The Local Area
Fontenille is a small rural Hamlet in the commune of Brosses (see local site). It is an ideal base to visit beautiful Burgundy and its diverse countryside, hundreds of interesting villages and its famous ancient towns.
The nearest large towns are Avallon and Clamecy and Auxerre. All have supermarkets and a good range of shops. They all hold weekly markets (we will give you details).
The Burgundy region has so much to offer the visitor. There is a mixture of large open fields and small pastures among rolling wooded hills and flat lands. Much of the inheritance of Burgundy comes from the religious zeal of the ‘Middle Ages’. This is particularly evident on a visit to Vézelay.
The region is also famous for its wines. There are numerous wine-producers within a short distance of Fontenille.
The ‘Morvan’ Regional Park is a large and beautiful Regional Park of over 1700 km². Among the pine forests, the crystal clear rivers and peaceful lakes and reservoirs you will discover dozens of small and individual villages and some interesting larger towns. The park is excellent for walking, riding, canoeing, fishing, etc.
Abbaye de Fontenay
The Fontenay Abbey is one of the oldest Cistercian monasteries in Europe. Founded in 1118 by St Bernard in a marshy Burgundy valley, the abbey has not changed its magnificent Romanesque style. Except for the refectory which was destroyed, all the rooms have been perfectly conserved : church, dormitory, cloister, council room, heating room, lodging for the abbots and the forge. Today, Fontenay attracts more than 120,000 visitors from around the world.
An interesting old fortified town with ramparts from which you can look over the deep valley of the river Cousin and further in the distance, the wooded hills of the Morvan National Park.
Situated on the river Yonne, this medieval city offers a wealth of interesting churches, especially St Etienne Cathedral (pictured) with its beautiful stained glass and Romanesque crypt. Auxerre is a lively town with shops and restaurants to suit all tastes.
The medieval Château de Bazoches is set half-way up a wooded hill on the site of a former Roman base in direct line of sight of Vézelay (10 km away). It was built in the twelfth century in the form of a trapezium with four towers and a keep surrounding an inner courtyard.
When they left Vézelay for the Holy Land on the Third Crusade, King Philippe-Auguste and Richard the Lion Heart were the first important guests to stay in this castle.
Bazoches was bought in 1675 by Marshal de Vauban with the reward granted to him by King LOUIS XIV after the siege of Maastricht where he fought with outstanding merit.
￼Chatel Censoir is the nearest small town to Fontenille. It has a mixture of small shops including grocery shop, chemist, baker, butcher etc. It also has a railway station, boat yard (pictured), post office, bank with cashpoint and a garage. There is a taxi service – tel: 03 86 41 50 24. Fishing permits for the local area can be purchased from the general store.
Chateau de St Fargeau
The Chateau at Saint-Fargeau is a fascinating building. The original was built in 1000 AD. It was rebuilt between 1467-1488. The brick and slate Chateau has 6 towers, a 100 hectare park and a small lake. It is open to the public from April 1st. to Nov 1st.
Chateau de Druyes
The Chateau was constructed towards the end of the 12th. Century. It was the 1st of a series of similar construction. During the Revolution the chateau was seized and almost completely destroyed. In 1960 the local village association assisted by the Ministry of Culture reconstructed the curtain walls, towers, bastions, portcullis, interior staircases and well shafts, etc. Since 1981 The Friends of the Chateau have organised guided tours, concerts and exhibitions.
The Basilica at Vézelay
￼￼Vézelay is a well preserved medieval town situated on a hill top. A very important place of pilgrimage in the Middle ages. In 1146 St Bernard preached the 2nd Crusade and Richard the Lion Heart and Philip August met for the 3rd Crusade. The highest point of the town is dominated by the Basilica of Ste Madelaine and from the ramparts you can enjoy stunning panoramic views.
￼Chateau de Ratilly-Treigny
A 13th century Medieval fortress converted during the 17th century. The Chateau has a craft workshop with a permanent exhibition of local stoneware of the Puisaye region in the Yonne. The opening times vary throughout the year but the Chateau is open every day during the summer from 10am to 6pm. See the website for details of other opening times.
￼Noyers sur Serein
The small town of Noyers stands on the River Serein. It is a beautiful and historic town whose round tower and 2 fortified gateways have survived intact. The flamboyant Gothic (15th. Century) Notre-Dame church is well worth a visit.
The site of Arcy sur Cure, a major one for the medium and late palaeolithic age in northern France, is located south of the Paris basin, between Auxerre and Avallon.
It includes a set of caves dug out by the Cure river into a coral massif that emerged at the end of the secondary era
For the next 20 years, thirty five craftsmen and women will be building before your very eyes a medieval castle. They will do so following XIIIth century techniques. The natural site in the middle of the forest will provide them with all the building material necessary : wood, water, stone, earth, sand and iron.
Chateau de Tanlay
A magnificent Chateau dating back to the 16th and 17th Centuries. The property belonged to the family of Admiral de Coligny during the Religious War and afterwards to Particeli d’Hemery, Mazarin’s Finance Superintendent.
From 1700 until the present day the property has been in the family of the Marquis de Tanlay. The building is particularly famous for its painted gallery, frescoes and for it’s remarkable moat, canal and grounds.
The Local Area