214km (133 miles) SE of Paris; 52km (32 miles) SE of Auxerre; 96km (60 miles) NW of Dijon
This fortified town sits behind ancient ramparts, upon which you can stroll. A medieval atmosphere permeates Avallon, where you’ll find many 15th- and 16th-century houses. At the town gate on Grande Rue Aristide-Briand is a 1460 clock tower. The Romanesque Collégiale St-Lazare dates from the 12th century and has fantastic doorways, an artfully lit interior, and impressive woodwork. The church, open daily from 8am to 7pm, is said to have received the head of St. Lazarus in A.D. 1000, thus turning it into a pilgrimage site. A good day to visit is Saturday for the local produce market in place Général de Gaulle, which attracts foodies from miles around. While you’re there, stock up on artisan tea, coffee, and hot chocolate from Dame Jeanne, 59 Grande Rue Aristide Briand (www.damejeanne.fr; tel. 03-86-34-58-71), which also has a charming tearoom.