French Villages in the Burgundy Region
- 1 French Villages in the Burgundy Region
- 2 About the Burgundy Region of France
- 3 Some of the Beautiful French Villages in the Burgundy Region
- 4 AUXERRE
- 5 Chablis
- 6 Noyers-sur-Serein
- 7 Château de Bazoches
- 8 Clamecy
- 9 Vezelay – a UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.
If you are looking for idyllic landscapes, cute and historic villages, excellent cuisine and fine wines, then Burgundy France is probably beckoning you. The Burgundy region of France is a very popular destination for these reasons, and more. Popular with cyclists pedalling the many bike paths, walkers and those cruising on barges on the canals, this is a destination that needs to be put firmly on your agenda.
These are some of the charming villages that we saw and visited on our barge cruise on the Canal du Nivernais. We were aboard, L’Art de Vivre, a luxury hotel barge of just 4 people and 4 crew from European Waterways.
About the Burgundy Region of France
The Burgundy Region is a fusion of historical towns and meandering canals. Through the countryside, you can see many cathedrals, churches, and the odd chateaux.
The Burgundy region also just happens to be well known for the exceptional wines produced here and cuisine to match.
The French name for Burgundy is Bourgogne, and it is found in central-eastern France, south-east of Paris, between the towns of Sens and Auxerre to the north and Maçon to the south.
Wine enthusiasts will love the many wines and the foods to match. We were very fortunate on our all-inclusive barge cruise that all meals, cheeses and wines, were included and were representative of the diversity of the Burgundy region.
Some of the Beautiful French Villages in the Burgundy Region
Auxerre is a town on the Yonne River and in the Yonne department of the Burgundy region. The town was historically very significant because of its riverfront location and was a major trade route between the Mediterranean and the North Sea.
From the river you can see the cathedral, several churches and monasteries, which tower over the city. What is most unexpected is that when you wander up the hill, you are in the historic centre of the town. Here you see the half timbered houses and many excellent pieces of street art. Auxerre has been recognized as one of the French Towns of Art and History, a French villes d’art et histoire towns and as such is a protected historic town. It is a pretty city that is exciting to explore.
If you walk across the bridge of Pont Paul Bert you are greeted by the Church of Saint Peter, the Saint Etienne Cathedral, and the Saint Germain Abbey.
The Cathedral St Etienne is a Gothic style cathedral built and has undergone renovations and extensions from the 11th to the 16th centuries. The Abbey of St Germain at Auxerre is dedicated to the history of Auxerre and the region. The Abbey is well known for its historic frescoes. It also has a crypt that you can visit.
As you wander further up the hill you arrive at a 15th-century clock tower where you see a sundial and moondial. There are lots of gorgeous squares for the compulsory coffee and French pastry, and a spot of people watching.
It would be wrong not to visit Chablis, home to Chablis wine. Before visiting the wineries and particularly William Fevre winery, have a look at the churches of Saint-Pierre and Saint, to make yourself feel better.. Then it is definitely time to sample some of these world famous wines. These have been produced in Chablis since the year 854 when monks first settled here, so it seems only the right thing to do.
Noyers-sur-Serein is another village on the banks of the River Serein and is also listed as a ‘most beautiful village of France’, because it is. In Noyers-sur-Serein there is a lovely 15th-century medieval centre with a small market on a Wednesday. The village had 19 of the original 23 fortified gates.
It is pleasant just to wander the cobbled streets, with the half-timbered old houses and observe how real French people live and go about their daily lives. There is a weekly market also, to wander around, chat and sample foods of the Burgundy region. If you go with the delightful deck hand from L’Art De Vivre, you can have some fun also.
The church is unusual, because in most medieval settlements, the church is at the heart of the village, but this one is slightly apart yet within the fortifications.
There is a beautiful lavoir to be seen just outside of the city gates… a public place for washing clothes, and possibly discussing village issues…or just gossiping.
Château de Bazoches
Located close to Vezelay, the most famous person who lived here was Maréchal de Vauban, considered to be one of the most brilliant engineers of all time. He was also a military leader, and strategist and key advisor to many people, including King Louis XIV. He lived at The Château de Bazoches when he was home, which was rarely such was the demand for his skills.
Clamecy is a cute little town that lies where the Yonne and Beuvron rivers meet, on the Canal du Nivernais. The riverside location made the town very important for wood transportation from the 16th-19th centuries, when the wood was floated downstream.
The old town of Clamecy has some beautiful medieval houses and a church called Saint-Martin. It is a lively city and a fun one to explore the narrow streets. The half-timbered medieval Maison du Tisserand is an interesting medieval house and worth a look. This historical region is now officially protected from development.
Vezelay, is another one of the ‘most beautiful villages of France’, and is 50km south of Auxerre in Burgundy. Vezelay is in an imposing village sitting high on the hill and visible from all round. The first thing that you can see as you approach the village is the imposing Abbey of St Mary Magdalene. The abbey contained the relics of St Mary and was historically the departure point for pilgrims to Santiago de Compostella. You can see shells set in the ground and these were the symbols of the pilgrims.
Richard the Lionheart and Phillippe Auguste embarked on the 3rd crusade from this abbey.
So popular is Vezelay that it is closed to traffic so expect a fairly steep walk to the top. However, the walk is very pleasant and it is nice to stop for a coffee or to check out some little art galleries.
As one of the ‘most beautiful village of France’, Vézelay is listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.
These are just some of the French Villages in the Burgundy Region that we explored on our barge cruise down the Canal du Nivernais in France.
Burgundy is a beautiful place and exploring this wine and gourmet hot spot by barge cruise was the ultimate way to enjoy its beauty..