Built around a Benedictine abbey founded in the 8th century, this medieval city is listed amongst the “Plus Beaux Villages de France”. It’s story unfolds as you enter via the impressive town gates, through its cobbled streets, past its mansions and hotels… but also by the sweet scent of “Anis de Flavigny” – small aniseed flavoured sweets, famous world wide – which are still made in the old abbey to this day.
Guédelon – the building of a medieval castle
In the middle of rural woodland where all the necessary materials, including wood, stone and clay, are locally available, quarrymen, stonemasons, masons, ropemakers, carpenters, tile-makers, lumberjacks, blacksmiths to name but a few, are building a medieval castle from scratch, using techniques and materials of the Middle Ages. Guedelon is a scientific, historic, educational and touristic adventure. From the perimeter wall to the Great Hall’s roof timbers, the antechamber and its mural paintings, the castle kitchen and storeroom, the rib-vaulted guardrooms and the crenelated wall-walk, all of it has been built in view of thousands of visitors, and is the only construction site of its kind in the world.
“Ville d’Art et d’Histoire” since 1995, Auxerre has an amazing heritage: cobbled streets, half timbered houses, the Clock 15th century Tower, St. Germain abbey and the oldest Carolingian crypts of France, St. Etienne cathedral and its dazzling stained glass windows… Come and discover this true gem at your leisure. By foot, bike, electric car or even electric boat along the Yonne river, it’s not only a feast for the eyes but a step back in time. A town with a rich historical past, Auxerre is also ideal for shopping or wandering along the river banks…. for the gourmets amongst you, why not try a glass of St Bris with a lovely gougère (a typical regional cheese puff pastry) on one of the terraces on St Nicolas square? Don’t forget to pronounce it AuSSerre if you want to sound a little more local!
A historical city, Chablis was one of the first to have a printing press in France in the 15th century. The collegiate church of St. Martin dating back to the 13th century will intrigue you with the horse shoes nailed to its southern door; pilgrims on their way to Santiago de Compostela would nail the shoe of their lame mount in the hope that St. Martin would help in its healing. But if Chablis is so well known, it’s mainly for its “Grands Crus” and vineyards. Indeed, wine has been exported from here since the middle ages, to England via Rouen, to Picardy and Flanders via Compiègne. Today the Chablis vineyard covers 4500 hectares and has four ”appellations”. Chablis appeals to wine lovers the world over. You should sample some of these vintage wines while you are here. Not forgetting nature lovers, there are numerous trails throughout the rolling Chablis countryside for you to discover, whether it be hiking or cycling.
Capital of the Auxois region, Semur en Auxois is a medieval city with endless charm. Built on a pink granite bluff and half-encircled by the River Armançon, the town still boasts a dungeon, a gothic church dating back to the 13th century, tall towers and ramparts which surround the inner part of the town. Legend has it that Semur was built by Hercules on his return from Spain… It is situated in the very heart of Burgundy and on the edge of the Parc Naturel Régional du Morvan. Land of heritage but also of gastronomy, amongst the local delicacies you will find chocolates, jams, biscuits, but it is most famous for Epoisse cheese. Make sure you are of strong constitution before you smell it!!! There are many outdoor activities for you to enjoy in this beautiful setting, such as hiking or cycling, golf and horse riding, fishing or water sports on the Lac de Pont, to name but a few…