Born in Fougères in Brittany, where there is a museum dedicated to his work, the painter Emmanuel de la Villéon lived on a semi-permanent basis from 1900 to 1935 in the manor house in the hamlet of Bitry. An admirer of Monet, he adopted the approach of the Impressionists.
This trail has the added attraction of panels composed of reproductions and commentaries. They allow the viewer to recognize some of the places painted by the artist, with their hedge-enclosed farmlands typical of the Puisaye.
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.
A trail suggested by Dominique Durin.
(D/A) Departing from the Bitry village hall (salle des fêtes), take the path bordered by recycling bins and the pétanque court (on the west side). At the crossing with the tarmac road, turn right and go straight on, up to Salvards hamlet (panel 1).
(1) In front of Salvard Manor House (where the painter once lived and which is now a Bed and Breakfast), take the path on your left, which is part of the GR3, (panel 2). It will take you to Ligers, a vantage point offering a view of the two valleys.
(2) At the crossing with the tarmac road D2 (panel 3), turn right. Go past the old railway station (to the right) now a house, and follow the road to Chenes pond. Take the road to the left in front of the pond and go over the stone bridge. A little bit further, turn right and take the path along Maloise River to the Cannerie footbridge (panel 4).
(3) Cross the D2 and take the tarmac road opposite leading to Guimards. Once in front of the Guimards pottery workshop, go around it to the left, then take the first right. Go past the pond (panel 5) (4) and in front of the alley leading to the back of the pottery shop. At the crossing turn left.
(5) At the next crossing keep left and continue (panel 6) to Salvards.
(1) Take the first road to the left after the entrance to the park. Continue past the farm outbuildings and Salvard Manor House. (You can catch a glimpse of it at the back of the farm buildings.) Once at the crossing with the D514, take it to the left and after 50 metres, turn right and follow the tarmac road to Beauchats hamlet (panel 7).
(6) Keep left to go around the pond, then follow back onto the same road walking past Saint-Marc Chapel (panel from a different trail) and then go back to Bitry.
(7) Once in Bitry, go around the church to the right (west façade with a panel from a different trail) and go up to the road (the D114) turning right to go back to the village hall car park.
D/A : km 0 - alt. 260m
1 : km 1.43 - alt. 246m - Entrance of the Salvards parc
2 : km 2.49 - alt. 207m - At the crossins road D2, trun right
3 : km 3.68 - alt. 194m - Cross the D2
4 : km 4.47 - alt. 223m - Pool of townsite of Guimards
5 : km 5.1 - alt. 224m - Crossing, turn left
6 : km 7.23 - alt. 242m - Turn left to crossing the townsite of Beauchats
7 : km 8.31 - alt. 266m - Bitry, go around the church to the right
D/A : km 8.62 - alt. 260m
Sainte Foy, Bitry’s church with its two-sided nave, is renaissance style (a portal with semi-circular arches and ornamental acanthus leaves). It contains some interesting furniture: a confessional from the 15th century and a stair-raised pulpit in front of the 17th century altar.
A planisphere of two trails (the other named "de la Chapelle aux Roi") is found by Bitry village hall.
St Amand is situated 4.5km away (panel 9 at the Tourist Office). You can visit the Renaissance chateau with its stoneware museum, the Pottery Heritage House (Maison de la Mémoire Potière), the Jeanneney exhibition gallery, several shops and workshops of artists from the surrounding villages, as well as the workshops at the chateau outbuildings or at La Fabrique.
Saint-Vérain, an old fortified town with three walls is two kilometres away. Among the many relics of the past, you can see the dungeon ruins painted by La Villéon (panel 8). The church, an example of the transition from Roman to Gothic style, possesses the oldest stained glass window of the Nièvre (13th century) at the top of the nave.
Two pieces of work by the artist are exhibited at the interesting Museum of the Loire at Cosne-sur-Loire.
Hikideas and this author cannot be held responsible in the case of accidents or problems occuring on this walk.
From the Cannerie footbridge after heavy rain, a whirlpool can be observed in a recess on the opposite bank of Maloise River.
A shorter trail (for families with young children for instance) could start from Salvards hamlet, going to Ligers, Cannerie, Guimards and coming back to Salvards.
It is also possible to picnic by Vrille River behind St Amand Tourist Office (picnic tables are available).
There are no picnic tables but you can also picnic in the middle of the countryside on the trail by the Maloise River before the Cannerie footbridge or near St Marc's chapel (between Beauchats and Bitry).
The GPS track and description are the property of the author.