5. The local region

Mailly-le-Chateau is located roughly equi-distant (about 30 km or 30 minutes) from Auxerre, Avallon and Clamecy.

Auxerre – population 39,000

Beautifully situated overlooking the river Yonne, this city is the capital of the Yonne Department and the fourth largest city in Bourgogne.

This is the city where St Patrick of Ireland studied for his ministry in the 5th century.

The Gothic Cathedral took over 3 centuries to build and was completed in about 1560.

Auxerre - a view across the river Yonne towards St Ettiene's Cathederal and the old city

Avallon – population 8,000

A fine old fortified town with winding cobblestone streets built on a granite spur between two ravines.

Avallon - the facade of the 12th century Saint-Lazare church with the medieval gateway-clocktower and the turreted Maison des Sires de Domecy (both 15th century) in the background.

Clamecy – population 5,000

This was the exile home of the bishops of Bethlehem from 1187, the year in which the Muslim armies expelled the Christians from Jerusalem.

Due to its position on the banks of the river Yonne, Clamecy was the capital of wood floating for almost four centuries (1549 – 1923). Timber logs were bound together into rafts and floated down the Yonne and Seine rivers to Paris for building and firewood.

View of Clamecy across the river Yonne

Some of the other villages in our local region are:


Vermenton – population 1220

The largest village along the busy D606, about midway between Auxerre and Avallon.

This is a photo of the 14th century Meridien Tower beside the  D606.

The spire of the 12th century Notre Dame church is just visible.

Just south of Vermenton are the remains of the former Cistercian Reigny Abbey.

Founded in 1104 and dissolved in 1790, at its peak it numbered up to 300 monks.

Pictured is the 14th century refectory that has survived and is now privately owned.

Arcy-sur-Cure – population 520

This is a small village on the D606 between Vermenton and Avallon, about 12 km (15 minutes) east of Mailly-le-Chateau.

The paintings discovered in the limestone caves just south of Arcy-sur-Cure are the second oldest known.

Merry-sur-Yonne - population 220

This is the next village upstream from Mailly-le-Chateau (5 km along the canal towpath or by road).

Merry-sur-Yonne is widely renown among rock climbers for its 50 metre high limestone cliffs that are known as the Rochers du Saussois.

See this rock climber in action.

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Subpages (1): 5.1 Local wine regions