All the itineraries on horseback

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The Grande Traversée du Jura on horseback

GTJ Equestre ©Mélanie Masson – CRT Bourgogne-Franche-Comté

Let me introduce you to Jonquille, a beautiful and very placid Comtois horse with a mark on his forehead. This brave beast was my mount for 3 days during our group trip along the Grande Traversée du Jura trail.

What was his only preoccupation during the trip? Stopping at every tuft of grass along the trail to feed. And there certainly is a lot of grass in the Jura…it’s not like Arizona! What was my only preoccupation? Rediscovering the joy of horse riding after an absence from the saddle of 25 years; now 40 years of age I’m unaccustomed to riding off into the sunset.

Jonquille was an exemplary mount, especially as I hadn’t practiced beforehand (it was impossible to find the time, such is the lot of a working girl). Docile and calm, he gave me confidence straight away. It is such a pleasure to go horse riding in these conditions! You can let yourself go and watch the varied scenery of the Jura roll by. I even surprised myself by taking part in the group gallop! That was truly memorable! I have to admit that, at the end of it all, I had a few aches and pains, but what I remember most is the pure pleasure of the relationship I enjoyed with my horse and with the landscapes!

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Don’t miss along the trail

  • The splendid village of Baume-les-Messieurs with an obligatory stop at the central fountain of the old abbey to water the horses.

  • The climb, on horseback, into the vineyards along the hillside that leads to the listed village of Château-Chalon. Up there, a photograph on the panoramic terrace alongside your mount is de rigueur.

  • The Hérisson waterfalls. If it’s summer, don’t hesitate to enjoy a dip with your horse. Given the volume of the water there, you are both sure to get a soaking.

The Jura du Grand Huit

For a few months I had been mulling over the idea of a horse riding trail in my head. Lessons are always nice, but my dream is to cross vast and wild expanses on horseback like a lonesome cowboy, not ride on a merry-go-round.

But, with limited means, how can you do this if you are unable to head off to the Far West for 6 months and you have never done more than 2h of riding in your whole life?

I didn’t need to cross the Atlantic to find a solution to this problem. It was right here in France, in the Jura. I was recommended a horse farm that concocted an escorted long-weekend break for me along the Grand Huit trail.

The verdict? It was a really enriching experience that allowed me to get a feel for the nomadic life of a cowboy, which is a rare privilege when you live in the city, as well as a genuine change of scene where I was able to get back to the essentials: nature, animals and myself. Then there was the scenery of the Haut-Jura, with its rolling hills that are so restful. It was perfectly in step with the gentle rhythm kept up by Hula Hoop, my mount (undoubtedly the most laid-back horse in the Jura).

  • Château-Chalon and its Jura vineyard

  • Chalain Lake and its turquoise waters

  • Poligny, capital of Comté cheese!

Bibracte – Alesia

Bibracte - Alesia à cheval ©CRT Bourgogne-Franche-Comté

I’m a city dweller (adopted), but I’ve always loved nature. For my holidays it’s essential for me to get away from the crowds (no question of heading down south to PACA for my summer holidays).

I was thinking about 2-3 regions that could fit my vision of a holiday destination, so I was relaxed about it all. I knew I’d find something good :o) Oh, yes…an important thing to consider when deciding on a destination is that I’m crazy about horse riding. I’ve been doing it for 15 years at an equestrian centre, but now I wanted to go « beyond »… Horse riding + trail with cultural options. And I think that I found the perfect compromise here, between Bibracte and Alesia (in Burgundy).

You get an impression of stepping into the history of France, right through the front door (Vercingétorix, Alésia…those are names that certainly strike a chord!) It was uncanny; for a split second I was sure that my horse and I were being chased down by the Roman army, such was the sense of timelessness I got along the trail! And to round off your knowledge (or minimise your ignorance ;o)), I would strongly recommend the Muséoparc d’Alésia, which is truly worth visiting!

Don’t miss along the trail

  • Visit the archaeological site of Bibracte

  • Stroll along the fortifications of Flavigny-sur-Ozerain, one of the most beautiful villages in France

  • Enjoy a gastronomic stop at Saulieu