IN THE AREA

France - - Take A Stroll -

Auxerre lies just off the A6 au­toroute and the N6 main road, which makes it easy to ex­plore the sur­round­ing area by car. Get­ting around by train is straight­for­ward, too, as the rail­way sta­tion has reg­u­lar ser­vices to neigh­bour­ing towns, with TERS reach­ing even the small­est vil­lages be­tween Auxerre and Aval­lon fur­ther to the south.

The Aux­er­rois re­gion is one of Bur­gundy’s ma­jor wine-pro­duc­ing ar­eas, so a visit to wine vil­lages is a must. Nine kilo­me­tres south of Auxerre is the aptly named Sain­tBris-le-vineux, a small vil­lage tucked away among the vine­yard-clad hills. A walk up through the sur­round­ing hills of­fers some of the best views of ru­ral Yonne.

At­tached to the com­mune are the Caves de Bailly (bailly-lapierre.fr), an im­pres­sive site where a sparkling cré­mant is pro­duced within cool caves dug deep into the lime­stone over­look­ing the River Yonne.

Wine en­thu­si­asts should also visit Irancy, which is known for its reds, and Ch­ablis, the home of renowned chardon­nays.

Keen cy­clists will find ex­cel­lent routes along the river and the Canal du Niver­nais, of­fer­ing bu­colic scenery and teem­ing river­side wildlife. It is pos­si­ble to cy­cle from Auxerre, but you might find qui­eter routes fur­ther south towards Vincelottes or the medieval vil­lage of Cra­vant.

The high­light of the area’s his­tor­i­cal at­trac­tions is the Unesco World Her­itage site of Véze­lay, 50 kilo­me­tres south of Auxerre. The medieval basil­ica in this hill­top vil­lage is the largest Ro­manesque build­ing in France and marks a start­ing point for pil­grims on the Chemins de Saint-jac­ques-deCom­postelle in north-west Spain.

Go­ing back in time even fur­ther, a linked group of cav­erns in the vil­lage of Arcy-sur-cure, con­tains spec­tac­u­lar pre­his­toric paint­ings.

ABOVE: The hill­top vil­lage of Véze­lay and its Unesco-listed basil­ica

ABOVE: A chilled glass of ch­ablis

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