This hike is themed by springs and wash-houses. The water flowing from the springs supplies the groundwater of the Parisian Basin on the one hand, and the Seine by way of the Loing River on the other hand. It’s a very well-marked path (#7), through an unspoiled natural environment. This track can also be done on horseback or mountain bike. It is listed on the departmental walking and hiking map (PDIPR) established by the department of the Yonne.
Calculated time is computed with the distance, the height difference, and an average speed of 2.2 mph. For an intermediate walker, this time includes small breaks.
(S/F) Starting at the church in the village of Sainte-Colombe, take the small road that heads up towards Perreuse (SW). After 200 m, take the path on your left. Once you get to Saint Nicolas’ Cross, turn left and follow the path until you reach the sealed road.
(1) At the intersection, take the small road that goes downhill on your right. After 200 m, you get to the spring of the Loing River (2) and the stele put up in 1994 which describes the course of the river. Keep following this road. At the next intersection, turn right and keep on until you get to the hamlet of Les Guittons.
(3) Leaving the village, take the small path on your left. This leads to the spring which is actually the first resurgence of the Loing River. In fact, from its source, the Loing River flows beneath the ground and emerges at this spot, only to disappear again a few steps further. Turn back. Once you get to the road, turn left and continue through the hamlets of Les Gressiens and Les Rameaux.
(4) Leaving the latter, take the path on your left for 200 m and go downhill taking the path on your right. This will lead you to the spring of Montillon. After a further 100 m, turn right onto the road. Watch out for traffic here!
(5) Go uphill and when you have almost reached the village of Sainte-Colombe, take the road on the left-hand side heading towards Les Landris. Go through the hamlet and keep going 150 m after passing the last houses until you get to the path that turns right.
(6) This path crosses the Loing River and climbs back up to the hamlet of Les Thomas.
Once you get to the road, turn right and immediately take the dirt path on your left (7). This is one of the most beautiful sunken lanes in the Puisaye region; it takes you through the woods and can be muddy in places. Take the time to admire the pollards described by Colette in her novels, mostly hornbeams pruned by removing the upper branches or young coppiced trees, which allow to abundantly harvest wood a few years later. You will get to a small road where you turn right until you reach the Desleaux fountain. Go down to the spring and the wash-house.
(8) Continue on the road until the intersection 100 m further down, cross over to the other side and continue to the next road.
(9) Heading down this path, you will pass the spring and the wash-house of Boutin. A little bit further, near the pond (10), you will pass over a significant underground river which supplies the groundwater of the Parisian Basin. Go uphill until you reach the road, there turn right. On the stretch going downhill, take the open path which will lead to the Fontanelles spring. Go back up this path, turn right onto the road and continue until you get to an intersection with a perpendicular road. Watch out for traffic.
(11) Turn left and after 50 m turn right on the dirt path which will lead you back to your starting point (F).
D/A : km 0 - alt. 270m - Eglise de Sainte-Colombe-sur-Loing
1 : km 2.21 - alt. 341m - Down the tarmac road to the right
2 : km 2.74 - alt. 318m - Source du Loing
3 : km 4.6 - alt. 304m - First Loing River resurgence
4 : km 5.89 - alt. 304m - Path on the left outside the village
5 : km 7.19 - alt. 280m - Road to the left towards Landris
6 : km 8.58 - alt. 277m - Path to the right after Landris
7 : km 9.93 - alt. 262m - Dirt path to the left of the D7
8 : km 10.97 - alt. 282m - Fontaine des Desleaux
9 : km 12.07 - alt. 315m - Straight ahead crossing the road
10 : km 12.47 - alt. 292m - Spring and wash-house of Boutin
11 : km 14.17 - alt. 264m - Crossing the D6
D/A : km 15.19 - alt. 270m
There is a parking lot next to the village hall (route de Sainpuits), 100 metres from the starting point.
A pleasant hike in all seasons, it's really beautiful between April and October. Remember to take some water and a picnic. You need appropriate shoes and sunscreen/hat when the sun is out.
This walk can be done in two separate loops: when arriving at point (6), return 100 m to the village (restaurant) or have your picnic near the Fontaine d’Aubert on your left.
This tour #7 is part of the walks listed by the Office de Tourisme Portes de Puisaye-Forterre.
Hikideas and this author cannot be held responsible in the case of accidents or problems occuring on this walk.
Here’s a little story about the Desleaux fountain (8) where locals, who regularly went out for some fresh air under the vegetation and met up for an “aperitif”, experienced quite an unusual mishap: one day, a rat came out of nowhere frightening the small group who left without finishing their aperitif. Ever since that day, people say the spring gives off a smell of pastis!
The church of Sainte-Colombe, its altarpiece, statues, relics and stained-glass windows.
At Saint-Sauveur-en-Puisaye, the Musée Colette, the Tour sarrasine.
Nearby, in Treigny, the cathedral of the Puisaye region, the Château de Ratilly, the medieval Guédelon Castle, the Bois de la Folie and its adventure park in the trees.
The GPS track and description are the property of the author.