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A real gem

vallée du cousin

In Avallon, take time to wander through the countryside on the edge of the Parc Naturel Régional du Morvan.  Enjoy the calm luxuriant valley of the Cousin river before taking in the colour and beauty of the terrace gardens or strolling through the local market in the old town.  Protected by the ramparts and its different towers that have withstood test of time, the medieval city reveals it’s hidden gems.  Paved alleyways, half-timber houses, bartizans and watchtowers, just follow the frog and step back in time!

You will be amazed by the secrets hidden within the city.  A superb mansion dating back to the 17th century, home to the Costume Museum, the Jean Desprès Avallon Museum, and regularly renewed exhibitions held in the old Salt warehouse or the House of Lords of Domecy or the Chapître wine press.  In other words Culture with a capital C to appeal to all ages!

The historical oldtown

Avallon («Aballo» in old french) is perched on a granite spur and surrounded by ramparts.  Towering 100 meters above the Cousin valley, the historical town is surrounded by terraced gardens, used as apothecary gardens from the 10th century.  It is a remarkable site which overlooks the Morvan.  Given it’s strategic view over several valleys, the town played an important  military role during several centuries.  Fortifications were built and then destroyed determined by the wars throughout the centuries.  There still remains a fair part which you can discover by following the Frog Circuit!  Ramparts, bartizans, watchtowers, and bastions reveal themselves to you as you wander through the alleyways, taking you back to the 15th century.

The collegiate church Saint-Lazare

Classed as a Historical Monument, its origins are set way back in the 8th century.  Henri Le Grand, Duc de Bourgogne donated part of the skull of Saint-Ladre, or Saint-Lazare – (who was considered to have cured leprosy), hence the name of the church.

The church succumbed to numerous changes over the centuries:  there used to be three  doorways where there are now only two.  In 1589, lightning struck the bell tower and melted the bells.  Twelve years later, a storm destroyed the bell towers and in 1633, the tower and the bell tower that had been rebuilt, were blown down by a hurricane, and in their fall wiped out a part of the vaults and the doorway.  But you can still see quite clearly on the tympanum of the main doorway the twenty four elders of the apocalypse of St. John, the labours of the months and the zodiac signs

As you enter the church, you notice that it is composed of a central nave with two colateral aisles.  An organ was added in 1850 and modified in 1890.

The Frog circuit

Designed especially for you, an explanatory booklet is available telling you all about the history of our medieval city.  Stroll through old Avallon following bronze arrows embedded in the ground depicting “la grenouille”.   A step back in time in your own time!

On your own, with the family or with friends, let our Grenouille be your guide!

The tour starts from outside the tourist information office, where a statue of our amphibian friend contemplates life!

And why indeed, a Frog?

Since 2006, a curious sculpted frog presides opposite Saint -Lazare church, intriguing passers by, young and old alike.  Yvan Baudoin created the sculpture and the town decided to acquire the strange amphibian, which has since become the town’s mascot.  That is why this cheeky chappy is depicted on the bronze arrows that outline the town’s tour!

Ot Avallon
Collegiale Avallon
Avallon la grenouille

The museums…

The costume museum

In a sumptuous mansion having belonged to the Condé family, full of antique furniture and artefacts from the 17th and 18th century, the museum will exhibit in 2020 a new collection dedicated to ballroom gowns from the 18th to 20th century. From the Menuet to the Twist, twelve rooms trace the history of different evening gowns worn on such occasions;  from gowns “à la française” to haute couture outfits of the 50’s and designer dresses of the 60’s, not forgetting the famous Charleston designs of the swinging 20’s!

The museum of Avallonnais Jean Desprès

In the historical centre of Avallon, only a stone’s throw away from the impressive Tour de l’Horloge, the museum traces the history of Avallon and its region, from the paléolithic era with the excavations of Arcy sur Cure, right up to the creations of the jewellery maker Jean Després (best known for his intricate Art Deco jewellery made from semi-precious stones, machine parts, and enamel.  The artist died on November 13, 1980 in Avallon,)

Young designers strive to present the museums collections, inviting the public to take a look at art, humanity and contemporary creations.

Avallon Musée du Costume
Avallon Musée

You liked Avallon, you’re going to love Noyers !