Auxerre is an ancient port city set on the River Yonne and surrounded by centuries-old Chardonnay vineyards. Stroll around the medieval centre dotted with beautiful churches and cathedrals, cycle through the picturesque countryside and visit some of the top wineries in France.
Things to do in Auxerre
Abbaye St-Germain towers over the city and is topped by enormous flying buttresses. Descend into the crypt and admire the vaulted oak beam ceilings decorated with frescoes painted in the 9th century. The Musée d'Art et d'Histoire is housed in the cloister and showcases a mix of modern and historic art, along with ancient artefacts and sculptures.
Cathédrale St-Étienne is the city’s crown jewel. Light streams into the Gothic cathedral through original stained-glass windows from the 13th century. The colourful jewel tones of the glass create beautiful patterns. Don’t miss the crypt decorated with Romanesque frescoes.
Tour de l'Horloge recalls the city’s ancient past and is one of the most beautiful clocks in France. Every face of the four-sided astrological clock is exquisite and tracks the patterns of the sun and moon. The clock is in the heart of the pedestrianised old town, where you’ll find artisan bakeries, bistros and cocktail bars.
Rent a bike and explore the city and surrounding countryside on two wheels. Some trails skirt the banks of the River Yonne and others wind through the famous vineyards of Chablis. Stop for lunch at a winery and try the dry, fruity Chardonnays the region is known for. You can also rent electric boats and enjoy a leisurely trip along the Canal du Nivernais.
Getting around Auxerre
Auxerre is pedestrian-friendly and easy to get around on foot, while bicycles are a scenic and eco-friendly way to get around. The city is two hours from Paris by car or train. Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport is a 2.5-hour drive away.