The Yonne, from Sénonais to Auxerrois

Departure point : Sens 6 Days / 270 km


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© Michelin - Itinéraire (texte, cartographie et road-book) issu du guide Escapade en Camping-car France 2011

In addition to the rich heritage of the old towns of Auxerre and Sens, you will also see much of interest in smaller towns - Joigny, Noyers, Ancy-le-Franc and Chablis. All are representative of a beautiful region, peaceful and proud of its history and its specialities.

Day 1

Tour Sens cathedral with its treasure, the museum and synodal palace. Joigny is thirty kilometres from Sens, via Villeneuve-sur-Yonne. Joigny is well known for its gastronomy (the chef Lorain is based here) and is also forging a reputation as a home base for pénichettes (small cruising barges). Why not book one for a future holiday or weekend break on the canal de Bourgogne?

Day 2

Continue south-west on the D955 road to see the wine-press at Champvallon, then south-east to the amazing museum of Popular Art at Laduz. Next, the D145 to La Ferté-Loupière whose church has some extraordinary murals (including the “Dance of death”). Carry on to the north-west to see La Fabuloserie museum of Art Brut (raw or rough art) at Dicy – something for all the family!

Day 3

Take the D950 to Charny where a plaque commemorates the terrible events of 14th July 1944 when all the village men and some of the women, suspected of helping the French Resistance, were rounded up and kept under armed surveillance in the little school. At the centre of the little town stands a striking market hall with half-timbered brick walls standing on stone pillars. Carry on to Grand-champ with its unusual, rather 'stretched out' château, altered several times from the Renaissance to the Second Empire. Head for Toucy, by way of Villiers-Saint-Benoît (Museum of Art and History in the Puisaye). Standing on the right bank of the river Ouanne, Toucy was the historical capital of the Puisaye up to the 14th century.

Day 4

Take the D965 to Auxerre. Take half a day to walk round the town, in the footsteps of Cadet Roussel, taking in the cathedral of Saint Étienne and the old abbey of Saint Germain. Head south on the N151 out of Auxerre, then take the D85 to Coulanges-la-Vineuse, cross over the Yonne and carry on through the vineyards to Irancy. You can spend the late afternoon on Noyers (get there on the D956), a medieval town with old roofs covered in “laves” (tilestones).

Day 5

Welcome to the Armançon valley and the canal de Bourgogne. Poplar trees, locks, barges and cruise boats form a holiday-like backdrop. Don't miss the following Yonne châteaux, just a few kilometres apart, and all jewels of Renaissance architecture: Ancy-le-Franc (superb painted interior); Tanlay (bridge flanked by two obelisks) and the amazingly different château of Maulnes in the Cruzy-le-Châtel district. At the end of the day head for Tonnerre on the D952.

Day 6

Tour the town of Tonnerre before taking the D965 to the Chablisien vineyards. A little town on the river Serein, Chablis is the capital of this prestigious Burgundy white wine-growing area. Take time to visit a few wine cellars before heading back to Auxerre.

Bib's tip
On Sundays in summer, the old town of Noyers becomes a pedestrianized area. Park your camper-van near the multi-purpose hall.