250km (155 miles) SE of Paris; 76km (47 miles) NW of Beaune
Saulieu is interesting, but its food put it on the international map. The town (pop. 3,000) has enjoyed a reputation for cooking since the 17th century and is one of France’s Sites Remarquables du Goût for its Fête du Charolais (festival of Charolais cows) in August; a food festival, Les Journées Gourmandes, also takes place here at the end of May. Both Mme. de Sévigné and Rabelais praised Saulieu’s culinary attributes.
The main sight is the 12th-century Basilique St-Andoche, place Docteur Roclore, which has some interesting decorated capitals. Next door, in the Musée François-Pompon, (closed Mon pm and Tue; [tel] 03-80-64-19-51), you can see works by François Pompon (d. 1933), the well-known sculptor of animals; his large statue of a bull stands on a plaza off N6 at the entrance to town. Also in the museum are archaeological remnants from the Gallo-Roman era, sacred medieval art, and a room dedicated to France’s great chefs including Bernard Loiseau (see “Where to Stay & Eat”). Randomly, Europe’s largest festival of Cajun music is held in Saulieu in July.