Autumn in Chablis (Picture: Office du Tourisme)
A hamlet of some 2,500 inhabitants, between Paris and Dijon, Chablis is the cradle of a very ancient vineyard covering over 10,000 acres, comprising four grape varieties: Petit-Chablis, Chablis, Chablis Premiers Crus, and 7 Chablis Grands Crus. Chablis is also blessed with a wealth of architectural wonders: St Martin collegiate church, two pressing sheds (the oldest dating back to the 12th century), Petit Pontigny cellar, Hôtel Gras, Hôtel Dieu converted into a hotel and restaurant (with Michelin stars to its credit), Porte Noël, former synagogue, Saint Cosme Priory, Saint-Pierre Church. And local gastronomy isn’t too shabby either, with the Chablis andouillette (pork bladder stuffed with all sorts of goodies), pastries such as the Chablisien or the Duché, not to mention the Pilier de Chablis, chocolates to die for! As for festivities, three events celebrating wine take place every year: the St Vincent (patron saint of winemakers) in early February (with its special vintage), the Yonne Wines’ Market (on the first Saturday in May) and the Chablis wine festival in late October.
Saint-Lazard Cathedral and Ursulines Tower (Picture: City of Autun)
Autun, or Augustodunum as it was known in Roman times, is a 2000 year old town, which possesses a multi-faceted heritage, with its forty eight listed sites among the most beautiful in Europe. Principal Gallo-Roman site north of the Loire, magnificent remains are still visible in the town: ramparts, gates, theatre, temple... A 12th Century cathedral perched in the medieval «high town», the Rolin museum which houses, among other treasures, the Temptation of Eve sculpture by Gilbertus (12th Century) and The Nativity by Maître de Moulins (15th Century), the Italian style theatre, the town hall and the military school make it a town of art and history, visited by 250,000 people every year. Along with its rich cultural heritage and its tourist attractions, Autun benefits from a green setting, a prosperous environment, a cultural dynamism, a sporting fervour and thriving economic resources, based on sustainable development with the timber industry.