Yonne river

The Region

Etched by the meandering waterways of the Nivernais Canal and the Yonne River, the bucolic surroundings of Mailly le Château are bordered by coral rock cliffs on one side and cow fields and farmland on the other. Barges work their way slowly up and down the canal as bikers and walkers ride and stroll along its banks. Hikers navigate the foot trails through the forest reserve of the Bois du Parc catching the cliff top views from above.

The region is dotted with sites of historic, cultural and scientific significance:

  • The towns of Avallon, Auxerre, Noyers, Semur en Auxois and Montréal are famous for their medieval pasts which are still very much present in the form of towers, remparts, stone bridges, timber-framed houses and clock towers.

  • The medieval hill town of Vézelay with its 12th century basilica is an obligatory halting spot on the Santiago de Compostela pilgrimage route. The basilica has some of the finest examples of early Romanesque sculpture and is a UNESCO world heritage site. Vézelay is admired for its medieval houses, museum, galleries and expansive views of the Burgundian countryside. It hosts a month-long music festival every August, produces excellent wines, and a range of artisan beers can be sourced at the Vézelay Brasserie in the nearby town of Saint Père. The town is a 20-minute drive from Mailly le Château. 

  • The prehistoric caves at Arcy sur Cure house paintings, drawings and engravings dating back 30,000 years. Guided tours operate throughout the day from April to November. The site is a 15-minute drive from Mailly le Château.  Arcy Caves

  • The Château of Ancy-le-Franc is a beautiful Renaissance château built in 1546 by the Italian architect Sebastien Serlio. It is about a 45-minute drive north east of the château.  Château of Ancy-le-Franc

  • The Château of Tanlay ia another impressive example of Renaissance architecture not far from Ancy-le-Franc. 

  • The Château of Bazoches is a historic monument, the interior of which has been beautifully restored to its sumptuous 17th century style. It has unobstructed 180 degree views of the undulating countryside below.  Chateau of Bazoches

  • The Château of Chastellux was built over a 1000 years ago and is renown for the fact that to this day it remains in the hands of its founding family. It is a classified historic monument located in the Morvan region above the Cure River and can be visited from Easter to November.

  • The UNESCO world heritage site, the Fontenay Abbey, is a ‘must see’ for visitors coming to the region. The abbey is famous for the beauty and purity of its architecture which evokes the monastic life that once flourished within its walls. The garden was classified as a ‘Jardin Remarquable’ in 2004. The site is open for visits every day of the year.  Fontenay Abbey

  • The imposing Saint-Étienne cathedral in Auxerre is renown for its gothic architecture, beautifully preserved ensemble of stained glass windows and 12th century crypt with original frescos. Auxerre is also home to the majestic Saint Germain Abbey with its 12th century crypt decorated with the most ancient murals discovered in France to date.

  • Chablis is world famous for its wine but among locals it is also appreciated for its vibrant Sunday market where local producers and artisans come from near and far to sell their produce. It is a 30-minute drive from Mailly le Château.

  • Other local markets selling regional produce are held in Auxerre on Tuesday and Friday morning, Avallon and Clamecy on Saturday morning and Vermenton on Friday morning.

  • The Bailly Lapierre cellars, situated 50 metres underground, offer wine lovers the opportunity to taste and buy wines made from Burgundy’s finest grape varieties. The site was once an ancient underground quarry but now houses the cellars in which the world-renown Crémant is produced. It is open to the public all year round and guided visits are available.  Bailly Lapierre