I found the Château-Landon loop trail on the local tourist office website. We had visited this pretty town a couple of times when we first moved to this part of France but hadn’t been back for over twenty years. On a sunny Ascension weekend Sunday when the local forest was likely to be packed with day-trippers, we drove down to Château-Landon to see if the place was as beautiful as we remembered. And, apart from a few cyclists and joggers, didn’t see anyone for most of the hike.

Château-Landon proper stands on a rocky spur overlooking the Fusain, just south of Nemours, and can be reached by train from the Gare de Lyon in Paris thanks to the station that it shares with the neighbouring town of Souppes on the other side of the Loing. Due to the current lockdown in France, I cannot comment on the bars or restaurants, but there do seem to be a few places to eat in the town in normal times. Otherwise, there are plenty of picnic spots along the trail.

The hike begins at the tourist office (which has a handy, free car park a short distance behind it) then makes its way through the old streets of the upper town to the Saint Severin Abbey at the end of the spur that Chateau-Landon stands on. It then heads downhill opposite the abbey before rising again through woodland. On emerging from the woods, there are a number of fields to cross to the village of Mocpoix. The trail then sticks to the edge of more woods for about 2 km (pleasantly shady on a sunny morning), before heading down to the peaceful Canal du Loing that it follows for 2.5 km before reaching the Fusain where it joins the Loing. From that point, the trail turns back towards Château-Landon along a very quiet road through the woods. On reaching the town, the trail leaves the road just after the abbey walls to follow the banks of the Fusain past beautiful old wash houses (each home along the river seems to have one), with great views of the town above. After crossing a marshy area where a couple of wildlife observatories are currently being installed, the trail crosses the river to head back to the centre of the town and the tourist office.

This is a very easy and pleasant trail to hike. With the addition of a couple of extra kilometres, it is easy to join from the railway stations of Souppes-Château-Landon or Dordives, making Château-Landon itself an ideal spot for a picnic by the Fusain at midday.

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