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An idyllic environment

Yonne is a relaxing department with traditional rural towns found among its serene agricultural plains. A great deal of fine wine is produced towards the south, although cider is the more favoured local produce. Throughout its history, Yonne has been a popular place with both pilgrims making their way to holy sites and royalty seeking a place to stay away from the big cities. Due to the large number of waterways the most pleasurable way to see the area has to be from the deck of a canal boat.

Into Burgundy

Sens is most likely to be the first town you see if you're coming from Paris. It has a dignified atmosphere with its pleasant boulevards, peaceful promenades and grand buildings. It still serves as the seat for an archbishopric. The charming old town is centred around the Cathedrale St-Etienne.

The Gateway

Further down the River Yonne, Joigny is considered the real gateway to Burgundy. The town, situated on a hillside with spectacular views over the Yonne valley, is home to some of Burgundy's most remarkable architecture. The inhabitants are known as 'Mail-lotins' or 'Maul-bearers' after the instruments used to kill the local lord during a revolt in 1438.

Down the riverbank

Auxerre (oh-sair), the departmental capital, is to be found further south along the Yonne. It has its own port for pleasure craft, making it a good base for those wishing to explore the area by boat. There are two enormous buildings situated on the riverbank. The first is the Gothic Cathedral of Auxerre and the other is the Cathedrale St-Etienne. Both are spectacular sights despite evidence of revolutionary sabotage. The 11th Century frescos and the beautiful stained glass windows have survived intact. The local tipple is a fruity Sauvignon Blanc, which can be sampled in the old town's wine cellars.

Wine tourism

The world's most famous wine-producing village is nearby Chablis. If you're after a sleepy and relaxing town then this could be paradise for you. Everything is closed on Mondays and every other day between 12 and 3pm. Tourist Information will give you a map of all the wine cellars. The largest is La Chablisienne, jointly owned by around 300 different small producers.

France's most beautiful

The hilltop fortress town of Avallon makes a great base for exploring the Morvan Regional Park. It has 15th Century ramparts encircling its historic old town. It is here that you'll find the 11th Century church of St-Lazaras with its towering belfry. Just to the west is Vezelay, another fortified town that is highly popular with tourists. It is widely considered to be one of the most beautiful places in France.

How to get there

The proximity to Paris makes a property here easily accessible. Paris' two airports, Charles de Gaul and d'Orly are both serviced by a range of budget and premium airlines. If you'd like to travel by Ferry the best ports would be Calais, Dunkirk or Dieppe.

Yonne property prices

The Yonne department is more affordable that the eastern Cote-D'Or region. You'll have to bear in mind that property around vineyards is subject to much stricter rules concerning development. Despite what is on offer, Burgundy is not drawing in as many UK buyers as would be thought.

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Yonne is located in the north of the Burgundy region of central France.

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