DISCOVERIES IN THE AREA
The gates of Burgundy: between vineyards and prestigious landscapes
Burgundy is a prestigious region with a worldwide reputation for its gastronomy, its natural and historical heritage,
and its castles, churches and Romanesque cathedrals. The Côte Saint-Jacques is ideally located for
a wonderful immersion in these lands of art and history.
From Joigny to Auxerre: medieval discoveries
At the Côte Saint-Jacques, it is impossible to miss Joigny. Its old town, classified as a city of Art and History, possesses large timber-framed houses, including the House of the Tree of Jesse (also called the Bailli). See the castle of the Gondi which overlooks the city, the Saint John's Gate which dates to the Xth century, and don't miss the Ferrand chapel that is devoted to the Virgin and was constructed under François Ist. The city has three churches classified as historical monuments, each of which holds artistic treasures: the churches of Saint Andrew, Saint John and Saint Thibault. Enjoy the arboretum and the banks of the River Yonne.
30 kilometres away in Auxerre, you will be charmed by the beauty of the old Burgundian city and its cobbled streets. You will also savour the typical atmosphere among the traditional timber-framed houses and the Marine district, with the picturesque Saint Nicolas Square. Go under the Clock Tower and don't miss Saint Etienne Cathedral or Saint Germain Abbey which possesses the oldest known frescoes in France, dating to the IX th century.
From Auxerre to Coulanges: vineyard discoveries
Around Auxerre, in a magnificent landscape of hills and panoramas that extend to the horizon, there are some stops that are worth a visit. For example, in Saint-Bris-le-Vineux, in the midst of the hillside vineyards and cherry orchards, discover the church and wine-growers' homes with vaulted cellars from the XIth and XIIth centuries, reflecting the fact that in Burgundy, wine and cherries are age-old sources of riches. In particular, visit the ancient quarries that house the exceptional Bailly Lapierre cellars, the shrine of the crémant de Bourgogne. There you'll see five million bottles in four hectares of cellars, at a depth of fifty metres!
Not far from there, in the heart of a deep valley, guests can explore Irancy, the native village of Soufflot, the architect of the Pantheon. This wine-growing village is representative of the authentic Burgundy: the small stone houses with exterior stairs hide cellars which are real underground villages. You can taste excellent AOC wines here.
COULANGES LA VINEUSE
Coulanges-la-Vineuse also deserves your attention. Perched on a ridge overlooking the River Yonne, this picturesque site faces Irancy, at the centre of a landscape of vineyards and échalas, the name of the stakes that support the grapevines.
From Coulanges to Vézelay: from prehistory to Christianity
In the direction of Vézelay you will come across Arcy-sur-Cure. With the Chauvet cave in Ardèche, the caves of Arcy are the oldest of Europe.
Along a nine-hundred metre path marked by twelve stops, you will discover many natural forms dug out by the waters of the Cure and incredible testimonies of cave art, showing that humans have occupied these caves for 200,000 years! (Every day from April to November from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 2 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.)
Once you have arrived in Vézelay, the Eternal Hill, which is classified in the UNESCO inventory, you will be in one of the high places of Christendom, at least between the Xth and the XIIIth centuries.
Hundreds of thousands of pilgrims, kings, popes and saints came there to venerate the relics of Mary Magdalene before leaving for Santiago de Compostela and the crusades. Today, you will discover the Saint Madeleine Basilica, a testimony to Burgundian Romanesque architecture: the admirable proportions, sumptuous carved decors and extraordinary light will enchant you. (Free visit every day from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.).
From Vézelay to Noyers-sur-Serein : back to the history of France
Take the time to go to Bazoches castle, the residence of Marshal Vauban. Dating back to the XIIth century, this feudal castle possesses a trapezoidal architecture consisting of four towers and a dungeon surrounding an inner courtyard. It was acquired in 1675 by Vauban. In the grand gallery of the castle, Vauban studied and drew the plans of more than 300 strongholds, which made him an undisputed master of military architecture. (From 30 June to 5 November, from 9:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. and from 2:15 p.m. to 5 p.m.).
Complete this Burgundian tour by a visit to the beautiful village of Noyers-sur-Serein, certainly one of the most beautiful in France. Its medieval city will charm you: remarkable architecture of the XIIIth to XVIIIth centuries, squares and cobbled streets, timber-framed houses, lava-tiled roof tops, museums and art galleries. A walk along the river or on the site of the ancient castle will show you one of the most beautiful faces of Burgundy
● Visit to Joigny
● Dicy : la Fabuloserie : the Fabuloserie - Alain and Caroline Bourbonnais will allow you to visit a fabulous collection of art brut: from Easter to 2 November, Saturdays, Sundays and holidays, from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.
● Laroche Saint-Cydoine : Romanesque church (XIth and XIIth centuries) with an octagonal tower that is a jewel of Burgundian Romanesque art. A place of pilgrimage and unusual decor. Free visit every day from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
● Laduz : Museum of Popular Arts: forty years of a passionate search for objects that are testimonials to popular creativity, with around twenty rooms devoted to the occupations of rural artisans, popular toys, sculpture and the memory of the countryside. Every day from Easter to 15 October from 2:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.
● Ferté-Loupière : Saint-Germain Church of the XVth century and its dance of death, year round from 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m.
● A visit to Chablis country: Pontigny and Ligny-le-Châtel are extraordinary testimonies to local architecture. In Chablis, taste the Chablis wine while immersing yourself in a land of history. And in Tonnerre, homeland of the chevalier Éon, don't miss the enigmatic Fosse Dionne, a source with a perpetual flow (300 litres per second) that is considered to be a door which leads straight to Hell.