You arrive at the SNCF railway station serving Vesoul, designated a Cité Patrimoine, given the town’s rich heritage.
Leaving the station, make for the town centre, its historic heart radiating out from the square in front of Saint George’s Church.
- What to see & do: climb, by bike, in the direction of La Motte, to a car park where you can appreciate a fine view down on the town; then continue by foot up to the Chapelle Notre-Dame de la Motte. Also visit the Musée Georges Garret before looking around the historic centre on foot.
There’s a narrow passageway, going down the hill, leading to the Jardin Anglais, an English-style garden designated a Jardin Remarquable, a place where you can make the most of the refreshing greenery.
Leave Vesoul heading in the direction of Vaivre-et-Montoille Lake (covering 86 hectares). Pause here, maybe ordering a coffee or an ice cream on the shaded café terrace opposite the beach. Then set out on your bike to take a look around the ornithological reserve.
Arriving at the sailing school, make for the former station, riding along the route known as La Trace du Courlis (The Curlew’s Trail). You cycle alongside the vélorail (which uses the old railway line). Then you need to cross the D13 road and follow directions first for Pontcey, then for Chemilly.
- What to see & do: Leave the cycle track on your left to take a right turn in the direction of Montigny-les-Vesoul. You come to the Abbaye des Dames Nobles, founded in 1286, now a listed historic monument. In past times, the abbey’s nuns, who had to be of noble birth on the paternal side of the family, lived in individual houses close to the chapel.
After Chemilly, a pretty village located at the confluence of the Saône and Durgeon Rivers, you leave a little stone bridge with a statue of St John of Nepomuk on your right and get onto the cycle track. At the foot of the château, cross the Saône via a 140m-long footbridge leading you into the parish of Ferrières-les-Scey.
- What to see & do: make a short detour to go and admire St Martin’s fountain and the washhouse, plus the canalized stream and a striking fortified house.
After the footbridge, you ride alongside the Saône up until you have to leave the river to follow a stretch along the D56 road taking you to Scey-sur-Saône, a parish with a remarkable architectural heritage and designated a Cité de Caractère de Bourgogne-Franche-Comté (for its former forges, its fountains and washhouse, and its houses with ornate stairtowers).