Yonne is a French department in Burgundy, Eastern France with 345,000 inhabitants spread over an area of 7,427 km2. It is the more dynamic department of the region because there are more people who move in than who move out of Yonne.
Town property guides
Yonne is located at the North West of Burgundy region surrounded by Aube, Cote d’Or, Nievre, Loiret and Seine et Marne. Yonne River, which is a Seine tributary, that runs through the department which is positioned between the Parisien and Morvan basin. It comprises of 7 different areas. The Senonais (North-North/East) is a chalky area, the Gatinais (West of Avallon) is a tertiary area of the Parisien basin, the Othe area is a chalky and clay area (East), the Puisage is a clay area (South West), the Auxerrois and the Tonnenois are clay areas (from Jurassic era) and the Morvan mountain (South).
Towns and villages
Auxerre is located in the centre of the department and is the first city in Yonne with 40,000 inhabitants (80,000 with its suburb) and has a lot of prehistoric and antic vestiges like Roman villas, Roman roads, surrounding wall and the old city centre. There is an important heritage such as the St Etienne Cathedral (11th to 16th century), the St Germain Abbey which was built more than 1000 ago, the Tour de l’horloge (15th century), the Coche d’eau house (16th century) with sandpit and anchor decoration, The St Pierre church which was financed by wine makers, the St Eubene church (12th century), the Visitantines Chapel (18th century) and 4 interesting museums (earthenware, middle-age art, natural art with fossils and environment house). The city centre has different areas to visit like the wine maker area, the Roman area, the retailer area and the banks of Yonne River. There are also remarkable areas and villages in the suburb of Auxerre like Regennes (with its 13th century St Pierre St Paul church, old wash houses and the castle), Bleigny le Carreau (with old Roman road and a dolmen) and Charbuy which is surrounded by woods with ponds and the GR13 (hiking track).
Sens is a stone and garden city located in the North of Yonne with 4 beautiful gardens and parks to visit: the Moulin a Tan Park with different landscaped and a tropical greenhouse, the Orangerie garden which is a French garden, the Ballastiere Park and the Jean Cousin square. There are also some historical visits to do: the St Etienne Cathedral which is one of the older gothic cathedrals dated back from the 12th century and has an organ to play classical music, the Symodal palace with a medieval jail and the Sens Museum located in the old archbishop Palace with prehistoric and Roman art.
Avalon is located on the top of a rock near the Morvan in the South of the department with lots of curiosities like a salt attic, the old city, the Hotel de ville, a 15th century house, the tribunal which is inside the Burgundy duke old castle, the Scies de Domecy house and the Tour de l’horloge.
The most popular activities in Yonne are rafting, Canoe, bicycle touring (canal…), hiking in woods and vineyards and 20 tours of villages near Auxerre (20km each), horse riding, Grande Randonnee track (GR13 and GR213), speleology, archery, paint ball, climbing, carting, quad, fishing, water skiing, a nautical stadium with pool and Jacuzzis, adventure park, ice sports, dance, marina, boat without licence, cruises…
In Avalon there is a garden in an old surrounding wall and the Champ Retard grotto located in an old quarry of white stones with visits, shows, and nocturne activities.
There are different kinds of visits organised. In Sens you can visit the city by night, by theme and visit some company to learn their work. There are also some visits for children. In Auxerre, there are themed guided tours (middle-age, Roman age… or by area).
This area has a lot of castles to visit such as the Ancy le Franc castle dated back from 1544.
Festivals are also important in this department. You will find a lot of musical events such as rock, jazz, French songs and classical concerts all over the year. In July there is the Zarbs festival with 2 days of concerts and in summer you will find free musical concerts of different styles.
As you aware, Burgundy is a famous area of French wine. In Yonne you could also take oenology lessons and enjoy tasting this delicious wine in wine maker cellars. In the Fleur de Vigne tasting in May where you could taste all Yonne wines and take part to shows.
This department is famous for snails (which have even become the region’s symbol worldwide), Dijon mustard, cassis (blackcurrant liqueur), kir bourgignon, ham with parsley and garlic, gougre (appetitive), Chablis, andouillette (small chitterling sausage), Duche biscuits, Chablis-style ham, foies gras, cheese, rillettes, terrines, vinegars, oils, alcohols, jams and (sweet specialties like croquet de Saint-Brithe), Burgundy truffle and of course Chablis wines.
Tourism office in Burgundy:
Travel from the UK
By air: Lyon international airport is at 90mn from Burgundy.
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