Chtillon-sur-Seine - France cities

Chtillon-sur-Seine

The River Seine has just started on its journey when it gets to Châtillon-sur-Seine a town halfway between Dijon and Troyes in the northeast corner of Burgundy. This is unspoilt territory with forests and plains, rivers and vineyards. From here you can experience two of the best wine regions in France, Burgundy and Champagne.

The area, the Châtillonais, is an arable plain surrounded by forests of mainly oak and beech. The beautiful natural woodland provides a home for copious wildlife including several protected species of plants such as the wild orchid, the Sabot de Vénus.

Where Burgundy meets the Champagne region to the north, there are the vineyards of the Côteaux du Châtillonnais based around the villages of Belan-sur-Ource, Charrey-sur-Seine, Massingy and Molesmes. With similar soil to its neighbours, sparkling wine, Crémant de Bourgogne is produced using the Champagne method. The label is different but the product is good, and, it is much kinder on the wallet.

Châtillon is most famous for the Treasures of Vix, housed in the Musée Châtillonnais. Dating back to 6 BCE, this exceptional store of treasure was discovered ‘up the road’ at the foot of Mount Lassois.

The tomb of a princess was revealed, together with her gold jewellery and possessions. And nearby, the centerpiece of the collection was found, the enormous bronze vase, which could hold 1,100 litres of wine. This piece is truly magnificent and it is worth going into the museum to see this alone. The new museum is in the Abbaye de Notre Dame near the centre of town, a contemporary space within the shell of the ancient monastery.

Much of Châtillon-sur-Seine was destroyed during the world wars but you can get the flavour of the town by walking through the Quartier St Vorles passing the old houses and alleyways. On this route is the Douix Spring, an area of great beauty, popular with locals for picnics. At the foot of a rocky escarpment over 30 m high, surrounded by lush vegetation, the water gushes out, a sacred place in Celtic times.

A more famous river source is that of the River Seine which lies between St-Seine-l’Abbaye and Chanceaux. Visit the site and you can tell your friends that you have been to Paris for the day as it actually belongs to the City of Paris! In ancient times this was a place of worship and healing, but now there is a man made grotto with a modern statue of a nymph, the original having been destroyed by vandals. The archaeological finds from here are displayed in the Archaeological Museum in Dijon, including the bronze statue of the goddess Sequana on a small Roman boat.

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