White wine has proven the best of ambassadors for this small town known all over the world.
Chablis also has a number of buildings of undeniable architectural interest, notably Saint-Martin collegiate church (its 16th-and 17th-centuries chapel is famous for the Christmas Gate and the two round towers), the medieval hospital, Saint-Cosme priory (where Joan of Arc is said to have slept), which belongs to a vintner.
Other sites include a chapel at Les Clos hostelry, which is mentioned in the Michelin guide, the Petit Pontigny medieval cellar and the façade of the former synagogue, which is listed as a historic monument.
A detention centre under the regional penitentiary administration’s authority and the Auxerre court’s jurisdiction is located here.
Founded in 1104 under the name Juga, Joux has the remains of a Gallo-Roman villa in the hamlet of Bouchi, on the Royal Road to Paris, next to Talant Chateau in the direction of Sacy.
The former posthouse on the Royal Road was a 15th-century chatellerie and is still famous for its brickyard.
This is the town of Jean Chaumont, a minister in the 4th and 5th Republics. Born in 1913 not far away, in Chagny, this lawyer at the Paris Court of Appeals was deputy from 1954 to 1977, RPR senator until 1995 and president of the Burgundy regional council.
The tomb of Colonel Dubuquoy, who was born in Eparcy in the Aisne in 1827 and died in 1893, is in Avallon. He distinguished himself serving in the Loire Army.
The Nièvre department, which is part of the Burgundy region, shares borders with the Allier, Loiret, Yonne and Saône-et-Loire. Its 225,198 inhabitants live in four districts – Nevers, Château-Chinon, Clamecy and Cosne sur Loire – 28 intermunicipalities and 312 municipalities.
France’s two highest-ranking office-holders came from this department when François Mitterrand, the former deputy and mayor of Château-Chinon, was president and Pierre Beregovoy, the mayor of Nevers, served as prime minister from 2 April 1992 to the cohabitation of 28 March 1993.
Jean-François Bernard was born in Luzy in Château-Chinon canton on 2 May 1962. In the 1987 Tour de France he brilliantly won the race-against-the-clock at Mount Ventoux before placing third overall behind Stephen Roche and Pedro Delgado. Bernard won the Paris-Nice and was Miguel Indurain’s reliable Banesto teammate.
The former pro Yves Hezard, seventh in the 1972 Tour de France, was born in Donzy, in the Cosne sur Loire district.
Situated in the heart of France, near Mount Saint-Alban, the town has a Romanesque church. From the 16th to the 20th century, local logs would be floated to Paris via the Yonne and Seine rivers.
Vauban and Corot spent time in this charming town, which is the birthplace of the author Henri Bachelin (1879-1941), who won the 1918 Femina Prize and wrote La grande Billon de Juliette la joie and Le Village. A friend of Paul Léautaud’s, Jules Renard’s and Jules Romains’, this lover of Burgundy never forgot Lormes. A bust in his memory stands in front of a house where he once lived.
Lormes is also the birthplace of former Socialist interior minister Daniel Vaillant.
Blismes is less crowded than the pack because it has one of the region’s lowest population densities: seven people per km². The village was created in 1287 by the merger of Blismes and Poussignol parishes.
Quincize chateau is quite remarkable.
Château-Chinon, the sub-prefecture of the Nièvre, was successively a chatelleire, seigniory and earldom, is named after a medieval castle no longer standing. It was the electoral stronghold of President François Mitterrand, who was the town’s mayor and member of Parliament from 1959 to 1981. This is where, in front of the Morvan Hotel where he had a room and table, he found out that he became president on 10 May 1981.
Deeply attached to he gave it the presents he received while in office, all of which are exhibited in the museum opened to that effect in St Claire convent.
Although he was buried on 10 January 1996 in Jarnac, in the department of Charentes, François Mitterrand had originally bought a plot of land on Mount Beuvray, where he’d hoped to be laid to rest.
This hamlet is the precise point of intersection between the 47th parallel and the 8th meridian.
Originally a Roman fortified camp, Glux en Glenne is the highest village in Morvan. It is home to a museum devoted to Celtic civilization.
Take time out to visit the clog museum and the ferryman’s home, dating back to the time prior to the construction of a bridge over the Arroux.
In August 725 General Ambiza’s Saracens sacked Autun, the defence of which was entrusted in 833 to Charles Martel, who stopped the Arabs in Poitiers. Martel in turn entrusted the town to Theodoric, first in the line of the Thierry counts of Autun.
Nearly 500 years later, in 1120, Saint Lazarus cathedral, modelled after Cluny, was built in Autun with a tympanum carved by Gislebertus showing the Last Judgement. It is surrounded by a 6 km long and 2000 hectares rampart with four doors. The Roman theatre had 20,000 places, making it the empire’s biggest. It attracted the inhabitants of Bibrage l’Oppidiumm Eduen.
Nicolas Rolin, born in Autun in 1376, was a knight of Philip the Good, Duke of Burgundy, who was very close to John the Fearless. Rolin founded the Beaune hospices and negotiated the Treaty of Arras, which ended the Hundred Years War. He commissioned a Last Judgement from the Flemish painter Rogier Van der Weyden.
Napoleon Bonaparte and his brother Joseph studied at the 18th-century lycée. Talleyrand (1754–1838) was appointed bishop of Autun in 1788 and became a deputy of the clergy in 1789.
He had said, “They’re forcing me to be a clergyman and they’ll regret it.”
Mac Mahon was born at Sully chateau, 12 km from Autun, on 13 July 1808, exactly 199 years to the day before the Tour de France arrives. A former student at the Saint-Cyr school, Mac Mahon, a descendant of the kings of Ireland, distinguished himself in Algiers and the 1832 Antwerp expedition, when he was promoted to the rank of captain. In 1833, he distinguished himself again at the battle of Constantine. He captured the Malakoff fortifications during the Crimean War.
He is the one who said, “I’m here and I’m not going anywhere!” In 1859, back from Magenta, Napoleon III, gave him his marshal’s baton.
Mac Mahon commanded the “Versaillais” and fought the Communards in 1871. Thirty thousand of them were killed and 700 sent to penal colonies.
After the fall of Thiers, Mac Mahon was president of France from 24 May 1873 to 30 January 1879.
Jean-Baptiste Drouet, who was born in Saint Menéhoult in 1763, is the man who recognised and arrested Louis XVI in Varennes.
After the battle of Valmy, Drouet, a deputy of the Marne, voted for the king’s death. He ended up in Louis Philibert’s house at 23 rue municipale in Mâcon using the alias Merger.
Saône-et-Loire is also the birthplace of Nicéphore Nièpce, (1765-1833), the inventor of photography, who snapped the world’s first picture, a view of Saint-Loup de Varennes, from his window. He named his process “heliography”.
The great chef Fernand Point was born in Louhans en 1897. He owned the Pyramide in Vienne (Isère), a three-star restaurant where Winston Churchill enjoyed going.
Jacqueline Maillan, the actress, was born in Paray-le-Monial in 1923 and died in Paris in 1992.
Bernard Thevenet, who grew up in the hamlet of Guidon, was born in Saint-Julien-de-Civry in 1948. Claude Haignerie, a doctor, researcher and France’s first female astronaut, was born in Creusot in 1957 and the singer Florent Pagny was born in Châlon-sur-Saône in 1961.
Wouldn’t they look great on the podium!
Dim socks and stockings are the industrial pride of Autun, where a sawmill recently won an award for excellence.
Charolais beef, which needs no introduction, comes from southern Burgundy. Raised and grass-fed on 350,000 hectares belonging to 1,600 farmers, the cows have an AOC and a “Burgundy Charolais” charter.
Saône-et-Loire is the department of Burgundy escargots and chickens, which have their own festival in Romenay and at the market in Louhans.
Like neighbouring Ain and Jura, Saône-et-Loire produces Bresse poultry, the only one with an AOC. The birds are recognised by their blue feet, white plumage and red coxcombs.
When sold, the chickens and capons have tricolour rings around their neck identifying the place where they were produced.