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MTB fun in the Massif Central — La Grande Traversée du Morvan

© Olivier Octobre

MTB fun in the Massif Central — La Grande Traversée du Morvan

Mountain Biking Collection by Grande Traversée du Massif Central

4-9

days

3-7 h

/ day

198 mi

18,925 ft

18,725 ft

The landscape between the mountains and lakes of France’s Morvan region is a mountain bike paradise par excellence. More than 100 kilometres (60 mi) of marked mountain bike routes wind along babbling rivers and past vast lakes through the low mountain range in the north of the Massif Central. They offer you single-trail fun, gentle gravel routes and, of course, plenty of places for relaxing breaks.

In total, you conquer more than 300 kilometres (186 mi) with over 5,800 metres (19,000 ft) of elevation gain on this multi-day Tour – an adventurous challenge. Along the route, there are always restaurants waiting to spoil you with the finest French cuisine. This way, you can reward yourself for your effort. There are also numerous cultural attractions in the area. It's best to give yourself plenty of time as it's worth exploring the historic towns as well as the regional museums and churches.

The route leads from the medieval city of Avallon to the Gallo-Roman city of Autun across seven stages. Each is between 28 and 54 kilometres (17–34 mi) long, with a maximum of 1,100 metres (3,600 ft) of elevation gain per day. There are only a few particularly demanding sections and we recommend this route for active mountain bikers with a medium technical level.

At the stage destinations, various accommodation options await where you can spend the night comfortably and rest up for the next day. We refer to our recommendations in the individual Tour descriptions. You can get to Avallon in less than three hours by TER (Transport Express Régional) from Paris. For the way back, there’s the bus line LR123 that goes from Autun back to Avallon. There’s also plenty of free parking in Avallon.

We wish you an unforgettable adventure!

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La Grande Traversée du Morvan

197 mi

18,775 ft

18,600 ft

Last updated: May 12, 2022

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Tours & Highlights

  • Map data © OpenStreetMap contributors

    Stage 1: Avallon to Quarré-les-Tombes — La Grande Traversée du Morvan

    Difficult
    04:44
    32.3 mi
    6.8 mph
    3,375 ft
    2,700 ft
    Expert mountain bike ride. Very good fitness required. Advanced riding skills necessary. Some portions of the Tour may require you to push your bike.

    An epic start to your MTB adventure in the north of the Massif Central: on your bike you cross Avallon from the terraces to the city walls and from here you dive into the valley of the Cousins. On its shore you drive on a wildly romantic single trail.

    

    Then it goes steadily uphill and downhill - you have

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  • Intermediate
    04:00
    28.0 mi
    7.0 mph
    2,475 ft
    2,225 ft
    Intermediate mountain bike ride. Good fitness required. Advanced riding skills necessary.

    Wide meadows, shady forests with majestic Douglas firs and a mystical monastery await you on the second stage. On unpaved paths it goes up and down all the time - you conquer a total of about 760 meters in altitude.

    

    Along the Triquelin, it goes gently uphill to La Pierre Qui Vire, where the Sainte-Marie

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  • Intermediate
    02:46
    21.3 mi
    7.7 mph
    1,425 ft
    1,225 ft
    Intermediate mountain bike ride. Good fitness required. Advanced riding skills necessary.

    You can almost count the third stage as a rest day, because it is very moderate at only 34 kilometers. After about six kilometers you will reach the Lac de Chamboux - an eight-kilometer circular route leads around here. If you feel like it, then take this beautiful loop with you and watch loons, herons

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  • Difficult
    04:35
    33.2 mi
    7.2 mph
    3,050 ft
    3,475 ft
    Expert mountain bike ride. Very good fitness required. Suitable for all skill levels.

    The stage starts with a leisurely rolling passage along Lac des Settons. It continues through hedgerows, Douglas fir and spruce forests to Planchez, which is about halfway. Here you can make a small pit stop, stock up on supplies in the small regional epicerie and strengthen yourself.

    

    A challenge awaits

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  • Difficult
    04:45
    32.0 mi
    6.7 mph
    3,700 ft
    4,100 ft
    Expert mountain bike ride. Very good fitness required. Advanced riding skills necessary.

    After a pleasant start with beautiful views of Anost, things get tough: behind Corcelles, a six-kilometer climb awaits without a breather. Then you roll down with pleasure to the Étang d'Yonne.

    

    In the distance you can see the Haut Folin - to climb it, a ten-kilometer climb awaits you. In the summer months

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  • Difficult
    04:32
    32.6 mi
    7.2 mph
    3,000 ft
    2,900 ft
    Expert mountain bike ride. Very good fitness required. Advanced riding skills necessary.

    On the penultimate stage, you will already notice that you are reaching the end of the Morvan massif. The first section is much flatter than the last few days, you drive through rural areas and small communities like Étang-sur-Arroux, which lies on the banks of the Arroux river and where you will find

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  • Intermediate
    02:38
    19.0 mi
    7.2 mph
    1,925 ft
    2,125 ft
    Intermediate mountain bike ride. Good fitness required. Suitable for all skill levels.

    The last stage is a gentle end to your low mountain range tour: With only 28 kilometers and 570 meters in altitude, you can take it easy and still have enough time to continue your journey. After Mesvres, you climb a bit through an oak and chestnut forest to the Tronchet mountain and along the Étang

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Collection Stats

  • Tours
    7
  • Distance
    198 mi
  • Duration
    27:59 h
  • Elevation
    18,925 ft18,725 ft

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