Vercingetorix in Bibracte and Alesia
Everyone has heard his name, but do we all know why he's so well-known? This is what we are offering visitors on this visit in Burgundy.
In the year 53 B.C., son of Celtillus the Arvernian, led numerous Gallic tribes (a difficult feat at that time!) and was named the leader of the Gauls in Bibracte which was then the capital of the Aedui, a local Gallic civilisation.
One year later, in Alesia, he would face Caesar in a tragic battle between 80,000 Gauls and 50,000 Roman legionaries, followed by a siege which lasted a little over a month, before they surrendered their weapons. His defeat meant that Caesar was able to integrate the whole of Gaul into the Roman Empire...
At the MuséoParc Alesia
See what it was like to be at the heart of the battles and crack the myth of the Gauls. MuséoParc Alésia, the visitor's centre, is devoted to the battle of Alesia and the myth surrounding the Gallic origins of France. You'll see what it was like here back then, from both the Roman and Gallic point of view.
- A set, designed by architect Bernard Tschumi, the actual MuséoParc building is worth the detour alone. Make sure you go up onto the rooftop terrace for a view of the whole site!
- Collections presented in contemporary, fun and interactive displays.
- Workshops for all tastes and for all ages. Children will love it here!
- An action-packed programme of activities and entertainment. Ask for the programme!
- An archaeological site.
- A statue to pay tribute to Vercingetorix
A magnificent statue
Any communication from the Gauls was only spoken. So we have no idea what Vercingetorix actually looked like! The statue on Mont-Auxois is therefore merely an interpretation from sculptor Aimé Millet who gave him some of Napoleon III's features, the last monarch of France.
This doesn't mean the statue isn't worth a visit: it is an impressive 13 metres high and the view of Auxois from up there is breathtaking.
The phrase "La Gaule unie, formant une seule nation, animée d’un même esprit, peut défier l’univers" (Gaul united, forming a single nation animated by a common spirit, can defy the Universe), engraved at the base of the statue shows the admiration and recognition that the world has for Vercingetorix and his story.
A few kilometres away, come and explore a 200-hectare ancient settlement that is slowly but surely being revived from the forgotten ruins and we are learning about the Aedui who lived there.
You'll need a whole day to see everything there is to see here:
- The museum has been built in glass and grey concrete and blends discreetly into the scenery, letting history speak for itself. Tablets, interactive maps, games for both children and adults, collections, etc. There's so much to discover here, and while having fun at the same time!
- The narrow streets, houses or crafts workshops... only 5% of the settlement has been uncovered so far but we can see how the Aedui lived. Come and explore the ruins on the guided tours.
- Excavations have been conducted here since the late 19th century, and are still revealing more and more today. You can expect something new each time you visit the site!
- At the heart of the Morvan, Bibracte is set in a superb natural environment, the perfect place to explore on foot.
Experience history differently at Bibracte: walks, activities, etc.
There are so many activities and new discoveries available here, each one even more enjoyable than the last. Here is an idea of what you can expect with some of our suggestions:
- outings with a falconer and their birds of prey that let you get so close you'll feel the brush of their wings,
- gourmet afternoons perched up in a hundred-year-old tree,
- walks of varying distance to explore the surrounding area and the mysterious forest, home to the peculiar twisted trees,
- have lunch at the "Chaudron" just as the Gauls would have back then (no lie!),
- or take part in a workshop and step into the shoes of an archaeologist for an afternoon.
The Bibracte-Alesia hiking trail
If you're feeling sporty, get your walking boots on!
The Bibracte-Alesia hike along a shared trail (horses, pedestrians and MTB), will take you up into the highlands of Bibracte and to the Alesia oppidum, along a part of the route that Vercingetorix and his troops would once have taken.
The trail leads you through the forests of Morvan, via Saulieu, a popular place to stop over since Antiquity, then crosses over the Auxois plain. It is 120 km long and takes 6 days for an experienced walker.