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Gateway to Burgundy

By Linda Tancs

Dating to pre-Roman times, the French city of Auxerre is officially labeled a Ville d’Art et d’Histoire (city of art and history) for its cultural significance. In the Old Town sector of the city, the 15-century clock tower (part of the original Roman fortress wall) dominates among ancient roads dotted with medieval wooden buildings. Another magnificent building dominating the skyline is Saint Germain Abbey, home of the Bishop of Auxerre from 418 until his death in 448. It houses a Museum of Art and History, which traces the history of the city from prehistory to medieval times. The city is also sometimes referred to as the Gateway to Burgundy, producing all of the usual varietals of the region. Once thriving with wine merchants and vineyards, Le Clos de la Chaînette (one of the oldest vineyards in France, dating to the 7th century) remains today. You can get there in under two hours from Paris.

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