While in Burgundy, we also stopped at the Parc naturel regional du Morvan. Quoting from Wikipedia: “parcs natural regional (regional natural parks or PNRs) are public establishments in France between local authorities and the French national government covering an inhabited rural area of outstanding beauty, in order to protect the scenery and heritage as well as setting up sustainable economic development in the area.”
The Parc du Morvan is the site of Mont Beuvray, where the fortified city of Bibracte once stood, and where the Roman armies of Julius Caesar defeated the Gauls at the Battle of Bibracte in 58 BCE.
A northerly extension of the Massif Central, it’s trees are frequently cut, so the forest is always young and the trees relatively small compared to other forests, such as the Fontainebleau.
The Parc du Morvan is also the site of the largest mountain biking venue of the French Cycling Federation (FFC), La Grande Traversee du Morvan. We saw only one other cyclist. He had a paper map attached to his handlebars, which I thought was pretty clever as the many intersecting trails, paths and roadways that zigzag the park can be difficult to navigate. We found this map to be useful (scroll down the page to find it) because it lets you select trails based on difficulty.
The ride took us over gentle slopes…
and a variety of paved and unpaved terrains.
Map of the Grande Traversee du Morvan (scroll down the page to find the map)
Comite Regional du Tourisme de Bourgogne-France-Comte, The Great Morvan Crossing on a Mountain Bike
Comite Regional du Tourisme de Bourgogne-France-Comte, The Morvan Lakes
Le Morvan par Bernard LeComte
Michelin Voyages, Parc Naturel Regional du Morvan
Regional Nature Parks of France (Wikipedia)