Covering only eighty-seven kilometres (fifty-four miles), this section of the Burgundy Canal from Pouilly-en-Auxois to Saint-Jean-de-Losne is considerably shorter than the western side of the canal and can be walked comfortably in five days.
Although this section has fewer distractions—such as the seven châteaux, eleven churches and one abbey—than the section from Migennes to Pouilly-en-Auxois, it does, I think, have more than its fair share of beautiful lock houses (maisons d’éclusier en français) and stunning scenery.
So, what will you see along the way?
For the first sixty kilometres (thirty-seven miles) of the walk, from Pouilly-en-Auxois to Dijon, the canal takes a romantic, winding path through some of the most glorious French countryside imaginable.
As you walk you’ll see glimpses of centuries-old church steeples through the trees, carpets of wildflowers growing down towards the water’s edge, and, in summer, you’ll walk along lanes and roads flanked with fields of bright sunflowers.
And of course, you’ll also see the fortified castle at Châteauneuf-en-Auxois sitting high and grand on the hill and beckoning you away from the canal.
The path from Dijon to Saint-Jean-de-Losne is open and exposed for most of the way, with little shelter from the French summer sun. The engineers who designed this path appear to have drawn a straight line on the map and carved the shortest possible route between the two towns.
This is a road well-suited to cycling. If you can ride a bike (which I can’t), I’d recommend renting one in Dijon and treating yourself to a leisurely cycle to the end of the canal.
Along the path, you’ll discover village markets at Pouilly-en-Auxois, Pont-de-Pany, Dijon and Saint-Jean-de-Losne that are well worth a visit.
I also suggest spending an additional day in Dijon to explore the local wineries or take an unforgettable hot air balloon flight over the spectacular Burgundy countryside.
And don’t forget to pick up a pot (or two) of authentic Dijon mustard while you are here!