Castles & Monuments
39,40 Km
2 h 37 min
I cycle often

39,40 km cycling route from Sancoins to Saint-Amand-Montrond

On the second stage of this provisional portion of the Saint-Jacques à Vélo - Via Vézelay cycle route, before joining a better signposted trail up to the border with the county of Creuse, you cross the flat Champagne Berrichonne. Characterized by its arable plain, riding along, admire the Charolais cows, who may well look back at you with amusement as you cycle along the country lanes. You may lose any sense of time, but make sure you don’t lose sight of the cycle route. The trail keeps crossing remnants of the Canal de Berry, with its lock-keepers’ houses, some restored, others transformed, others still abandoned. As to the locks, they were so narrow that especially narrow barges had to be built to use this waterway. Reaching Montrond Fort, dating back in part to the 12th century, also admire the tiers of bastions added later, a unique design for the centre of France. Built on one of the rare hills in these parts, the fort looks down on the town that carries the same name.

Elevation of the stage

Waytypes of the stage

Cycle path: 2,41 km By road: 3,47 km Inconnu: 33,52 km

Surface of the stage

Inconnu: 39,40 km

Cycle route from Sancoins to Saint-Amand-Montrond

Riding along this provisional portion of the Saint-Jacques à Vélo - Via Vézelay cycle route, do pay attention to the provisional yellow signposting and refer frequently to your roadbook. By this stage, you should have become pretty good at spotting the distinctive yellow signs!
Just before Charenton-sur-Cher, ride along for several hundred metres on the D951 road, which offers a good surface but is quite busy. It’s not that this stretch poses major difficulties, but the contrast with the more peaceful country roads you’ve got used to cycling along from Vézelay is noticeable.
Take care of the further crossing of the D951 road just before reaching Saint-Amand-Montrond. 

Alternative option

After Saint-Amand-Montrond, the cycle route’s signposting reverts to the previous signage, consisting of green cycling signs carrying the logo of the Santiago de Compostela pilgrimage ways through France, the yellow scallop shell on a blue background. 
An alternative cycle route offers you the possibility of a detour to Noirlac Abbey. A masterpiece of Cistercian architecture, in its nine centuries it has witnessed many historical upheavals. Now a cultural centre, the abbey’s programme includes artistic events throughout the year, so look out for exhibitions and consult the cultural diary here. 

Tourist information

SNCF train services

  • Saint-Amand-Montrond station, with direct trains to Montluçon, Bourges and Vierzon

Don't miss 

  • Sancoins: marché des Grivelles (a livestock market, sales by auction)
  • Lieu-dit Le Breuil: the Marmande spillway, at the place named Le Breuil, where the Marmande River crosses the Canal de Berry from a perpendicular angle, with some of the water diverted off to supply the canal, while surplus water flows down into the riverbed thanks to the extensive overflow
  • Saint-Amand-Montrond: the grounds of the fort with its tiers of bastions contain several remarkable trees and are well worth a visit; the Musée Saint-Vic is a museum covering regional history and art, the latter going from prehistory to the contemporary, one notable piece on display being the bust of Ancien Régime military man, Le Grand Condé.
  • Noirlac: its notable Cistercian abbey is known as an exceptional spot in the old province of Berry, inspiring respect, silence and fascination.

Accommodation on the stage

Travellers’ reviews

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