Pontigny tourism & sightseeing

Photo of Pontigny in Yonne

Visit Pontigny (Burgundy, France)


Pontigny is situated about 15km to the north-east of Auxerre, in the Serein Valley of Burgundy. People visit this small village primarily to see the famous Pontigny Abbey.

Pontigny Abbey

One of the great cistercian monasteries of France (along with Fontenay Abbey, also in Burgundy), the abbey was built in the 12th century.

It was here that Thomas Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury under the English King Henry II, sought refuge from 1165 to 1166. More recently Pontigny Abbey has also played an important role in French culture - from 1922 to 1939 there was an annual get together of the great European intellectuals of the time at the abbey, including TS Eliot, Thomas Mann and Jean Paul Sartre.

The monastic buildings that once surrounded the abbey are no longer in existence, having been destroyed during the revolution, but the large abbey church was retained as the village church for Pontigny and is in very good condition.

Charming and rather understated on the outside, the great spaces of the interior really are something special and not to be missed if you are in northern Burgundy. Strolling around the outside you can see a wall that was once one side of the abbey cloisters, and an impressive entrance to the abbey. Pass into the interior it is the clean lines and perfect proportions of the interior, with its soaring arches and a monastic silence, that provide the appeal, rather than ornate decoration and glamour.

Note: it was the cistercian monks of Pontigny abbey who first planted vines in the chablis region.

Close to Pontigny

Among our personal favourite places to visit near Pontigny are the wine village of Chablis, a pretty village surrounded by the famous vineyards of the region, and the village at Noyers-sur-Serein.

Noyers is a little further, at about 30 kilometres south-east of Pontigny, but the historical centre and riverside setting make the journey to this village, classified as one of the 'most beautiful in France', very worthwhile.

You can find more local travel ideas in the Yonne guide and the Burgundy guide.

See also:

Map of Pontigny and places to visit

Visit near Pontigny with France This Way reviews

... or see ALL recommended places to visit in Yonne

Address: Pontigny, Ligny-le-Ch√Ętel, Auxerre, Yonne, Burgundy, 89230, France || GPS: latitude 47.907, longitude 3.7116

Plan your visit to Pontigny, Burgundy

Sightseeing & tourist attractions to visit nearby

  • Abbaye de Pontigny (Pontigny): religious monument
  • Eglise de Saint Martial (Seignelay): religious monument (8km)
  • Auxerre: secteur sauvegarde (16km)
  • Joigny: secteur sauvegarde (25km)
  • Noyers-sur-Serein: most beautiful village (32km)

The French version of this page is at Pontigny (Francais)