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It is the smallest mountainous area in France, less than three hours from Paris. Some consider it as an extension, to the North-East, of the Massif Central. The Morvan National Park is a dense granite area, covered with a rich and varied ecosystem. The summits are modest, with an altitude peaking at 901 m (Haut-Folin). However, the landscapes are superb. The northern plains gradually give way to lush vegetation and central lakes. Continuing the road towards the South, the view becomes clearer, the altitude climbs even more, and allows you to enjoy breathtaking panoramas. This is the framework of this new Roadmap. A stroll in the heart of Burgundy, to savor, with family or not, the cultural and natural diversity of this park created in 1970. For this new journey, our traveling companion will be the Citroën C5 see more on the roads. The chevron brand has returned to basics, with a bolder bias on the display. If it takes up the philosophy of comfort and well-being on board of its predecessors, it more evokes family adventure, with its increased ground clearance and its modernized station wagon line. But we’ll come back to that later. During our journey, we will discover the Morvan national park from the gateway to Vézelay, descending towards Château-Chinon, stronghold of François Mitterrand and capital of the region. Between good restaurants, historic sites, outdoor activities and overnight stays in atypical places, the Morvan offers a wealth capable of attracting families in search of wide open spaces.
The Morvan and its monuments
Our first stop will therefore be Vézelay, less than three hours from the capital. A few kilometers from this town in Yonne, the Bazoches castle proudly stands. Four towers and a keep surrounding an interior courtyard, classic architecture for this feudal building from the 12th century. Above all, it is of major historical importance, since this castle was the home of Marshal de Vauban in the 17th century. The military engineer and architect made numerous modifications to the site, according to his rules. As a good defense strategist, he even ended up transforming the site into a military garrison. If you are interested in history, the Morvan is rich in remarkable monuments, covering more than 2,000 human constructions, from the Gallo-Roman period to modern times. We can cite the Château de Sully, a Renaissance classic with its sumptuous courtyard, the Château de Trélague with its 14th century keep, or the Château d’Épiry, with architecture similar to that of Bazoches. Enough to take a little journey to discover a well-filled history.
Ours continues in the heart of Morvan. Forests are more present, vegetation is gaining in density and diversity. Without yet reaching the winding roads of the south, there is already plenty to enjoy while driving. A major meeting place for bikers, the Morvan reveals a vast secondary network, with ideal reliefs and curves, even for our large sedan. As is the brand’s tradition, the Citroën C5 Without difficulty, it becomes the category reference in terms of comfort. Advanced Comfort active suspension with hydraulic stops, soft seats, advanced soundproofing, the equipment allows an excellent level of filtration. Enough to enjoy the landscape. It is at the heart of this green lung that Lac des Settons is located. It is one of six large lakes in the park, all artificial and generated by dams. At Les Settons, you can enjoy the coolness of the lake in the middle of summer thanks to a large number of outdoor activities. This is where families come together in search of more or less strong sensations. Water skiing, sailing, kayaking, towed buoys, inflatable obstacles… There is something for everyone, from the most daredevil to the least daring. The forest surrounding the park provides a beautiful place for a picnic, unless local restaurants, such as P’tit Grill in the town of Montsauche, are your preference. Little anecdote during our visit to the lake. Major work has begun on the dam, involving a complete draining of the body of water. No luck, but don’t worry, the next one shouldn’t happen for around thirty years. After the disappointment, and despite a little swim in the cool, back on the road.
The François Mitterrand road
Continuing south, the roads become even more interesting. The terrain is steeper, the bends tighten and the first hairpins appear. Once again, driving enthusiasts will have plenty of time to use their bike. If motorcyclists opt for a more sustained pace, our C5 X prefers to roll around the curves, with a certain skill. Very well suspended, the Frenchwoman in no way suffers from her bias towards comfort. Well maintained, very stable even on uneven surfaces, it gives confidence with its imperturbable side, without ever shaking its passengers. Road qualities worthy of the coat of arms, helped by the 225 hp of this plug-in hybrid PureTech version. After a few dozen kilometers on this D37 road that some locals call the Mitterrand route, here we are in Château-Chinon, stronghold of the former President of the Republic François Mitterrand. He was parliamentarian for Nièvre for 35 years and mayor of the town from 1959 to 1981. He had this road built to make his town more easily accessible. When passing through here, you must stop at Au Vieux Morvan. A hotel restaurant where the former Head of State had his habits, right down to the room number (15). A good, simple table, with regional products and offering a superb panorama of the surrounding hills.
When bedtime approaches, the Morvan offers the king’s choice, meeting everyone’s tastes. From more luxurious hotels to family lodges and campsites in the countryside. In short, all you have to do is choose. And for us, it will be an original address to say the least. After turning back towards the North-East, towards Saint-Martin-de-la-Mer, we arrived at the Fantasy Village of Domaine de la Pierre Ronde. And as its name probably suggests, we arrive in a separate world, inspired by the fantasy universe. Here, in the middle of the forest and on the edge of the lake, the site offers stays in homes, each more original than the last. Your choice can be a wizard, hobbit, or even elf house. There are also a few yurts and tepees. This project was launched 12 years ago by Yannick and his partner – and wife – Gaëlle. These enthusiasts of the magical world wish to offer a timeless experience, with remarkable attention to detail. The smallest house is made with an astonishing level of finish, immediately immersing you in a very realistic fantasy universe. The layout of the site and the manufacturing of the various decorative elements are impressive. In summary, for a night like no other, this is clearly the place not to be missed. All that remains is to enjoy the starry skies of the Morvan, far from any light pollution. A small campfire is essential, the temperatures drop very quickly. This is also the spirit of this fantastic village, and ultimately of Morvan as a whole. |
The hotel :
The Fantasy Village of Domaine de la Pierre Ronde is located Saint-Martin-de-la-Mer, in the North-East area of Morvan. On the edge of the lake, the very original site offers overnight stays on a fantasy theme. Here, you will have the choice between magician, elf, and even Hobbit houses. Be careful for the latter, very popular, reservations must be made months in advance. For lovers of quiet nature, simple tepees and other yurts are also available. Located on an old campsite, the toilets are shared, but some houses have a bathtub. More information on the website.
Citroën is returning to the family sedan segment with this model. To try to seduce, the Frenchwoman opts for slightly different packaging. Its appearance is halfway between a station wagon and a classic sedan, and it benefits from increased ground clearance for even more versatility. On board, the space is enormous, as is the capacity of its trunk: 545 liters minimum. Equipped with active suspension with hydraulic stops, it is clearly the most comfortable in the segment, while offering French-style handling. On the engine side, the 130 hp PureTech gasoline offer is accompanied by a double PHEV proposal, of 180 and 225 hp. |
3- Lake Settons
To sum up
A large sedan for the great outdoors. A stroll between culture, terroir and splendid landscapes. The Morvan also has roads worthy of a road trip, which the Citroën C5 X devours like an unrivaled traveler. Let’s go to the heart of Burgundy.
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