Two-day unaccompanied hike with a donkey along the water

Hiking with a donkey


Hiking with a donkey


Brionnais in Burgundy


2 days of hike / 1 night




B&B or unusual accommodation


From 1 person

From 160 / Person


Family's donkey hike following the course of the river Loire.

The Loire, mythical river, will take you away to discover its treasures during two days accompanied by a donkey.

Download the brochure


Day 1
  •  From Melay to Artaix:

    Meet at 9 am, in the town of Melay, at the Donkey Farm for two hours of lessons "how to care about my donkey and how to drive it easily?"  (if you come from far enough, we advise you to arrive the day before, the " training "will then take place around 5pm).
    The first day, you will follow the towpath of the canal lateral to the Loire which was followed at other times by other donkeys less lucky than ours because they pulled the barges loaded with merchandise while our donkeys will only carry your luggage!
    You follow it the first day for about 7 km, to Artaix, a small village on the left side of the Loire, perched on a hill where you can guess the location of an old oppidum. It is in a place further from the village that you will stop where the land and the water are intimately linked.

Day 2
  • From Artaix to Melay :

    On the second day, you will find a small path following the meanders of the Loire where you can observe the storks, herons, egrets ... you can then fully appreciate the sweets and splendors of this old lady, but also discover the diversity of flora and fauna. The hike is located in an area classified as Natura 2000. Natura 2000 groups together natural sites, all over Europe, identified for the rarity or the fragility of wild, animal or plant species and their habitats.

Useful information

This two-day donkey trek will offer you all the pleasures of a family vacation where you share simple but authentic moments. The donkey will be the link that will unite you, far from the screens and from stress, a nature stay to disconnect from your daily life and reconnect to simple but essential things, to get together, to live an adventure that will remain one of your best holiday memories.
After training with a donkey trekking professional, where you will learn to take care of this gentle and patient animal (brushing, cleaning the feet, putting the carry bag) and where you will be given all the explanations to carry out your Donkey most simply in the world, you can leave serene with your new walking companion.
The donkey will carry your luggage and the youngest children when they are tired. A real ally for parents, because it is always there to motivate children who will surprise with their walking ability.
These two days will allow you to discover the Loire Valley: an easy hike because with very little elevation gain. You will then have all the time to appreciate the many birds that live by the river: the many storks, the various species of herons that feast on fish and at the right times, maybe you can observe the African bee-eaters, the geese and swans in full migration.
And in the evening, the family, tired but relaxed, will enjoy a nice stopover with the locals, welcomed as friends, at a table where you will be offered tasty meals from Reunion.
A ride with a donkey, slow tourism par excellence: a regular rhythm of 3 km per hour, time to enjoy the landscape, a nap in the shade of an oak tree, a meeting with a talkative peasant, time stands still and everything will become so peaceful.

The level of walking required for this hike: Beginner

DAY 1 : 15 or 11 km wich is around 4 h 30 of walking/ D+ : 127 m et D- : 82 m
DAY 2 : 12 km wich is around 3 h30 of walking / D+ : 58 m et D- : 103 m

Please note, this program is given for information only, it can be modified depending on weather conditions, group level and / or availability of accommodation.
The walking times are given for information only, without the break times and depend on your walking level.
NB : D +: ascent, D-: descent.

the French Federation of hiking has designed a practical tool for estimating the difficulty of hikes.
A simple tool that we used to give you an idea of ​​the level required for this hike.
The rating of the federation is a true reflection of the difficulty of a hike expressed according to 3 criteria:

General level of the hike: ENOUGH EASY




We offer bed and breakfast accommodation.
On site, you will eat at the host table.
Day 1 picnics will be prepared by Bougres d'ânes and Day 2 picnics by bed and breakfast accommodation.

Do not take too much things (remember 30 to 35 kilos maximum weight of luggage and children included) : take only useful things!

Two bags in which you must distribute your luggage to balance the weigh in each bags (a peson to weigh the luggage will be provided for all the hike) will be given the day before the hike.

What you need :

  • Your clothes (do not forget a practical and light rain suit and caps).
  • Good hiking shoes and possibly a second pair to rest the feet at night BUT LIGHT (type sandal).
  • Shower gel and shampoo not included in the B&B.
  • A gourd of at least 1.5 liters per person which will be filled each morning before your departure.
  • A small emergency pharmacy (antiseptic, bandages, aspirin, mosquito and anti ticks, sun cream).
  • A bicycle helmet for children riding on the donkey (MANDATORY, not provided).
  • One or more small backpacks that allow you to unload the donkey when the children are tired or carry the extra luggage.
  • that the donkey can not carry.
  • Garbage bags for puting your clothes: garbage bags are very light, waterproof, solid and space-saving: it's even better.
  • than a backpack or a gym bag. Suitcases to avoid absolutely.


What you don't need :

  • you do not need towels, sheets or sleeping bags.
  • You do not need picnic material, everything will be provided with pic nic of the first day.
  • games for children (there is everything you need for accommodation).
  • additional food (including for the donkey), meals, breakfasts and pic nic are very plentiful, do not worry.

How many donkeys?

With the maximum weight that can carry a donkey (30 to 35 kilos maximum per donkey, weight of luggage and children includ), we recommend to book one donkey for 3 to 4 people; this rule can change according to the age of the children and their ability to.

walk the whole hike or not : we advise you to evaluate the weight that the donkey will have to carry during the hike and possibly take an extra donkey.

If necessary, donkeys can carry young children (under your responsibility) for short distances several times a day when they are tired or if you need to move more quickly.

If you want to do this trek with very young children under 3 years, it is quite possible but they will have to be carry by an adult (scarf of portage, baby carrier).


Can I come with my dog ?

Some accommodations do not accept dogs, so it is imperative to notify us if you wish to be accompanied by a dog, so that we offer you a suitable circuit. Your dog must be gentle : he must accept other animals : donkeys, cats, dogs, rabbits, pigs that he will.

meet in the different accommodations where you will stay. Your dog must be on a leash on arrival at the accommodation and if the owner asks for it, you must let it hang. Is your dog trained enough to hike? Remember to do a small preventive treatment two weeks before the hike to harden the pads (ask your veterinarian for advice).


Problems during the hike?

In case of problems with your donkey during the hike: problem of health, hooves... not detected at the start of the hike, the donkey will be replaced very quickly If you decide to stop the hike on your own without good reason, you can be repatriated on the basis of 1 € by km (maximum 50 €).


In the month preceding your departure, you will receive:

  • The list of accommodation.
  • The hiking book and all useful information (variants, distances, walking time, etc.).
  • Hiking maps in pdf (but no need to print them, you will be provided in A4 laminated format upon arrival).
  • The itinerary in .gpx format for GPS (sending on request by internet).

It seems obvious to us that a minimum knowledge of reading IGN maps is important. We have only french web site or youtube video, but I'm sure you'll find some really good one in your langage : it can be a good idea if you're not a map specialist.

You are going to the village of Melay in Saône et Loire: department 71

Saône et Loire is served by the A6, A39 and A40 motorways and by the national road Center Europe Atlantic.

By road, Melay is 9 hours south of London, 7 hours south of Brussels and Bruges, 3 hours west of Geneva, 4 hours south of Paris, 2 hours south west of Dijon, 1 hour 30 minutes south west of Chalon sur saône , 1h30 north-west of Lyon, 1h west of Mâcon, and 20 mins north of Roanne. On Google Map, enter the destination "bougres d'ânes".

By train, enter as arrival destination: MARCIGNY

If you come from the North of France or Europe, you can stop at Le Creusot - Montchanin TGV station where you will take a bus which will drop you off an hour later at the Marcigny stop where a taxi that we can book take you to your destination. If you come from the south of France or Europe, you must reach Roanne station where we will pick you up where a bus will drop you off at the Pouilly sous Charlieu stop where a taxi that we can book take you to your destination.


SNCF information: 00 33 (0) 8 92 35 35 35 -

Bus company for the shuttle train station Le Creusot - Montchanin to Roanne: +33 (0) 4 77 68 30 00 - Timetables in pdf format provided by email at your request

The luggage is transported by donkeys. We recommend a donkey for 3 to 4 people with a MAXIMUM of 35 kg, weight of luggage AND young children that can ride the donkey.

160 € per adult full board in double room

75 € per child from 12 years old full board.

60 € per child under 12 years old full board.

25 € per child under 4 years old full board.

Child sleeping in a baby cot and under 4 years old: free.

These rates are for 2 adults minimum in the same room.

For families of more than 5 people, for people wanting separate rooms, for single people or single parents with one or more children, a supplement will be indicated during the estimate.

For people traveling alone or for single-parent families with children under 12 years old, the price is 250 € for the adult.

In all cases, these prices are given as an indication, according to your requests, a quote will be established before booking.


These prices includes :

  • One Donkey, hiking material and food for the donkey.
  • The complete organization of your hike.
  • Accomodation during the hike in full board in guest comfort B&B, wigwam from picnic day 1 to picnic day 2.
  • The start briefing: advices for driving a donkey, itinerary.
  • The IGN map traces of each hiking day, as well as a detailed road map.
  • The GPX tracks of each day of hiking downloadable before your arrival.


These prices doesn't include :

  • Extra Drinks and personal expenses.
  • Accommodation the day before and the last day of hiking.

From € 60 per adult in double room with full board.

From € 45 per child from 12 years old on full board.

From € 30 per child under 12 years old with full board.

From € 20 per child under 4 years old with full board.

Child sleeping in a cot and under 4 years old: free.

  • Transport to the starting point of the hike and return.
  • The repatriation of the donkey and hikers to the starting point in case of abandonment on your part.
  • Insurance, including cancellation and interruption insurance.


This hike is accessible all year round.

Options disponibles

  • An additional night with half board the day before the hike
  • An additional night with half board on the last day of hiking
  • An additional donkey
  • Transfer Marcigny / Melay or Pouilly sous Charlieu / Melay with a taxi
  • Cancellation and interruption insurance