Auxerre is an historical city in the French region of Bourgogne-Franche-Comté, at the heart of one of the country's largest wine-producing areas. It might interest mathematicians and engineers that this beautiful old city with historic churches was also the birthplace of Joseph Fourier, who is considered the founder of modern engineering.
Auxerre is located half way between Paris (170 km) and Dijon (150 km) on the A6 autoroute, at the junction of the proposed A26 Troyes-Bourges autoroute. The city is a good base for discovering northern Burgundy.
Trains to 1 Gare d'Auxerre-Saint-Gervais are a wonderfully cheap option if you are coming from Paris or Dijon. Trains usually run every hour. You might have to make a connection at Larroche-Migennes. You can easily walk from the station to the old part of town in 10-15 minutes.
Cheaper than the train, several buses run each day between Paris and Auxerre. Ouibus and Flixbus buses depart from "Gare de bercy" in Paris and drop you 2 hours later near the city center of Auxerre.
Auxerre is small, so walking is strongly recommended for most purposes and is a pleasant thing to do in the old city.
There are free mini buses that circle the periphery of the old town and a bus system that serves suburbs (for the suburb bus, tickets are €1.75).
- Old Abbey of St. Germain. No longer in use as an abbey, contains an important crypt with frescoes dating from the time of Charlemagne. The entrance is free, including the museum of archaeology, the temporary exhibitions and the church.
- 1 Cathédrale Saint-Étienne d'Auxerre (Auxerre Cathedral). A splendid Gothic cathedral whose flamboyant façade gives its exterior an unusual appearance.
- Tour de l'Horloge. A clock tower from the 15th century, with a golden façade and needles depicting the sun and moon.
- Walk across the pedestrian bridge that spans the river as it gives a nice postcard view of the city.
- If you visit for the whole day, or more, you can plan to rent a bike at "la maison du vélo" and bike south along the Yonne river for a marvelous ride. The bicycle path goes almost 200 km south and passes by beautiful villages and sceneries. Bikes cost €3 for 1 hour, €5 for 2 hours and €10 for half a day (2017 prices). For half a day, you can easily reach "Vincelles" village.
- Rent a kayak and paddle around the river next to the Parc des arbres secs.
- Football: AJ Auxerre were promoted in 2022 and now play soccer in Ligue 1, the top tier in France. (In full they're Association de la Jeunesse Auxerroise, since you were wondering about the AJ.) Their home ground Stade de l'Abbé Deschamps (capacity 18,500) is on the riverside along Route de Vaux two km southeast of town centre.
You can buy quality wines from the Yonne region for cheap. There are also antique stores and workshops both downtown and along the river.
If you want, to cook your own food or buy food for a picnic, Leclerc is the giant supermarket that has most of what you need, located on the northeast side of the river (14 Avenue Jean Jaurès). As you are in France, avoid buying baguettes, wine or cheese in a large commercial store; try buying those kinds of products in a local boulangerie, cave à vin or fromagerie: the charm of these such stores is the reason that you came to France and something that you cannot get at a chain store.
- Le Bistro du Palais, 65 rue de Paris. A former one-screen cinema, this is now a charming bar and restaurant with authentic Burgundy cuisine. They also have a wonderful local wine selection, and a piano.
- Le Schaeffer, 14 Place Charles Lepere, ☏ . 8am-6pm Tuesday to Saturday. The local brasserie, where you can have lunch and enjoy some French and local speciality. The croque monsieur sandwich is a popular cheap eat.
Auxerre is surprisingly quiet at night, but if you fancy some drinks and bumping music, head to the Place des Cordeliers in the centre, where you will find a couple of bars: Les Brimborions and Le Copacabana.
- Le Pub, 3 rue Camille Desmoulins. 17:00 to late. A classic night out for the young (and even older) crowd but the atmosphere stays relaxed. The bar has a huge range of beer and is also specialised in rum. Can get crowded on the weekend
There is a row of hotels, including some budget hotels, on a ring road on the outskirts of the city that is part of National Route 151. Part of the road is called Boulevard Vauban. The location is not bad as the city is small enough that a walk from that ring road to the old city and its sights is only a few minutes.
Campers will have a look at the "Camping Municipal d'Auxerre" (generally open from April 1st to October 15th) located some 2 km from the center of the town.
As of June 2022, Auxerre has 5G from all French carriers.