32 Best Places And Things To Do in Auxerre, France

Auxerre, located in the picturesque region of Burgundy in France, is a charming city that offers a delightful mix of history, culture, and natural beauty. Here are some of the best places to visit and things to do in Auxerre:

1. Auxerre Cathedral (Cathédrale Saint-Étienne d’Auxerre)

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Start your exploration of Auxerre with a visit to the magnificent Cathedral. This Gothic masterpiece dates back to the 13th century and is known for its stunning stained glass windows and beautiful sculptures. Climb the bell tower for panoramic views of the city.

2. Abbey of Saint-Germain d’Auxerre

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Explore this ancient abbey, which dates back to the 9th century. The abbey’s crypt, with its intricate carvings and ancient tombs, is a must-see. The adjacent museum houses a collection of religious art and artifacts.

3. Le Musée Leblanc-Duvernoy

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Visit this art museum, housed in a former 17th-century mansion. The museum showcases an impressive collection of paintings, sculptures, and decorative arts, with a focus on the works of local artists.

4. Wine Tasting

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As Auxerre is located in the renowned Burgundy wine region, a visit would be incomplete without indulging in some wine tasting. Explore the nearby vineyards and enjoy tastings of the region’s world-famous Chablis wines.

5. Promenade des Quais

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Take a leisurely stroll along the scenic riverfront promenade. Admire the charming old houses and enjoy the view of the Yonne River. There are also several restaurants and cafés where you can relax and savor local cuisine.

6. Clock Tower (Tour de l’Horloge)

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Climb the clock tower to get a panoramic view of Auxerre. The tower is a medieval structure with a clock dating back to the 15th century. It offers a unique perspective of the city and its surroundings.

7. Jardin de l’Arquebuse

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Escape the city buzz and relax in this lovely public garden. The park features beautiful flower beds, walking paths, and a small zoo with various animal species. It’s an ideal spot for a picnic or a peaceful afternoon stroll.

8. Boat Tour on the Yonne River

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Experience Auxerre from a different perspective by taking a boat tour on the Yonne River. Enjoy the scenic views of the city’s landmarks and the surrounding countryside.

9. Les Caves Bailly Lapierre

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Venture just outside Auxerre to visit the underground cellars of Les Caves Bailly Lapierre. This wine cooperative produces sparkling Crémant de Bourgogne. Take a guided tour of the caves and learn about the winemaking process while enjoying tastings.

10. Irancy

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Wine enthusiasts should not miss the opportunity to visit the nearby village of Irancy, famous for its red wines. Take a tour of the vineyards, visit local wineries, and savor the distinct flavors of Irancy wines. Don’t forget to pair your wine tasting with some delicious local cheeses and charcuterie.

11. Les Caves de Bailly

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Another wine-related attraction worth visiting is Les Caves de Bailly. This unique site features underground galleries where sparkling wines are produced and aged. Take a guided tour to learn about the traditional winemaking techniques and enjoy a tasting of their renowned Crémant de Bourgogne.

12. Musée de l’Avallonnais

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If you have an interest in history and archaeology, make sure to visit the Musée de l’Avallonnais in Avallon, a short distance from Auxerre. This museum showcases the region’s rich heritage through its collection of artifacts, including Gallo-Roman sculptures, medieval objects, and archaeological discoveries.

13. Noyers-sur-Serein

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Step back in time with a visit to Noyers-sur-Serein, a charming medieval village located not far from Auxerre. Wander through its narrow streets lined with half-timbered houses, explore the fortified walls, and discover the delightful craft shops and art galleries. The village’s picturesque setting and preserved architecture make it a perfect spot for photography enthusiasts.

14. Canal du Nivernais

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Enjoy a peaceful boat ride or a scenic bike ride along the Canal du Nivernais. This picturesque canal stretches through the Burgundy countryside, passing quaint villages, lush vineyards, and serene landscapes. It’s a wonderful way to connect with nature and appreciate the region’s beauty.

15. Maison de Colette

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Literature enthusiasts can visit the Maison de Colette in Saint-Sauveur-en-Puisaye, the birthplace of the renowned French author Colette. Explore the museum dedicated to her life and works, and gain insights into the fascinating world of this influential writer.

16. Gastronomy

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Indulge in the culinary delights of Burgundy during your stay in Auxerre. The region is famous for its rich cuisine, featuring dishes like boeuf bourguignon (beef stewed in red wine), escargots (snails), and gougères (cheese puffs). Explore the local restaurants and boulangeries to savor these traditional delicacies.

17. Festivals and Events

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Check the local calendar for festivals and events taking place during your visit to Auxerre. The city hosts various cultural celebrations, such as the Auxerre Jazz Festival and the Medieval Fête, which showcase live music, performances, and vibrant street parades.

18. Museums and Art Galleries

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Auxerre boasts several museums and art galleries that art enthusiasts will appreciate. The Musée d’Art et d’Histoire showcases a diverse collection of art from different periods, including paintings, sculptures, and decorative arts. The Fondation Leclerc exhibits contemporary art in a beautiful 17th-century building. Additionally, the Musée Leblanc-Duvernoy, mentioned earlier, is a treasure trove of local art and history.

19. Les Fossés d’Ancy-le-Franc

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Just outside Ancy-le-Franc, you’ll find Les Fossés, a tranquil park surrounding the castle moat. Take a leisurely stroll along the tree-lined paths, admire the reflection of the castle in the water, and enjoy a picnic in this peaceful setting.

20. Auxerre Market

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Immerse yourself in the local culture by visiting the Auxerre Market, held on Tuesday, Friday, and Sunday mornings. Browse the stalls filled with fresh produce, regional specialties, artisanal products, and handicrafts. Engage with local vendors, sample delicious treats, and experience the vibrant ambiance of the market.

21. Parc de l’Arbre Sec

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Escape the hustle and bustle of the city by exploring Parc de l’Arbre Sec. This tranquil park offers green spaces, walking paths, and a pond where you can relax and enjoy nature. It’s a perfect spot for a picnic or a leisurely afternoon spent reading a book.

22. Maison des Vins de Chablis

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Just a short drive from Auxerre lies the renowned wine village of Chablis. Visit the Maison des Vins de Chablis to learn about the history and production of Chablis wines. Enjoy tastings of the region’s famous crisp white wines and gain insights into the terroir that makes them unique.

23. Cultural Events and Performances

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Auxerre hosts a range of cultural events throughout the year. Check the local event calendar for concerts, theater performances, art exhibitions, and festivals. Whether it’s classical music, contemporary dance, or theatrical productions, there’s always something happening to entertain and inspire.

24. Golf

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Golf enthusiasts can tee off at the Auxerre Branches Golf Club, located in the picturesque countryside. This 18-hole course offers scenic views and challenges for players of all skill levels. Spend a relaxing day honing your swing surrounded by the beauty of the Burgundy landscape.

25. Day Trips

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Auxerre serves as an excellent base for day trips to other captivating destinations in Burgundy. Explore the historic town of Vézelay, visit the renowned Hospices de Beaune in Beaune, or take a scenic drive through the charming villages of the Chablis wine region. There is a wealth of nearby attractions waiting to be discovered.

26. Saint-Germain Abbey Gardens

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Adjacent to the Abbey of Saint-Germain d’Auxerre, you’ll find the enchanting Saint-Germain Abbey Gardens. Take a leisurely stroll through the well-manicured gardens, adorned with colorful flowers, lush greenery, and peaceful fountains. The serene atmosphere provides a perfect escape from the bustling city.

27. Maison des Visiteurs

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Step back in time and experience medieval life at the Maison des Visiteurs. This interactive museum takes you on a journey through the Middle Ages, showcasing the daily life, crafts, and traditions of the period. Try your hand at ancient games and immerse yourself in the fascinating history of Auxerre.

28. Shopping in Auxerre

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Discover the vibrant shopping scene in Auxerre, where you’ll find a mix of independent boutiques, charming shops, and well-known brands. Explore the pedestrian streets of the city center, Rue du Temple and Rue Joubert, where you can browse for fashion, antiques, local products, and souvenirs to take home.

29. Les Grottes d’Arcy-sur-Cure

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Embark on a unique adventure by visiting Les Grottes d’Arcy-sur-Cure, a series of prehistoric caves located near Auxerre. Explore the underground network of caverns adorned with ancient paintings, engravings, and artifacts dating back thousands of years. Guided tours provide fascinating insights into the region’s rich archaeological heritage.

30. La Petite Place

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Located in the heart of the old town, La Petite Place is a charming square that exudes a relaxed ambiance. Admire the traditional half-timbered buildings and soak in the atmosphere at the outdoor cafés and restaurants. It’s a perfect spot to unwind, sip a coffee, and watch the world go by.

31. Musee de l’Electricite

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Discover the fascinating world of electricity at the Musee de l’Electricite in nearby Gurgy. This interactive museum showcases the evolution of electrical technology and its impact on society. Engage with hands-on exhibits, learn about scientific discoveries, and gain a deeper understanding of the power that drives our modern world.

32. Balloon Ride over Burgundy

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For a truly unforgettable experience, take to the skies on a hot air balloon ride over the Burgundy countryside. Enjoy panoramic views of vineyards, picturesque villages, and rolling hills as you float serenely through the sky. It’s an extraordinary way to appreciate the beauty of the region from a new perspective.