Cycling tour of the Creuse

Cycling tour of the Creuse

You want to cycle around the Creuse? This is possible thanks to the various cycle routes that crisscross the department. Crossing the most beautiful Creuse sites, you will have the opportunity to discover the cultural, built and natural heritage of these territories which have kept all their authenticity. Carry out this itinerary over several days to make the most of this experience.

ITINERARY RECOGNIZED BY BIKE SPECIALISTS ON THE SITE

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Cycling tour

Step & Map

More than 400 km of marked cycle routes

Elevation: 6000m D+

Markup: Véloroute

STEP 1 :
Crozant > Bénévent-l’Abbaye – 48km / Drop: 834m
STEP 2 :
Bénévent-l’Abbaye > Royère de Vassivière – 72km / Drop: 1686m
STEP 3 :
Royère de Vassivière > Aubusson – 41km / Drop: 723m
STEP 4 :
Aubusson > Chambon sur Voueize – 49km / Drop: 581m
STEP 5 :
Chambon sur Voueize > Châtelus Malvaleix – 55km / Drop: 950m
STEP 6 :
Châtelus Malvaleix > Crozant – 58km / Drop: 989m

Download the .gpx of the route: TourdelaCreuse.gpx

Steps

Description

STEP 1 : From Crozant to La Souterraine / 24,7 km

Crozant

In the middle of the meandering of the Creuse and of the Sédelle, the ruins of the fortress of Crozant (XI and XIIe century), recalling the History of the castle, which was a powerful place of the region. Seat of the struggles between Lusignan, Capétien and Plantagenêt, sublimed by George Sand, immortalized by the impressionists painters as for example Armand Guillaumin and Francis Picabia. The site is protected and classified to the historical and natural heritage.

La Souterraine-Cycle Hike Relay

This delightfull medieval city hides many treasures. It still keeps the testimonies of the Middle-Age, starting by its church of romanesque and gothic style and its fortifictions, in the image of La Tour de Bridiers.

 

 

STEP 2 : From La Souterraine to Bénévent l’Abbaye / 26,1 km

Bénévent l’Abbaye

Bénévent l’Abbaye is the first « Petite Cité de Caractère » in Limousin, an unmissable stage on the Saint Jacques de Compostelle path. Its abbatial built in the XIIth century, is a testimony of the limousin romanesque art. Erected by bricklayer monks, stonemason comrades, carpenters and  marked by shells, « compagnonniques » signs and mozarabe architectural features, the church is full of history and jacquaire influence. For the less concerned, rendezvous to the Scénovision which immersed the visitor into the universe of a young creusoise farmer of the end of the XIXth century, a show full of emotion which tell us a lot about the History of Creuse. A second show, « Le chef d’œuvre du pèlerin » tells you the story of the abbatial, of the jacquaire ways of the mentoring network.

Le Grand Bourg

This small municipality situated in the Valley de la Gartempe, on the quiet part of the river, finds its sources into a hamlet to Salagnac situated not far from the market town. It was first said that this city dated back to the gallo-roman age and then, after the dicovery of a « motte castrale », it is dated in the Xth century. From this time, there is nothing left, the castle not having repelled to the attack of Richard the Lion Heart to the XIIth century and to the Religion Wars in the XVIth century.

Prick up your ears, the inhabitants of the village enjoy maintaining the curious legend of Saint-Léobon…

STEP 3 : From Bénévent l’Abbaye to the Haute-Vienne 32,6 km

Mourioux Vieilleville

To Mourioux, the antique fountain Saint-Rémy dates back to the IIIrd century. Its waters with therapeutic properties are famous because they treat many illnesses as for exemple rheumatisms, convulsions, sprains…

The « Four des Fades » dolmen is situated next to the Mourioux village center. According to  traditions, it was the place of meeting for the « fades », which were genies of the air, of the woods, rocks and waters. During the day, they were hidden  on crevices of rock that they used as their home and they only went out at nightfall.

Châtelus le Marcheix

Situated in the Gorges du Thaurion, a valley enclosed by the granite which possesses a rich fauna and flora : dry moors, peregrin falcons, big crows, genets and forest cats. If you want to discover it, the town allows you several hiking trails.

STEP 4 : From Châtelus le Marcheix to Bourganeuf 19,3 km

On low-traffic roads, the southern link crosses the South Creusois Country to the Millevaches Regional Natural Park. The 49 km southern link links the East and West cycle routes of the department from Châtelus-le-Marcheix to Royère-de-Vassivière. Throughout your itinerary, you will be guided by a green and white cycle route signage.

From Châtelus-le-Marcheix, you will cross the Thaurion river to reach the town of Bourganeuf to meet the medieval city whose emblem is the Zizim Tower. Built in 1484, this tower has walls with a thickness of 2.80 m  ! You will discover the history of Djem, also known as Zizim, the Turkish prince who was imprisoned there. Take the opportunity to enter into the history of electricity with the Electrification Museum. Bourganeuf was one of the first electrified municipalities in France as early as 1886. Then, you will see the built heritage of Faux-Mazuras as well as Saint-Pardoux-Morterolles located in the Regional Natural Park of Millevaches in Limousin. You will reach Saint-Martin-Château, which houses the 3rd listed site of the department (protected for its landscape beauty since 1939): the Cascade des Jarrauds. At the end of your walk in Royère-de-Vassivière, continue your journey for about 6 km to Lac de Vassivière, a 1000 hectare lake with its wild beauty and facilities for water sports. A network of dams has been built creating Lake Vassivière, France’s 14th largest artificial lake. During its production, several hamlets were swallowed up by the waters. In their memory, a work by Bernard Calet can be found in the sculpture park of the Centre International d’Art et du Paysage.

STEP 5 : From Bourganeuf to Royère-de-Vassivière 29,7 km

Saint Pardoux Morterolles

A forest town, it does not lack charm thanks to its hilly landscapes, nor monumental resources within its twenty or so hamlets to those who know how to discover them. A stroll is recommended on the magnificent site of Augerolles, a major natural site of 50 hectares. A discovery trail «Champs de Pierres Cascades d’ Augerolles», arranged with several explanatory panels, leads the visitor to the stonemasons’ site, the bog, the restored mill and finally the waterfalls.

Saint Martin le Château

The village of Saint-Martin-Château is located on a granite hill, overlooking a loop of the Maulde. But there is no castle. However, an important necropolis attests of the presence here of a centre of power since the early Middle Ages.A heritage tour runs through the perched village whose main monument is a small church characteristic of the Limousin mountain.

Lake of Vassivière

The 1,000 ha lake of Vassivière is the seaside resort of the Creuse. A 23.5 km bike tour around the lake, following in the footsteps of Raymond Poulidor, the famous French rider of the Tour de France. Go fora 30 km adventure on foot or by mountain bike on the shoreline path closest to the water and nature.The lake is also the ideal playground for water activities such as swimming, canoeing, sailing, water skiing… In the heart of the lake, on the island of Vassivière, a true haven of peace, the former agricultural estate of the Vassivière family with its castle and outbuildings now stands alongside the International Centre for Art and Landscape, Its residence of artists and its carved wooden house. During the summer season, the Lake of Vassivière offers a multitude of activities.

 

 

STEP 6 : From Lake of Vassivière to Corrèze 21,8 km

Faux la Montagne

You will meet here the last lake of the eastern cycle route. Artificial lake of 45 hectares. Its specificity is its multi-vaulted dam very original and rare. Two examples in Europe.From the Millevaches plateau (link with the easter cycle route at Peyrelevade) to the Dordogne valley, the 146 km long Corrèze cycle route reaches the Lot via the Monédières and the Tulle region.

Plateau de Millevaches

Located on the foothills of the Massif Central in the heart of the Montagne Limousine, the Millevaches en Limousin regional nature park extends over the Corrèze, Creuse and Haute-Vienne departments, at an altitude of between 400 and 1000 metres. Its territory is made up of a remarkable natural environment whith peat bogs, heather cuttlefish moors, deciduous forest, sloping forest, meadow… It shelters sensitive animal species such as otters, pearl mussels, rare butterflies, linrots, circaetes, fario trout… And it is a staging area for migratory birds.The Millevaches plateau can be discovered on foot, by bike or by car along the dirt roads or on the winding roads of the Park.

STEP 7 : Royère de Vassivière to Felletin 32,2 km

Lake of  Vassivière

The Lake of Vassiviere of 1000ha and 45 kms is the beach resort of the Creuse. A 23.5 km bike tour around the lake follows in the footsteps of Raymond Poulidor, the famous French rider on the Tour de France. Go for a 30km adventure on foot or by mountain bike on the shoreline trail closest to the water and nature. The lake is also ideal for water activities and swimming. On the island of Vassivière, a piece of heaven, you can discover the former agricultural estate of the Vassivière family and its castle and outbuildings as well as the International Centre for Art and Landscape. Several activities are offered during the summer.

Saint Marc à Loubaud

On the edge of the cycle route, let yourself be carried away by the legend of the Pierres Fades or Faded Stones, which wants them to welcome fairies into the hollow of the rocks. Starting from the Chertain mill, follow the many landscape interpretation panels. A path along the Loubaud stream will allow you to discover the uses of water in the past and a remarkable natural heritage. The cycle route crosses the dam of Lac de Lavaud Gelade from where you can enjoy a beautiful view on this lake of 300ha.

La Nouaille

The Domaine de Banizette is the only rural architectural complex in Limousin. It consists of seven buildings from the 16th and 17th centuries, including the manor house, the arched bank, the dovecote, the tenant farm, the bread oven, the mill, the reach. Collections of tools and household objects tell the story of rural life. Formerly the seigneuries garden, it has become a garden of varied flowers, vegetable and aromatic plants as well as red fruits. With its terrace on the forebay, its two shaded rooms, its central fountain, the French-style garden retains all its authenticity in the heart of the estate.

STEP 8 : From Felletin to “Etang de la Naute” 27,3 km

Felletin

Cradle of tapestry, City of the Building and gateway to the Regional Natural Park of Millevaches, Felletin is a town of character as evidenced by the magnificent residences, medieval bridges, fountains and architectural details to be discovered along the streets. The city has also an important religious heritage such as Moutier’s Church, the Castle church and the white chapel.

Aubusson – Relay

In aubusson, the capital of the Tapestry, the architectural patrimony testifies of the powerful past and the famous story of the « Maçons of the Creuse ». Granit is everywhere and we can distinguish Renaissance doors, windows, the castle ruins, a medieval bridge, an old watchtower. The buildings are decorated with round towers, wrought iron balconies…The must-see: the narrow and paved Rue Vielle, the clock tower, the Terrade district, the old bridge, the Vallenet house but also the Town Hall and its art-deco style.

CURIOUS LOOK

This itinerary follows the road of tapestry of Aubusson-Felletin. The Multi-century-old Tapestry of Aubusson is registered since 2009 at the world intangible cultural heritage from UNESCO (United Nations for Education, Science and Culture Organization) . This worldwide acknowledgement is due to more than 5 centuries of creation and artisanal work. The tapestries of Aubusson are a reference in the entire world , at the point that Aubusson has become a common name in some languages.

STEP 9 : From “Etang de la Naute” to Chambon sur Voueize 32,8 km

Étang de la Naute

The lake of la Naute is situated at 2 km of the Champagnat’s market town. The place is converted of a beach and proposes different activities, as for example bathing, the fishing, kayak, pedalo … Here, you never get bored, la Naute is really lively. Indeed, from april to october, concerts, shows and recreationnal activities are organized. To go along with this festive atmosphere, a small « guingettes » where you can drink and eat is located beside the pond.

Étang des Landes – National nature réserve

This route is situated at the heart of nature in the Valley of la Tardes. With an area of more than 100 ha, the pond of les Landes is the hugest natural pond in Limousin. Classified in 2014 Nature Reserve, this wet area of an important biological value has about 600 animal species. The étang des Landes’s floristic richness is visible thanks to the presence of 430 vegetable species. In order to discover it, drop of your bicycles on the parking area and have a stroll around the pound. You would be able to observe the varieties of egret, héron and many others species !The Reserve House prepares the visitor to the meeting with these species, frequently hidden or discreet, which live at the heart of the reserve. The essential stake : better understand the interactions which link man and nature and also the fragile balance which exist in a Nature Reserve.

 

 

STEP 10 : From Chambon sur Voueize to Chambonchard 13,4 km

Chambon sur Voueize

Meeting point of two itineraries comming from Boussac and Chambonchard, Chambon sur Voueize is a famous place of the roman art. The impressive Sainte-Valérie abbatial dating back to the XIth century hide beautiful stalls and also the relicary bust of Saint Valérie. Stroll in the small alleys and cross the roman bridgedating back to the gothic period which cross the Voueize.

Evaux les Bains

This thermal city, the only one in Limousin, has been created more than 2000 years ago. Its sources are famous for its therapeutic virtues since the roman period. The city became really famous in 1871 during the thermalism Age during the creation of the first thermal society. The construction of the viaduct of the Tardes by Gustave Eiffel enable the arrival of the railway and as a result, the one of the therapy clients. You can glimpse this viaduct driving in direction of Chambon sur Voueize. This thermal city has been modernized and the thermal water at 60° can cure up to 400 clients per day. Don’t forget to visit the city , passing by the St Pierre-St Paul’s abbatial and by the « trompe l’œil » mural fresco.Tour « The Valley of Chambonchard »Itinerary marked out of 56kms with an important difference in height, using about twenty East Cycle route, leading to the Allier.

Chambonchard

Arriving from the Allier by the Cycle route of the Combrailles, you discover the Creuse by Chambonchard crossing the Cher. This charming village has survived to a singular story. In the past, it was included into a barrier plan. Nowadays, you have the opportuity to admire this peacfull valley saved from the water. Discover the church of the XIIth century which possesses classified frescos.

STEP 11 : From Chambon sur Voueize to Boussac 37,4 km

Toulx Sainte Croix

This small village which culminates at 650 m, the highest point of this route, keeps safe the vestiges of the Saint Martial chapel. This roman church is one of the oldest landmark of the Creuse, which entry is kept by gallo-roman stone lions. Climb the tour and from its window, admire the vast panorama, from the Monts d’Auvergne to the plateaux du Berry passing by the mounts of the Limousin. You can discover the other departments guided by a circular viewpoint indicator.

Boussac

This old fortified town on the borders of Berry and of the Bourbonnais is home to the castle of Boussac dating back from the XVth century, at the top of the cliff. Well preserved, you can discover the bedroom of George Sand and the different rooms embellished by the tapestry of Aubusson. Stroll on the alley of the medival city between the old houses.

CURIOUS LOOK

George Sand’s road From Paris where she was born to Nohant where she died, the writer George Sand has left her mark in several places which are now became the stages of this historical road, including the castle of Boussac where she has spent time in 1841 and in 1870. It is here that she wrote her first bucolic novel (actually at the museum of Cluny in Paris), Jeanne and she also dicovered the famous tapestry of La Dame à la Licorne.Tip: Come by train from Lavaufranche station 6 km from Boussac

STEP 12 : From Boussac to Châtelus Malvaleix 19,7 km

Boussac

Historically in the Bas-Berry, Boussac has always been a confluence territory, through its weekly markets, particularly between Auvergne, Limousin and Berry. The castle of Jean de Brosse is the major element of the local heritage. Guided tours but also discovery walks around the fortress will allow visitors to discover the old Boussac by its pedestrian circuit (for walkers and mountain bikers) and will allow you to discover a preserved nature and a surprising small heritage.

Clugnat

It is a small village located at the confluence of different watercourses (Le Verraux and La Petite Creuse). A multitude of fountains and granite crosses the town. The church of Saint Martial of the 12 et 13th century is listed in the additional inventory of Historic Monuments.

CURIOUS LOOK

The Jaumâtres Stones, located at the top of Mont Barlot, in the town of Toulx-Sainte-Croix, are a granitic chaos that can occur several times in the department of Creuse, especially in the place of Rigole devil. They constitute a natural site classified in 1927.

 


STEP 13 : From Châtelus Malvaleix to La Celle Dunoise 36,8 km

Châtelus Malvaleix

The pond of the Roussille is one of the tourist attractions of the town of Châtelus Malvaleix to make your stay in Creuse a successful holiday. You can beneficiate of s upervised swimming in summer, beach for rest, games for children, fishing, pond tower for walking. If you have rented a cottage by the pond, you can enjoy the rolling landscape of the site and observe the animals that will venture near the water.

Bonnat

The church of Saint Sylvain de Bonnat is remarkable for its fortifications. It is classified and is from the 13th century. It has a nave with three pointed bays, two north and south gates and remains of 14th century fortifications (corbelled turrets at the corners, guardrail, machicolations, hoardings) , wooden altarpiece and 17th century twisted columns.

Le Bourg d’Hem

The village dominates the valley and still seems, from the top of its confluence spur, to watch over the comings and goings of the ancient road below the Guémontet and bordered by century-old box trees. In the village square you will find the bronze stele erected in memory of Pierre Maillaud called Bourdan (1909 – 1948). The name of the village is pronounced «Bourdan».

CURIOUS LOOK

Stele of Pierre Bourdan: During the war, Pierre Maillaud took the pseudonym Pierre Bourdan in memory of this village.Throughout the war, as a journalist, he spoke on the French radio in London. His bust was inaugurated in the Bourg d’hem in 1950.

 

STEP 14 : La Celle Dunoise to Crozant 19,5 km

La Celle Dunoise

The very picturesque village of La Celle-Dunoise appears as a haven of peace. Clinging to a hillside in the Creuse valley, the village seems to be an islet emerging from the greenery.Since the middle of the 19th century, many painters have succumbed to the charm of the beautiful panorama of La Celle Dunoise and the great meander of the Sillons. At the entrance to the village, a painting by Eugène Alluaud, one of the leading representatives of the Crozant School, is on display for the visitor to see. From Glénic to Crozant, the Valley of the Impressionist Painters no longer counts the panoramic and sometimes more intimate sites that have been the work of so many famous painters.

Fresselines

The charm of the landscapes of Fresseline, where water holds an important place, has seduced many artists landscape painters since the 19th century, when Maurice Rollinat started to live in this village and instaured an artistic tradition that is still here. The two Creuse, the banks of the Sédelle, the ruins of Crozant and the rocks and the heathers of the Painters are immortalized by Monet, Guillaumin and Picabia…

Crozant

In the middle of the meanders of the Creuse and the Sédelle, the ruins of the Crozant fortress (11th and 12th centuries), dominate, telling the history of the castle, which was a powerful place in the region. Seat of the struggles between Lusignan, Capetian and Plantagenet, the site, which was sublimated by Georges Sand and immortalized by impressionist painters such as Guillaumin and Picabia.

CURIOUS LOOK

Path of Interpretation : The landscapes of the Valley of the Painters are at the origin of the two interpretation trails to be discovered in the interactive notebook.

 

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Laure tells about her adventure on the Creuse loop by bike:

If you love nature, if you want to escape the noise of the city, disconnect completely, I think this is the region for you!

www.francevelotourisme.com

Laure from Paris - 22/07/2019

BROCHURE “CREUSE BY BICYCLE”

The essential document for your cycling holidays in Creuse! Flip through and download the brochure! You will find the 2 major cycle routes West and East, the two North and South links as well as the local cycling loops. Discover the maps of the routes with their mileage, descriptions of the places crossed, altimetric profiles, and practical information (bike rentals, repairs …).