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Bourgogne, France, Europe: Saint-Étienne Cathedral and Saint-Germain Abbey reflected in the Yonne River in northern Burgundy.
Tourist Office
1–2 Quai de la République
France 89000
Tel: 33 3 86 52 06 19's insider take:

Founded during the Roman Empire along the Via Agrippa consular highway, Auxerre (originally named Autessio-durum) is an atmospheric town of about 40,000 inhabitants that overlooks the Yonne River in northern Burgundy. Lively and fun to explore, it's a popular destination for river- and canal-cruise vacationers. But don't worry: The town is rarely overrun, even in the July and August high season. Auxerre is also a favorite destination for gourmands and is home to Jean-Luc Barnabet, Burgundy's truffle king. The most appealing part of town is the partially pedestrianized area that links the riverbank and the city's main attractions: St, Étienne Cathedral and St, Germain Abbey. St. Étienne, which was built in the Gothic style between the 13th and 16th centuries, has magnificent stained-glass windows and was recently sandblasted to a blinding shade of white. St. Germain Abbey is a must for anyone interested in crypts (dating to the ninth century, they hold the tombs of Auxerre's bishops) and church history: The abbey's displays run from prehistory to the late Middle Ages and include art, archaeological treasures, jewelry, weapons, and coins found in and around Auxerre. Culture vultures and history buffs will want to spend a whole day in town, but half a day is all you'll need if you're just strolling and shopping.—David Downie

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