Avallon, Yonne: tourism & sightseeing
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Avallon is in the Yonne department of Burgundy, to the north of the Morvan Natural Parc region and south-east of Auxerre. Avallon has been occupied since Roman times, and is an attractive town of cobbled streets, open gardens, and fine balconied townhouses.
France This Way comment: overall Avallon is an attractive bustling small town and a visit is recommended.
The main centre of Avallon which is of interest to visitors has a pedestrianised shopping centre and an interesting historical old town, large enough to include plenty of side streets in which you can discover unspoiled ancient buildings. The 'centre' of the town, reached through an imposing 15th century gateway-clocktower, is the square that includes the 12th century Collegiale Church of Saint-Lazare.
The church is known as being one of the finest examples of 'roman' style architecture in Burgundy, despite various catastrophes that affected the building in the 16th and 17th centuries: the original belltower was destroyed by lightning, a violent storm destroyed a further part, and the original tower was then destroyed by another storm. It is the facade with its ornately carved doorways that is the highlight of the church we see today.
Just to the left of the church is a very substantial and impressive turreted house dating from the 15th century, called the 'maison des Sires de Domecy'. Avallon tourist office is in another interesting ancient building close by.
You will also discover the remains of fortifications in Avallon, including several towers, with perhaps 50% of the town's original circle of fortifications still intact. Even in the centre of the town you suddenly find you are standing on top of the fortifications and looking out across the pretty wooded landscape that surrounds the town.
Further emphasising how close to the countryside you are in the town there are four attractive walkways-park areas to follow:
- the 'promenade de capucins' (a plane-tree lined walkway towards the north of the town);
- the 'Terraux Vauban' (a balustraded walkway in the centre of Avallon);
- a further walkway at 'la promenade de la petite porte', noteworthy for the views it provides over the surrounding Morvan and Burgundy countryside;
- the terraced gardens below the fortifications that slope down towards the Cousin River
There are also two small museums in Avallon: a town museum with various local artefacts, and a Museum of Costumes.
The more modern part of the town contains cafes, restaurants and all facilities, and buildings in the style of the region - faded shutters, ironwork balconies etc.
There is a great deal to enjoy in the countryside around Avallon. Among our personal favourites are the abbey and village at Vezelay to the west and the small village of Montreal to the east. If you like roman style architecture you will want to visit the church at nearby Vault-de-Lugny to see the medieval frescoes.
Slightly further but highly recommended is the small historical town of Noyers-sur-Serein, about 25 kilometres to the north of Avallon and listed among the most beautiful villages in France.
Map of Avallon and places nearby
Visit near Avallon with France This Way reviews
... or see ALL recommended places to visit in Yonne
Address: Avallon, Burgundy, 89200, France || GPS: latitude 47.49, longitude 3.9091
Plan your visit to Avallon, Yonne
Sightseeing & tourist attractions to visit nearby
- Asquins église St Jacques (monuments on French pilgrim routes): heritage site (12 km)
- Vézelay basilica St Madeleine (monuments on French pilgrim routes): heritage site (12 km)
- Vezelay: heritage site (12 km)
- Noyers-sur-Serein: most beautiful village (24 km)
- Jardin du moulin de Athie: remarkable garden (27 km)
- Morvan: regional natural parc (28 km)
- Clamecy: secteur sauvegarde (29 km)
- Parc de Saint-Léger: remarkable garden (30 km)
- Eglise de Saint Barthélémy (Cervon): religious monument (30 km)
- Basilique de Saint Andoche (Saulieu): religious monument (34 km)
Market days in Avallon, France
Regular market(s) are held in Avallon each Saturday. (Markets are held in the morning unless stated.)
The French version of this page is at Avallon (Francais)