AUXERRE AT A GLANCE
Stay the night at… the pretty Hôtel Normandie Auxerre (doubles from €82, hotelnormandie.fr), with its vine-clad facade. The three-star town-centre hotel has 47 rooms, a gym, a stylish lounge bar and a secure garage.
Stop for lunch at… Le Petit Monde d’édith in Rue Fourier, (menus from €18, tel: (Fr) 3 86 51 49 69), a cosy little restaurant offering delicious traditional cuisine from a daily menu marked on a blackboard. Édith herself serves clients and is a charming bubble of energy. Have coffee at… Le Biarritz in Place des Cordeliers (tel: (Fr) 3 86 51 36 38), a favourite with the locals, who come in for a petit café and a chat with the owner Manu, who stands behind the bar. The perfect place to people-watch and soak up the atmosphere of the town.
WHERE TO VISIT
From 1 July to 31 August, a popular festival called Garçon la Note! (garcon-lanote.com) offers free pop-up concerts in various town centre locations. It is a great way to listen to local bands, as well as emerging talent while sipping a refreshing glass of chablis on balmy summer evenings. History buffs will appreciate the beautiful setting of the museum, in the Abbaye Saint-germain (Place Saint-germain, tel: (Fr) 3 86 18 05 50). Displays trace the history of Auxerre from its foundation in the Gallo-roman period to modern times.
For anyone wanting to take a longer stroll around Auxerre, La Coulée Verte offers a picturesque green escape from the busy centre. Sections of the nine-kilometre footpath are set on an old railway track circling the town, while the complete 15-kilometre circuit is accessible by bike.
The Parc de l’arbre Sec is the largest of
the town’s attractive parks and gardens. It clings to the banks of the river, next to the excellent municipal swimming pool, which has an outdoor pool, open in the summer. The park hosts cultural events and is a great place to people-watch as locals come to play sports, feed the ducks or enjoy the shade of the age-old plane trees.
GETTING THERE: The nearest airport is Paris-orly, a 1hr 40 min drive away. The train journey from London via Paris takes about 6hr. Auxerre is around a 4hr drive from the northern ports.
TOURIST INFORMATION: Auxerre tourist office, tel: (Fr) 3 86 52 06 19, ot-auxerre.fr