Steeped in Roman history, complete with a spectacular Romanesque spire standing proud against the Morvan hills, Autun, formerly Augustodunum, was a garrison town during the Roman Empire.
Although the lower parts of this city are fairly modern with bowling alleys, McDonald's and lots of students milling around, stroll further into the heart of the centre and you find yourself wandering through numerous winding streets lined with fantastic architecture, quaint shops, cafes and restaurants before reaching the rather impressive cathedral.
It’s small enough to access everything on foot, but large enough to hold your interest for quite some time. It also has a beautiful French atmosphere that is just waiting for you to soak up!
Autun is accessible by bus or car, via secondary roads.
You can fly to Lyon, about 2 hours away by car.
- The very well-preserved Roman walls which still surround most of the city.
- The excellent museum.
- Autun cathedral. The cathédrale Saint-Lazare (Cathedral of St. Lazarus) is the 12th-century historic edifice famous for the superb artwork of the Romanesque master Gislebertus. It is considered as the most significant church in the town and also as among the most vital Romanesque churches in the country. Originally, the structure was intended to be a pilgrimage church instead of a cathedral as it was dedicated to Lazarus, the man who was raised from death by Jesus. His relics, preserved in this Autun Cathedral, were found in the area in the 12th century. Lazarus, the brother of Mary Magdalene, has his traditional tomb in Bethany near Jerusalem.
The countryside in this area is truly breathtaking; from the Parc Regional du Morvan with its forest-clad hills and cascading streams, to authentic French villages where you can sit by the river with a freshly-made croissant and simply soak up the atmosphere.
There are numerous shops to peruse in Autun, but most alluring are the chocolate shops and patisseries.
Try something other than a hotel: there are a few maison d'hotes/chambres d'hotes (bed and breakfasts) in or near the town.
- Moulin Renaudiots, chemin du Vieux Moulin, ☎ +33 385 86 97 10, +33 6 16 97 47 80, e-mail: email@example.com. 4 star accommodation