Tourism Burgundy / Burgundy Franche-Comté

Auxerre ? Delicious bubble of Burgundy

Direction Burgundy and more precisely the department of Yonne to discover Auxerre. A little more than 35 000 inhabitants in this city which spreads out a lot of history and beauty on the banks of the Yonne and in the shade of one of the most beautiful cathedrals of France. Land of history, with 35 historical monuments. Land of culture with 3 museums of France, but also land of gastronomes...


Sweet Burgundy... And beautiful Auxerre !

Prefecture of the department of Yonne whose eponymous river crosses the city. Ah reminder : "eponymous" means "which gives its name to something". The Yonne gave its name to the department it crosses, like many rivers for other departments. But this is not my subject. My subject is to remind you how Auxerre is worth a real detour. A city full of history, as the saying goes.

Auxerre Photo par canadastock/ShutterstockAuxerre Photo par canadastock/Shutterstock


Rich of its monuments.

Except that Auxerre is not charged by History, it is magnified by History. We live there very well in the heart of a historic center straight from the Middle Ages and the Renaissance and which offers an amazing living environment full of pleasures for the eyes and the memory since the city counts 35 historic monuments, which is a lot. You can see the Clock Tower, the old wood panelled houses, the Saint-Nicolas square, which reminds us that the floats have greatly helped to make the fortune of the city by taming the waters of the river. A fortune also born from the vineyards so close and which produce some of the most famous wines of France.

L'Yonne traverse Auxerre et lui donne beaucoup d'allure L'Yonne traverse Auxerre Photo par BearFotos/ShutterstockYonne River in the middle of Auxerre / Photo par BearFotos/Shutterstock


Cadet Roussel

It is also the city of the famous Cadet Roussel (or Rousselle), which all of France sang. The song, born in 1792, makes fun of a famous bailiff-audience of Auxerre named Guillaume Rousselle. A boy not very "fut fut" of which the singers make fun of. For example "cadet rousselle has three houses, which have neither beams nor rafters...) and all the rest of the song rhymes and laughs around the number three (three boys, three cats...) and Cadet Rousselle's worries. A "Cadet Roussel" route is proposed in town and it allows to discover Auxerre.


Top 3 things to see 

The cathedral

Cathédrale d'Auxerre Photo par Henryk Sadura/ShutterstockCathedral of Auxerre Photo par Henryk Sadura/Shutterstock

A bit the emblem of the city since it dominates the medieval city as the bishop of Auxerre dominated the history in the past. The cathedral is beautiful and well renovated. There are many sculptures, especially on the portals, which is quite rare, the French Revolution having destroyed many of them. The cathedral also has very beautiful stained glass windows, some of which are very old since they date from the 12th century... 900 years old! Admit that it is solid. The Romanesque crypt, magnificent, is a little older still and can be visited with pleasure and respect. Mention for the Treasure of the Cathedral (400 pieces all the same). 

GPS address : Place Saint Etienne / Auxerre.


The Saint Germain Abbey 

This is the other big religious building (at least in the beginning) of Auxerre. It is now a fascinating museum. It was built around the tomb of Saint Germain d'Auxerre (380-448) born in Appoigny not far from the city. He is notably known for having transformed his walking stick into a green tree when he went to Italy. Amazing! 

Abbaye Saint Germain d'Auxerre Photo par Ekaterina Pokrovsky/ShutterstockAbbaye Saint Germain d'Auxerre Photo par Ekaterina Pokrovsky/Shutterstock

The Saint Germain abbey is made up of a whole with the abbey church, of Gothic style, the crypts (which date from the Carolingian time) and the magnificent flamboyant Gothic cloister.  Also worth seeing is the Saint Jean spire. In the abbey is the museum of art and history of Auxerre which retraces the history of the city and zooms in on the work of the monks, notably the copyists, and more generally on life in the Middle Ages which can be discovered with everyday objects. 

GPS address : 2 bis, place Saint-Germain / Auxerre


The timber-framed houses and the Clock Tower

L'horloge de la Tour de l'horloge à Auxerre et ses deux aiguilles l'une pour l'heure solaire, l'autre pour l'heure lunaire / Image par 18986 de Pixabay 
The clock of the Clock Tower in Auxerre and its two hands, one for solar time, the other for lunar time / Image by 18986 from Pixabay 

The city center is very pretty, alternating small streets and squares, with many half-timbered houses that are colorful and give a cheerful side to the story. The covered passage is worth a visit. You should not miss the clock tower, whose mechanism dates from 1485. It has two hands. One gives the solar time, the other the lunar time. They overlap only rarely: during the new moon at noon and during the full moon at midnight. 

GPS address Clock tower : Place de l'hôtel de ville / Auxerre

Maisons d'Auxerre Photo par andre quinou/ShutterstockMaisons d'Auxerre Photo par andre quinou/Shutterstock


What do we eat ?

We are in Burgundy, so we might as well tell you that we can find the three culinary stars of the region: wine, Burgundy truffles and the famous snails. You can also taste ham with parsley (pork meat coated with jelly) or the Burgundian gougère (small puffs filled with cheese, often served with a kir). You can also taste eggs en meurette and, of course, the famous beef Bourguignon. 


It's impossible not to try a Burgundy wine in Auxerre / Photo shutterstockAuxerre is a great area of the vines of burgundy / Photo Shutterstock


Around Auxerre 

The amazing construction site of Guédelon 

45 minutes from Auxerre. It is the construction site of a castle exactly as in the Middle Ages, with the same tools and the same techniques. The construction site of Guédelon began in 1997 and the public can visit. You can meet masons, a blacksmith, carpenters... It is also used by historians to verify hypotheses in terms of construction. It is just fascinating, plan to spend at least the afternoon there. 

Open from the beginning of April to the end of October. Entrance fee from 11 to 14 euros (indicative price). 

GPS address : D955, 89520 Treigny-Perreuse-Sainte-Colombe

Chantier de Guédelon Photo par Rrrainbow/ShutterstockChantier de Guédelon Photo par Rrrainbow/Shutterstock


The castle of Ancy le Franc

A magnificent white castle, with Italian influences, it also offers a superb park with amazing French gardens. Inside, you will discover one of the largest collections of 16th and 17th century mural paintings in France, as well as magnificent apartments: the king's apartment, the Count's apartment and the Countess' apartment. All the information is on the website which is very well done.

Le très beau château de Ancy le Franc / Image par jp de Pixabay 

The beautiful castle of Ancy le Franc / Image by jp from Pixabay 

You are very close to Tonnerre, don't hesitate to go and see the little town. You will remember there the famous knight of Eon spy of the King of France. 

GPS address : 18 place Clermont-Tonnerre in Ancy le Franc.


By car :

Auxerre is located in the department of Yonne in the region Bourgogne-Franche-Comté. It is located 170 kms from Paris (A6 2H00) and 1H35 from Dijon (A6). 

By train : 

It takes 1H43 by train. There are 10 trains per day to Paris. 

The websites 

Tourism in Auxerre

Tourism in Yonne. 


We apologize for any translation errors. Our translator really likes Burgundy wines too much. This is outrageous

city tourism city break

Jérôme Prod'homme

Jérôme Prod'homme

Jérôme est "monsieur de France" l'auteur de ce site.