what in French is called Chemin de halage, or pulling road. These roads served to pulled boats that navigate the canal upstream. Now they are mostly used for service vehicles who help open/close the locks in the canals.
The canal has a lot of tiny villages in the way, including a beautiful village+castle (can’t remember its name) where you can have peaceful rest after climbing all the way up there.
And also, if you’re into it, somewhere near Merry-sur-Yonne, you’ll find the Rocher de Saussois, a big natural rock climbing wall. On our way we saw several climbers. If I only knew beforehand, I would have brought my climbing gear and join them.
Using the canal you can go from Auxerre to Nevers (80km), which is what we planned to do this weekend. Unfortunately time and a flat tire forced us to rather do a return ride to Auxerre.
You can find our route on: