Semur-en-Auxois

FRANCE CHAMPAGNE ARDENNE Fortifications au bord de l'Armançon à Semur en AuxoisPays d’Auxois is a pastoral section of the Côte-d’Or department that lies north-west of Dijon. Home to wide fields, dense woodlands and steep cliffs; Pays d’Auxois also sheathes some of the most bucolic villages and towns in the region (many cited in the ‘Most beautiful villages of France’ list).

One of the most notable towns in this area is Semur-en-Auxois (pop 4,500, nestled in a bend along the River Armançon and still with all the charms of a long-lost medieval city. The town is guarded by four pink granite bastions such as the 44m high that have been overlooking these borders for over four centuries:
Tour de la Orle d’Or, Tour de la Gehenne, Tour de la Prison and Tour Margot. Entering the old town centre will bring you through two medieval gates- the15th century Porte Sauvigne and the 13th century Porte Guillier.
This old town was primarily built when Semur was an important religious centre housing about six monasteries. These days, the Collégiale Notre-Dame acts as their only reminder.

The 13th century Burgundian-Gothic Église Notre-Dame stands tall in town, featuring a pair of twin towers. The church was restored in the 19th century and it boasts beautiful stained glass windows. The church also houses a plague that commemorates the American soldiers who died in France during the Second World War.

Do pop by the Musée Municipal [rue Jean-Jacques Collenot, +33 380972425, www.ville-semur-en-auxois.fr, Free], which is situated beside the Municipal Library. The museum houses an extensive and interesting collection that ranges from archaeology and geology to fine arts. These exhibits were first displayed in the 19th century; and they have remained in their respective places all these years.

The rest of the old town can be easily discovered on foot. Try walking through rue Buffon to sight some pretty 17th century houses (you might like to savour a few Semurettes along the way - dark chocolate candies that were invented here more than hundred years ago) and the Promenade due Rempart, which brings you to the defensive walls that were built here, in the 18th century.
 

 

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SEMUR-EN-AUXOIS:   1. Tourism office  2.Train station (east of map limits)  3-6. Medieval towers  7. Medieval gate  8. Église Notre-Dame  9. Musée Municipal