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The countryside around Sens is known as Burgundy’s granary: cereals and orchards predominate. The town grew up on the River Yonne, and with the Cathedral St-Etienne at its centre, it became an important ecclesiastical entity. Sens is small and easily accessible, with the main points of interest radiating out from the cathedral.
This was the first of the great Gothic cathedrals in
France, and it has been inspiration in layout and design for many others,
including Canterbury Cathedral in England. Work began around 1135,
initiated by Archbishop Henri Sanglier, and up until 1622, this diocese
had pre-eminence over Chartres, Auxerre, Meaux, Paris, Orléans,
Nevers and Troyes. The cathedral itself has magnificent stained glass
windows which date from the 13–19thC.
Alongside the cathedral, the Palais Synodal has been turned into a museum complex housing Le Trésor, the finest collection of church vestments in France. Tapestries, robes ( including that of Thomas à Becket) and chalices are on display. Other sections of the museum include archaeological finds, and the Marrey private art collection includes a magnificent piece by Rodin 'L'Age d'airain', and works by artist Peter Brueghel. Don't miss the Orangerie garden on the south side of the cathedral, a prize winning exhibit.
The 19thC covered market building is a stone's throw from the cathedral, and the charming Italian style theatre in Boulevard des Garibaldi, dating back to 1882 is worth a visit.
Le parc du Moulin à Tan in Sens has just been awarded the label ‘remarkable garden’ by DRAC, the government arts and culture organisation. Covering 10 hectares by the river in Sens, this garden offers a variety of landscapes with tropical plants, a wild area for natural flora and fauna, and a rose garden. The next step is to extend the park by a further 4 hectares to include an arboretum. Of the 18 parks with this distinction in Burgundy, this is the only public park.
Enjoy the cafes in the Place de la République
around the cathedral, the half-timbered houses and classy shops along
the pedestrian walkway Grande Rue. There is an excellent cheese shop
at 1 Vieilles Etuves called Parret, selling wines to accompany your
Places to eat
Monday and Friday
Bed and breakfast
Pam Elson ©burgundytoday.com