Three-day unaccompanied hike with a donkey

Hiking with a donkey


Hiking with a donkey


Brionnais in Burgundy


3 days of hike / 2 nights




B&B and unusual accomodation


From 2 people

From 265 / Person


Let yourself be seduced by the adventure of a walk with a donkey in the heart of the Brionnais, the jewel of Burgundy.

On this 3-day family hike, guided by a gentle, docile companion, you'll enjoy an exceptionally well-preserved bocage landscape, embraced by the Loire and caressed by sparkling rivers.

A magnificent ride in Burgundy!



Day 1
  • From Melay to Saint Bonnet de Cray:

    Meeting at 9 am, in the town of Melay, at the Bougres d'ânes farm for two hours of "training" in donkey hiking (if you come from far enough away, we advise you to arrive the day before, the training will then take place at 5 p.m.).

    Your adventure gets off to a gentle start along the towpath of Roanne to Digoin canal, providing the perfect introduction to this unique experience. Cross the majestic Loire to venture out onto the narrow lanes lined with hedges typical of the Brionnais bocage. From here, begin your ascent gently but surely, following a picturesque path that will lead you to exceptional views over the bocage.

    The descent finally takes you to the charming village of Saint-Bonnet-de-Cray, where you will receive a warm welcome from Marie Christine. A day full of discovery and breathtaking scenery awaits you.

    Get ready for a memorable experience on your first day of donkey trekking in Burgundy!

Day 2
  • From Saint-Bonnet-de Cray to Saint-Julien-de-Jonzy :

    The second stage of your adventure promises a day full of promise: time for yourself, the enveloping gentleness of the landscape, and communion with authentic nature. Follow the meandering valley of the Bézo, a charming river winding through meadows where Charolais cows graze peacefully. This is the perfect opportunity to let yourself be carried away by the calm, soothing rhythm of the current.

    Your journey will then take you to a memorable stage after a final climb, known as the "Corvée": welcome to Saint-Julien-de-Jonzy, the highest perched village in the Brionnais! Here, serenity reigns, and you can enjoy a restful evening after a day rich in discoveries and in harmony with the surrounding nature.


Day 3
  • From Saint-Julien-de-Jonzy to Melay :

    After reaching the summits at Saint-Julien-de-Jonzy, it's time for a gentle descent. Once again, you'll take some magnificent paths, but this time through a majestic deciduous forest that will guide you towards the Loire valley.

    The gentle calm of the forest will accompany your descent, creating a peaceful atmosphere for the final day of your journey.

    At the end of the route, be sure to make a short diversions to the dazzling Romanesque church of Iguerande, perched like a thousand-year-old watchtower on the top of a hill, offering a breathtaking view of the valley and its river. And who knows, maybe you'll have the chance to meet Lili at the "reflet brionnais" museum, happy to take you into the captivating tales of local history.

    A perfect conclusion for a walk full of discovery and wonder in the heart of the Brionnais region.


Useful information

Embark on an exceptional three-day adventure with a donkey trek, an escapade that brings together the simple, authentic pleasures of a family holiday. The donkey will be the link that will bring you closer together, away from screens and stress. A nature break for a complete break from everyday life.

Reconnect with the simple things in life, share precious moments, and enjoy an adventure that will remain engraved among your fondest holiday memories.

Before you set off, take advantage of a full training course with a professional of donkey trekr. Learn how to take care of this gentle, patient animal - brushing, cleaning the feet, putting on the pack-saddle - and get all the explanations you need to guide your donkey with ease. With your new companion, set off with peace of mind to discover the Brionnais region.

The donkey, the faithful carrier of your luggage and your youngest children, becomes a precious ally for parents. It motivates the little ones, revealing their incredible ability to walk.

During these three days, explore Burgundy's Roman garden, the Brionnais, an authentic bocage where the breeding of Charolais cows, the most famous in the world, has been going on for centuries. There are hundreds of kilometres of paths lined with preserved hedgerows, a delight for nature lovers.

Each evening, the family, tired but relaxed, will take refuge in the home of a local, welcomed as friends. At the generous table, enjoy meals concocted with local Burgundy produce.

A walk with a donkey is slow tourism par excellence: a steady pace of 3 km per hour, time to savour the scenery, take a siesta in the shade of an oak tree, meet chatty farmers.

Time seems suspended, offering a peaceful and memorable experience.

The level of walking required for this hike :  Medium

DAY 1 : 

12.5 km or about 4h30 of walking / D+: 271 m and D-: 167 m

DAY 2 : 

15 km or about 5h30 of walking / D+: 392 m and D-: 268 m (shortcuts of 2.5 and 5 km possible)

DAY 3 : 

12.5 km or about 4h30h of walking / D+: 174 m and D-: 403 m

Please note, this program is given as an indication, it can be modified according to weather conditions, the level of the group and/or the availability of accommodation.
Walking times are given as an indication, without break times and depend on your level of walking.
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: NO REAL DIFFICULTY

EFFORT : LEVEL 3/5: NOT VERY DIFFICULT, Hiking requires a certain amount of physical commitment, but this should be kept to a minimum. This level corresponds to moderate hiking.

TECHNICITY : Level 2/5: EASY, Route or part of a route with obstacles less than or equal to ankle height.

The foot should be placed on "flat" or "comfortable" areas of the surface that are easy to spot.

RISK : Level 2/5: LOW, fairly low level of accident risk. Exposure to danger is limited. Injuries are possible but minor (e.g.: fairly steep path with possible embankments, possible dislocation and sprains in the event of a fall, etc.).

First night :

Bed and breakfast (private bathroom)

Second night : 

Unusual accommodation : wigwam or Maloka (private dry toilets / private showers and toilets in a common sanitary block).

Picnics are prepared each day by the accommodation where you are staying.

Don't take on too much : the donkey carries a maximum of 30 to 35 kilos depending on its size (which corresponds to 10% of their weight: donkeys are not overloaded!), including the weight of luggage and children: only take useful things! Two panniers into which you will have to divide your luggage in a balanced way (a scale to weigh the luggage will be provided for the duration of the trek) will be given to you the day before or the morning of the trek.


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.
  • A water sprayer (usually used for plants), very useful for cooling you down in hot weather.


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.

Here are a few links to help you:


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 30 to 35 kg, weight of luggage AND young children that can ride the donkey


€165 per adult in a double room with full board.
€130 per child from 12 years old in full board.
€115 per child under 12 full board.
€80 per child under 4 years old full board.
€15 per child sleeping in a cot.

195 € per rented donkey (one donkey for 3 to 4 people)

These rates are for a minimum of 2 adults participating and staying in the same room.
For families of more than 5 people, for people wishing separate rooms, a supplement will be indicated during the quote.

For people traveling alone or for single-parent families with children under 12, a supplement will be indicated to you during the quote.

In all cases, these rates are given as an indication, depending on your requests, an estimate will be established before booking.

These prices include:

  • A single donkey, its hiking equipment (packsaddle and panniers) and its food.
  • The complete organization of your hike.
  • Accommodation during the hike with full board from the picnic on day 1 to the picnic on day 3.
  • The departure briefing: advice for leading a donkey, itinerary.
  • The routes on the IGN map for each day of hiking, as well as a detailed roadmap.
  • The GPX tracks of each hiking day can be downloaded before your arrival.

These prices do not include:

  • Drinks excluding meals and personal expenses.
  • Accommodation the day before and the last day of the hike :
    • From €67 per adult in a double room with full board.
    • From €46 per child from 12 years old full board.
    • From €32 per child under 12 full board.
    • From €20 per child under 4 years old full board.
    • From €10 per child sleeping in a cot.
  • Transportation to the starting point of the hike and back.
  • The repatriation of the donkey and hikers to the starting point in case of abandonment on your part.
  • Epidemic multi-risk 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
  • Taxi transport from the train station to Melay
  • Epidemic multi-risk insurance