Four-day unaccompanied hike with a donkey

Hiking with a donkey


Hiking with a donkey


Brionnais in Burgundy


4 days of hike / 3 nights




B&B and unusuals accommodations


From 2 people

From 385 / Person


Discover the charm of Brionnais during a four-day donkey trek, meandering through centuries-old trails amidst rolling hills and lush green meadows. A delightful getaway for the whole family!




Day 1
  • From Melay to Saint-Bonnet-de-Cray:

    Meet at 9 a.m., in the town of Melay, at the Bougres d'ânes farm for a two-hour donkey trek training (if you're coming from quite far, we recommend arriving the day before; the training will then take place at 5 p.m.).

    Your adventure begins gently, following the towpath of the Roanne to Digoin canal, providing a perfect introduction to this unique experience. Cross the majestic Loire to venture onto small paths bordered by typical Brionnais bocage hedges. Begin your ascent slowly but surely, following a picturesque path that will lead you to exceptional views of the bocage.

    The descent eventually takes you to the charming village of Saint-Bonnet-de-Cray, where you'll be warmly welcomed by Marie Christine. A day full of discoveries and breathtaking landscapes awaits you.

    Get ready to experience a memorable adventure from the first day of your donkey trek in Burgundy!

Day 2
  • From Saint-Bonnet-de-Cray to Vauban

    Dive into a day that fulfills all its promises: time for oneself, the gentleness of the landscape, and a connection with authentic nature... All of this awaits you in the Bézo Valley, a charming river meandering through meadows where Charolais cows peacefully graze. A perfect day for a family donkey trek, offering an experience of unconventional holidays and off-the-beaten-path hikes.

    Let yourself be carried away by the soothing rhythm of the current, providing a calm interlude where only the murmur of the water accompanies you. Your evening destination awaits you on the other side, through the small forest of Foumoux.

    A day rich in discoveries and serenity awaits you during this stage of your donkey trek in Burgundy.

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

    On the third day, immerse yourself in the heart of the Charolais Brionnais region during a trek that will lead you, for the most adventurous, to Saint-Christophe-en-Brionnais, the birthplace of the Charolais cattle breed. Surrounded by gentle hills, tender green meadows, and magnificent white cows, you'll have a unique family trekking experience in the heart of preserved nature.

    On the heights of Saint-Christophe, a breathtaking view of the Arconce Valley unfolds before you, with this small river meandering through the meadows in the midst of the bocage. And if, by chance, your donkey trek takes place on a Wednesday, don't hesitate to stop for a guided tour of the livestock market of Saint-Christophe-en-Brionnais, a traditional market centuries-old. This unique experience will help you better understand the beauty of this bocage, shaped forever by the farmers.

Day 4
  • From Saint-Julien-de-Jonzy to Melay:

    After going up, it's time to come down with enthusiasm! Let's take the trails again, but this time through a beautiful deciduous forest whose tranquility and calm will gently guide you towards the Loire Valley. Don't miss the pleasure of a little detour to the magnificent Romanesque church of Iguerande, a millennial watchtower perched atop a hill offering a splendid view of the valley and its majestic Loire River.

    And if fate smiles upon you, an exceptional encounter awaits you at the museum facing the church: Lili. She will tell you the fascinating history of the people of this land, adding a personalized touch to your experience.

    Descend through the wooded paths, discover the history and nature that surround you, and be amazed by the wonders that will punctuate this memorable day of your unconventional trek in Burgundy.

Useful information

Embark on an exceptional four-day adventure with a donkey trek, a getaway that combines the simple and authentic pleasures of family vacations. The donkey will be the link that brings you closer, away from screens and stress. A nature retreat for a complete disconnection from daily life.

Reconnect with simple things, share precious moments, and live an adventure that will remain engraved among your most beautiful vacation memories.

Before setting off, benefit from comprehensive training with a professional donkey trek guide. Learn to care for this gentle and patient animal – brushing, cleaning hooves, putting on the pack saddle – and receive all the necessary explanations to guide your donkey with ease. With your new walking companion, set off serenely to discover Brionnais.

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

Over these four days, explore the Romanesque garden of Burgundy, Brionnais, an authentic bocage where the breeding of Charolais cows, the most famous in the world, has continued for centuries. Traverse hundreds of kilometers of paths lined with preserved lively hedges, a delight for nature lovers.

Every evening, the family, tired but relaxed, will find refuge with the locals, welcomed as friends. At the generous table, savor meals crafted with local Burgundian products.

A donkey trek is the epitome of slow tourism: a regular pace of 3 km per hour, time to savor the landscape, take a nap in the shade of an oak tree, and meet chatty farmers.

Time seems suspended, offering a peaceful and memorable experience.

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 meals of local Burgundian products.

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 is suspended and everything becomes so peaceful.


The level of walking required for this hike: Medium

DAY 1 :

13 km or approximately 4h30 of walking / D+: 271 m and D-: 167 m.

DAY 2 :

16 km or approximately 5h30 of walking (shortcut of 3 and 6 km possible) / D+: 327 m and D -: 265 m.

DAY 3 :

16 km or approximately 5h30 of walking (shortcut of 2 or 5 km possible) / D+: 364 m and D-: 301 m.

DAY 4 :

12.5 km or approximately 4.5 hours 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.

Level :

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: NOT VERY DIFFICULT




First evening :

Accommodation in a guest room (private bathrooms) and meals at guest tables on site.

Second evening :

Accommodation in a tepee (private showers and toilets in a shared toilet block) or in a trapper's cabin (private bathroom) and meal at a table d'hôtes on site (free swimming pool and sauna: €15 per person to be paid on site) .

Third evening :

Country hotel (rooms for 2 or 3 people with private bathroom). Restaurant on site.

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.
  • 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.

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


From €260 per adult in a double room with full board depending on accommodation availability.
From €195 per child aged 12 and over with full board.
From €165 per child under 12 years old with full board.
From €90 per child under 4 years old with full board.
From €30 per child sleeping in a baby bed.

€245 per rented donkey (one donkey for 3 to 4 people)

These rates are for 2 adults minimum or 1 adult and 1 child aged 12 and over participating and staying in the same room.
For families of more than 5 people, for people wanting separate rooms, a supplement will be indicated during the quote.

For single-parent families with children under 12 years old, 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 4 (except the meal on day 3 which will be paid directly at the hotel restaurant).
  • 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 €66,5 per adult in a double room with full board.
    • From €46 per child from 12 years old full board.
    • From €3 2per 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