AUXERRE AT A GLANCE

France - - Take A Stroll -

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

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