One of the highlights of a walk along the Burgundy Canal will be a visit to Château d’Ancy-le-Franc. Built in the 1540s, the château is one of the earliest, and still one of the best, examples of Italian Renaissance architecture in France.
(Published June 2013, last updated February 2022)
The interior has been painstakingly restored (no photos allowed) to show the rooms as they were decorated and used by past occupants and gives a fascinating insight into the daily life and politics of the time. One section includes rooms and works of art commissioned for an expected visit by the King and a common feature of grand homes of that time.
Madame de Sévigné, whose published letters have given a unique insight into privileged life in the seventeenth century, was a frequent visitor to Château d’Ancy-le-Franc. Her sitting room remains just as she liked it, overlooking the gardens.
Guided visits are held every hour but an audio guide (available in many languages) will allow you to explore at your own pace.
Allow at least an hour to explore the château and another hour to wander through the 123 acres of surrounding parkland.
Let’s wander through the grounds of the château…
Which long-distance walk in France visits Château d’Ancy-le-Franc?
The Burgundy Canal
Where is Château d’Ancy-le-Franc, France? Find it on Google maps
Ancy-le-Franc is located 71 kilometres (44 miles) along the Burgundy Canal.
To reach Château d’Ancy-le-Franc from the canal — turn left and cross the bridge 2.5 kilometres (1.6 miles) past Écluse 81 Y Rapille (before you reach Écluse 80 Y Ancy-le-Franc). Continue along this road—the D905—for 650 metres until you reach the château. Follow the road for a further 100 metres and around the left-hand bend to reach the shops and hotels.
If you are following my suggested itinerary (which you’ll find here), you’ll arrive in Ancy-le-Franc mid-morning on the fourth day of walking and cycling from the starting point of Migennes. Allow two or three hours to explore the château and parklands before continuing on to Chassignelles for the fourth night.
This relaxed pace includes a rest day at Tonnerre, allowing plenty of time to visit the nearby attractions of Château de Maulnes, Château de Tanlay and the ‘most beautiful village’ of Noyers.
If you prefer to set your own agenda, I share the steps I take to plan my itinerary on any long-distance walk (using the Chemin de Stevenson as a case study).
Bicycle hire is available at several Tourist Offices along the Burgundy Canal from VéliBourgogne. Bikes can be returned to any of the offices, so cycling some, or all, of the stages is very easy to arrange. In addition to here in Ancy-le-Franc, bikes can be picked up or returned at Migennes, Saint-Florentin, Tonnerre, Montbard, Pouilly-en-Auxois and Dijon.
Tourist Office in Ancy-le-Franc
You’ll find the Tourist Office at 11 Place Clermont-Tonnerre.
The château is closed on Mondays unless the Monday is a public holiday. Opening hours and a free audio guide are available here.
Accommodation in Ancy-le-Franc
Domaine des Douves
Gîte le Moulin Neuf (book through your favourite hotel booking website)
Chalet de la Garenne
How to book accommodation in French
Where to eat in Ancy-le-Franc
There are several cafés, bakeries and a supermarket in Ancy-le-Franc where you can stop for lunch or dinner, buy picnic supplies or stock up on trail mix.
Fresh food markets are held along Allée du Château on Thursday morning.
Practical tips for long-distance walking—preparation, packing and avoiding blisters