Your are welcome in Yonne!

For you the peaceful environment of Yonne is an invitation to discovery and relaxation?  The most daring people will find plenty of ways to satisfy their thirst for adventure and thrills !

Put your sneakers on and go hiking on the famous route to Santiago de Compostela. You can also ride your bike and discover Yonne along the Nivernais or Burgundy canals. Or you can put on your lifejacket and stroll along the canals or face the white waters of the Morvan river. But you may prefer to assemble your climbing gear and climb the Rochers du Saussois…

A wide range of activities awaits you to push up your limits!

In Yonne, leisure is also creative!

Less adventurous ? No worries. We have a whole selection of gourmet workshops dealing with French cuisine or wine, inventive or artistic such as stone carving, modelling or painting… Many activities are organized in exceptional places full of history.

Yonne means plenty of activities for everyone!

Yonne, the garden of Paris
A department between nature and history

Located just south of Paris region, the department of Yonne in Burgundy is a concentrate of France! Heritage, culture, nature, gastronomy… Yonne checks all the boxes to offer unforgettable moments to tourists looking for discovery, history, escape or rest!

A heritage that tells the history of France

Yonne is definitely worth a visit ! The department is packed with treasures for heritage lovers with its basilica designated World Heritage Site by UNESCO (Sainte-Marie-Madeleine in Vézelay), the first Gothic cathedral in France (Sens), the largest Cistercian abbey church in the world (Pontigny), Renaissance castles (the perfect square of Ancy-le-Franc, masterpiece of the Italian architect Sebastian Serlio, or the mysterious pentagon of Maulnes in Cruzy-le-Châtel, to name but a few), its cities of art and history, its museums, archaeological sites and hundreds of authentic villages… Eager to discover the Middle Ages ? An immersive experience unique in France awaits visitors at the medieval yard of Guédelon in Treigny-Perreuse-Sainte-Colombe, where «laborers» build in real size and time a castle with the means used at that time. A site that attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors every year! Adults appreciate it, and children too…

For contemplatives or sportsmen

Yonne is a preserved rural department which enjoys a diversity of territories, very beautiful landscapes (forests, rivers and bodies of water, bocages, cliffs, etc.), leisure nature (soft or sensations) or adapted for families… are able to meet everyone’s expectations. Yonne can also be discovered in a «slow» mode. Fans of slow journeys will be happy to walk (2,000 kilometres of marked paths), to ride a horse or a bike (150 km bicycle track on the Tour de Bourgogne by bike) or to sail on boat (265 km of waterways). But you may also prefer an original way to discover Yonne with the tourist train of the Pays de Puisaye-Forterre, the Cyclorail of Puisaye, or river descents by canoe or trips by pedal boat! Thrill-seekers will be able to try the climbing routes of the rocks of Saussois, 50 m high in a preserved natural area, or 12 m high tree climbing routes with zip lines up to 200 m long…

Like a delicacy…

Of course gourmets are also invited tot he party, with starred tables or Bib Gourmand Michelin, and prestigious wines like Chablis, served all over the world. They are called La Côte Saint-Jacques in Joigny, Château de Vault-de-lugny, La Madeleine à Sens, or Les Trois Bourgeons in Chablis and Auberge des Chenets in Valloux. So many distinguished establishments for those who follow the guide. And to sublimate the dishes, you will enjoy products largely coming from the garden or short circuits. What is surprising for a department that is said to have seen the birth of gougère in the 16th century? A delicious little cheese choux pastry to be added to the numerous local specialties such as blue-veined ham, eggs poached in red wine (œufs en meurette), Chablis fashion ham, snails and truffle from Burgundy, or cheeses matured by artisans…

Traditional or unusual accomodation

In Yonne, everything was designed to welcome you the best way and to facilitate your stay. Standardized and renewed tourist directional signage, labels (Artisans du tourisme, Famil’Yonne, Accueil vélo…), theme roads (vineyards, Renaissance castles, bicycles and cheeses…) will allow you to travel comfortably and easily. Don’t worry about accommodation, the offer is also there ! You can look for Luxury places (relais-châteaux, hotel design, châteaux hotels, top quality gîtes and bed & breakfasts…), unusual (tree houses, caravans, yurts…) or traditional accommodation, Yonne will provide an answer to every need.

No matter the mode of transport you choose, the accomodation you are looking for, the visits and activities you want to do… You can find everything in Yonne!

The return of builders

In 2023, a medieval castle is, little by little, emerging from the ground in a quarry located in the middle of the Guédelon forest, near Treigny-Perreuse-Saint-Colombe. If the castle of Guédelon is still under construction it is not because the yard has stopped for several centuries ; but because it began in 1998. The castle is built by enthusiasts according to proven techniques from the Middle Ages. That’s why Guédelon’s project is a modern and innovative idea.

A monumental bet

This experimental adventure was born from a challenge to Michel Guyot, owner of the Saint-Fargeau castle is located a few kilometres away.

It began with a study he commissioned in 1995 on the underground of Saint-Fargeau. The report revealed that the remains of a medieval castle were buried under the castle. It concluded that «it would be exciting to rebuild Saint-Fargeau». For Michel Guyot, tireless restorer of old castles, the challenge had to be met. Yonne was going to have its medieval Louvre.

The plans of this disappeared Saint-Fargeau were not selected because it was important that this modern work had its own identity and forges its own history for the next centuries and millennia.

Even if the castle is new, it had to have an origin: in the thirteenth century, a vassal of Jean de Toucy (himself a vassal of the king of France) obtained the authorization by royal ordinance of bastir chatel. The yard began in 1228 and it adopted the architectural canons established by Philippe Auguste in the 12th century.

A scientific project

1128 is actually year 1997! And building a medieval castle nowadays with ancestral methods is also a scientific and educational project.

Because of the methodology used, the project is scientific with the development of a database centralizing the building methods of Philippe’s period. This database is fed with visits to existing medieval castles, ancient books, studies, theses, reports, excavations…

The choice of the land for construction was also a matter of medieval engineering: because Guédelon was built according to the architectural canons of the time, the workers had to source materials according to medieval constraints. In the Middle Ages, transportation was slow and expensive because of tolls and seigneurial taxes, so it’s necessary to find the materials needed on site. To meet this requirement, the castle is therefore erected in the middle of the forest, in a quarry, where there is wood, stone, sand, water…

An educational project

Finally, the builders’ project was intended to be educational. Therefore the castle yard is open to the public while 40 workers, quarrymen, stonemasons, masons, carpenters, woodcutters, blacksmiths, tile makers, carpenters, corders, assisted by 650 volunteers, are working. Every year since 1998, 300,000 visitors have witnessed the construction of the house, of the fortified enclosure, the frames, the towers…

In this context of knowledge transfer, Guédelon offers internships for young people in training and professional internships, including rendering courses.

Exceptional yard on an experimental site, Guédelon is a project of great modernity, a source of inspiration and inexhaustible knowledge for castellology. A real time machine, the medieval castle of Guédelon is a history maker. It’s up to everyone to tell his story by visiting it!

Wine tourism
the taste of wine and terroir

All wine lovers know Chablis which represents 72% of Yonne’s vineyards. Next to this world-knowned jewel, the vineyards of Auxerre, Tonnerre, Vézelay and Joigny also offer beautiful oenological and tourist discoveries.

In 2021, Yonne produced 23% of Burgundy wines and 35% of white wines. With its five vineyards labelled «Vignobles & Découvertes» and its 8,100 hectares of vineyards, it is a destination of choice for wine tourism enthusiasts. This label distinguishes a tourist and wine destination offering a variety of products and accomodation. In the program: meetings with winemakers, cellar visits… and tastings!

Five vineyards labeled «Vineyards & Discoveries»

On the first step is Chablis,  with its white wines enjoying a mineral bouquet from Chardonnay, which enhances the best tables in the world. Yonne has four other quality vineyards: Auxerre, Tonnerre, Vézelay and Joigny. As many proposals to discover fine and aromatic white wines, ample and round red wines, but also rosés and crémant de Bourgogne.

Accomodation in gîtes or bed and breakfast (some of which are located in the wineries themselves) are the starting points to visit the region and discover how wine is made. Tourist service providers also offer fun ways to visit the vineyards: by scooter, bike, scooter or electric bike, minibus, on foot or in 2 CV, with or without guide… Not to mention the gourmet breaks, because Yonne is also gastronomic and cultivates local specialities such as talents (with starred restaurants, caterers with national reputation and willingly shared recipes).

On the «Route touristique des vignobles de l’Yonne»

Those who wish to explore the territory in total autonomy can try the «Route touristique des vignobles de l’Yonne», which winds 260 km between grape varieties and landscapes. It allows the discovery of typical and authentic villages, between Auxerre and Joigny, Chablis and Tonnerre, up to the southernmost point in Vézelay. All along the tourist route, the vineyards extend close to rivers. The opportunity to admire the diversity of valleys and landscapes: Yonne valley (vineyards of Joigny and Auxerre), Serein (Chablis), Armançon (Tonnerre) and Cure (Vézelay).

The history of Burgundy climates and wines told in Chablis

Soon the department will have a new address with the upcoming opening of the Chablis site of the City of Climates and Burgundy wines (with Beaune and Mâcon)!

The typically Burgundian word «Climate» refers to a vineyard terroir combining a plot, a grape variety and a know-how (the Climates of the vineyard of Burgundy are on the list of Unesco’s World Heritage). Designed as a network, these three tourism interpretation centres were designed to make discover the wine heritage of Burgundy from north to south. The tour (in French, English or German) of the Cistercian site of Petit Pontigny in Chablis is dedicated to the vineyards of northern Burgundy. It is made of visual, tactile, olfactory and acoustic installations. It will also offer exhibitions, animations and tastings (with delicatessen and local cheeses plates). A must-see stop on «Yonne Vineyards Tourist Route»!