Burgundy’s Accessible Greenways
If you look on this tourist map of the Voies Vertes, you will see miles and miles of smooth surfaced, accessible and car free countryside paths in Burgundy. They have even marked which access points are wheelchair accessible. This is the main reason I wanted to visit this area. To get out in the countryside in my wheelchair or on the wheelchair bike and hear the birds twittering while watching the vineyards turn golden in the autumn sunlight. We only managed a fraction of the Burgundy car free paths as there is so much to go at. We stuck mainly to the Santenay area and surrounds. There is so much more to explore on future wheelchair travel trips.
Wheelchair Walks and Wheelchair Tandem Biking
Santenay to Nolay
It’s a Gentle uphill slope nearly all the way to Nolay. We passed vineyards, charming villages, lush and abundant rolling hills and bucolic vistas. Towards the end there are 2 viaducts with wide views. We turned back towards Santenay after the first one and glided back downhill all the way back to camp.
Chagny to near Chalon sur Saone
This is an old tow path alongside the canal. It has quiet locks, lockmaster houses decorated with flowers, barges and house boats. Cruise boats passed us by and then even WE overtook them. Went past huge fields and tiny smallholdings, met cows, donkeys, chickens, sheep, geese and lots of cats. Nice and smooth, mostly flat apart from short slopes at the locks.
Santenay to St Leger sur Dheune
We saw lush emerald countryside, white cows, charming canal side gites, roller bladers and more canal cats. We learned the art of pique-nique (we brought tasy nibbles) and stopped at canal side benches for snacks. Gliding alongside the ducks and fish, we were easily overtaken by the Tour de Francers (men who dress up in serious cycle gear). We rescued a tiny snake on the path. Another cyclist asked where to find a wheelchair bike for his handicap daughter. Luckily, the creaky pedal (that became a wobbly pedal when oiled) waited until the end of the trip before needing attention.
Burgundy Scenic Drives
Montagne des Trois Croix
I enjoyed the scenic drive up the Montagne des Trois Croix, but sadly the viewpoint at the top is a no go for wheelchair users. It’s only a 5 minute walk up, so I sent my carer up to enjoy the 360 degree views while I waited in the car park.
Route des Grands Crus
Driving from Santenay to Beaune through the vineyards on charming country lanes. This is the wine tasting route where you pass through rustic villages and a sea of grape vines as far as you can see.
We drove into the centre and saw the hardcore cobbles and skinny pavements. It looked like a wheelchair disaster zone, so we headed straight out again. Someone with more patience or enthusiasm might be able to chart a wheelchair travel route through this place, but it wasn’t gonna be me on that particular day! Instead we enjoyed the sunset scenic drive back through the sea of grapes on the Route des Grands Crus.
The village square in Santenay has good parking and access. Nearby there is a small Vival supermarket, but you might have to go up and down the curbs to enter, as the pavement is a bit skinny near the entrance. Further up the hill from the main square the pavements get thinner, but there are no cobbles. If you want to investigate further in your wheelchair you might need to go on the road.
You don’t need a watch in Santenay, just listen to the bells if you want to know the time.
Camping des Sources has large pitches, most of them on flat ground. There are disabled facilities, you will need to get the key from reception. Set amongst the vineyards in a green and lush environment, it’s friendly, peaceful and has lovely trees. This campsite is in a great location as it’s not far from the village and very near to the Greenways (car free paths).
Santenay tourist office website is www.ville-de-santenay.fr/