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N. Burgundy -- Auxerre, Vezelay or Avallon for base?

N. Burgundy -- Auxerre, Vezelay or Avallon for base?

Oct 29th, 2006, 11:57 AM
  #1  
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N. Burgundy -- Auxerre, Vezelay or Avallon for base?

I need help picking a place for my husband and I to base ourselves in Northern Burgundy for 2 nights. (We also plan to spend 5 nights in the South (Beaune, Dijon or split), and spend our last night in Sens so we have a short drive to CDG the next day.)

While in the North, we definitely want to spend time exploring both Auxerre and Vezelay. We would also be interested in seeing Avallon, Quarré-les-Tombes, Noyers, Chablis and Tonnerre if we have time, but we don’t want to feel like we are constantly rushing from place to place.

I would love recommendations for the best base city, based on available lodging, restaurants, sights, and just plain charm. We are considering the following hotels, based on TA reviews, guidebooks and websites: Auxerre – Hotel Le Parc des Marechaux (excellent review from Frommers; 10 minute walk to major sights) or Hôtel Le Maxime (not as highly reviewed, but right on the river and in the middle of “downtown” area with sights and restaurants); Vezelay --Poste et Lion d'Or; Avallon -- Hostellerie de la Poste or Moulin des Ruats. I am also open to other suggestions. Ideally, we would like a room with a bed that is at least 160cm wide (US Queen size) and not composed of 2 smaller beds pushed together.
Kay_SD is offline  
Oct 29th, 2006, 12:34 PM
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You don't mention when you are taking this trip. We are spending 3 nights at Les Paulands, between Beaune and Dijon and then 3 nights in Auxerre at Parcs des Marechaux in November. We leave Tuesday the 31st and return the 27th.. I'll be sure and get back to your post.

A friend dined at Les Paulands a year or so ago and was delighted with the food, She spoke with several wine buyers who said they always stayed there on their buying trips.

I had looked at Moulin de Ruats but liked this location better
jody is offline  
Oct 29th, 2006, 12:46 PM
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We love both the Ruats and La Poste. La Poste is right in town but Ruats is in a bucolic setting which we love and because it's the only place I have found that serves Truite Bleu. There is
A colette museum in the castle near Auxerree.
cigalechanta is online now  
Oct 29th, 2006, 02:12 PM
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We will be in Burgundy the first week of May. We're just trying to book rooms early.

Jody, I look forward to hearing about your experience with Parc des Marechaux.

Cigalechanta, what is Truite Bleu? Which hotel did you think was more comfortable?

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Oct 29th, 2006, 03:40 PM
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Truite bleu is trout that turns blue after having been dropped alive into a pot of boiling water. The first time we tried it was the last time It's available in the restaurant at the Château d'Igé in southern Burgundy.
Underhill is offline  
Oct 29th, 2006, 04:21 PM
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Kay, the truite Bleu is taken from the stream. A restaurant can say they serve it but you can tell as the "body" will be twisted from being plunged.
cigalechanta is online now  
Oct 29th, 2006, 05:09 PM
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I spent 2 nights in Auxerre a couple of years ago, and loved it there. I had wanted to stay at the Parc des Marechaux but it was booked, so I stayed at the Normandie, a 2-star which was fine. There is alot to do in Auxerre -it's a very interesting town. I had a wonderful dinner at Le Jardin Gourmand (I think that was the name of it)right across the street from the Normandie Hotel. Lovely, and great service.

I also spent one night at the Moulin des Ruats, which has beautiful surroundings and great food. I would have liked more time there just to enjoy the scenery. I enjoyed seeing Vezelay, but wouldn't want to stay there. I also spent my last night in Sens, where I turned in my car and trained back to Paris.

I LOVED all of Burgundy (spent 10 days altogether) and I know you will too.
I would definitely do those 2 nights in Auxerre instead of Vezelay or Avallon.
Sue4 is offline  
Oct 29th, 2006, 05:14 PM
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Kay_SD -

We've stayed at the Hotel Le Parc des
Marechaux in Auxerre on two different trips to Burgundy - using it as our base for Northern Burgundy - and couldn't have been more delighted. It's quiet and strong on charm, and within easy walking distance of central Auxerre. It's also an easy location from which to make daytrips. Ask for one of the larger corner rooms, and I don't think you'll be disappointed. The rooms are named for Napoleon's marshals, and the one in which we stayed - both times - was the Murat.

Two excellent restaurants in Auxerre that are within walking distance of the Parc des Marechaux are Le Jardin Gourmand at 56 blvd Vauban - we ate there on both trips - and La Salamandre at 84 rue Paris, which specializes in seafood.

Of the locations you mentioned, of course Vezelay is an absolute must see. We also particularly enjoyed the charm of Noyers-sur-Serein.

There are two other places I'd recommend highly that weren't on your list. One is the Abbaye de Fontenay, near Noyers. It's one of the oldest Cistercian monasteries in Europe and a masterpiece of Romanesque architecture. Here's the website: http://www.abbayedefontenay.com/

The second is the construction site of Guedelon, where artisans of today are creating a medieval fortified structure using the tools and technology of medieval France. It's west of Auxerre and a place to spend a fascinating few hours. The project is slated to take about 25 years to complete. http://www.guedelon.com

Where ever you decide to stay, and whatever you choose to do, Burgundy is a wonderful location, full of charm, culture, history, and excellent food.

Bonnes vacances!
MaisonMetz is offline  
Oct 29th, 2006, 05:25 PM
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Le Jardin Gourmand. Yes!! we ate there a few years ago and last September we arrived a day they were closed.
cigalechanta is online now  
Oct 30th, 2006, 08:03 AM
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ttt
I was sure you would have more answers here than on TA forums thanks to our fellow Fodorites.
They've been everywhere!
cocofromdijon is offline  
Oct 30th, 2006, 08:14 AM
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I would recommend a visit to the Chateau de Vauban that is near Vezelay.
http://www.corkscrew-balloon.com/bal...mgnik/14b.html
Randy is offline  
Oct 30th, 2006, 09:42 AM
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We stayed at the Mouline des Ruats and found it simple but charming - a great deal for a bargain price. The food was excellent - many Parisians drive out for the night just to have dinner there.

And they're right next to a large game preserve (French national forest?) with all sorts of wildlife. Our room looked out over the mill wheel and stream and we actually saw an ermine running along the other side one night. (Just thought it was a white cat until it started to run in that weasely way.)
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Oct 31st, 2006, 05:23 PM
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I can vouch for the Moulin des Ruats. We were there for two nights in May. The setting is bucolic and the restaurant is excellent. We used this hotel as our base and went to Vezelay and other places in the area. The church at Vezelay was very special and there was some singing going on when we were there.
We also went to Beaune and used that as a base, visiting Dijon and other places in the area.
drkathej is offline  
Oct 31st, 2006, 06:00 PM
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I appreciate all the replies. Fodorites are so helpful.

It seems like Parc des Marechaux and Moulin des Ruats both have fans. I like the idea of the bucolic setting of Moulin des Ruats near the Morvan, but I know we want to spend time exloring Auxerre so that might be a better base. It is so hard to choose! Is there much to see in Avallon?
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Oct 31st, 2006, 06:07 PM
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Sue4 -- Where did you stay in Sens? Would you recommend it?

MaisonMetz -- How was the Murat room decorated and what size bed did you have? (Reviews indicate there is a mix of traditional and contemporary decor, and the website does not show pictures that identify which room is which so it is hard to know what to choose.) We will definitely visit the Abbaye de Fontenay. I didn't list it since we plan to stop there en route fom Auxerre or Avallon to Dijon or Beaune. Guedelon looks very interesting.

nytraveler and drkathej - Which rooms did you have (or would you recommend) for Moulin des Ruats?
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Oct 31st, 2006, 06:11 PM
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Re Le Jardin Gourmand in Auxerre, does anyone know what days it is closed? I have seen conflicting info in guide books, and the website does not say.
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Oct 31st, 2006, 06:12 PM
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I liked our room that had the balcony. The other times we faced the water.
cigalechanta is online now  
Oct 31st, 2006, 06:25 PM
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I find Avallon charming. The place Saint-Lazare, the double portal of the church. The hostellerie de la poste dates from 1707 and received Napoleon as one of its guests. The Ruats is where MFK Fisher stayed.
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Oct 31st, 2006, 08:32 PM
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One of my favorite hotels is Le Grand Chaumiere in the little town of St Florentin [near Auxerre]. Mme Bonavalt runs the hotel, and her husband is the chef in the excellent Michelin* restaurant. We paid just 85€ for a large sunny room a couple of years ago.
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Oct 31st, 2006, 09:41 PM
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Kay_SD -

You asked "How was the Murat room decorated and what size bed did you have? (Reviews indicate there is a mix of traditional and contemporary decor, and the website does not show pictures that identify which room is which so it is hard to know what to choose.)"

I checked my travel journal and our photos. The photos on the website reflect the style of the furniture in the room where we stayed, the Murat. Re the bed size, I'd recommend you query the hotel directly if this is a decision point for you. Here is what I wrote in my travel journal about the hotel and our room during one of our visits.

"All the bedrooms are named for Napoleon’s marshals instead of having room numbers. Ours was a large corner one, the Murat, with furniture in warm wood tones – a king-sized bed, an armoire, a dresser, a desk with two desk chairs – one on either side, a chaise lounge in a Recamier style, a fauteuil, a small refrigerator/bar and a TV. There were large windows on the two sides, and the bathroom was spacious, sparkling, and modern. The room had elegant pale gray fabric walls with a chair rail and darker gray fabric below. There were cream moldings and a cream ceiling. Later I had a chance to see most of the rooms on the first floor and discovered that ours was one of the largest and nicest. The other two corner rooms with seating areas I saw that were comparable to the Murat were named Vauban and Lannes. Any one of these is a tremendous value for the very reasonable rates."
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