Life is about the journey, not just the destination—or so they say—and the sight of Châteauneuf-en-Auxois perched high on a hill overlooking the Burgundy Canal demonstrates beautifully that the anticipation is often just as delightful as arriving.
Visible for several kilometres, as we draw closer, the château becomes increasingly difficult to ignore.
So, let’s take the two kilometre (1.2 mile) detour from the canal, as my walking itinerary suggests and spend the first night of the walk from Pouilly-en-Auxois to Saint-Jean-de-Losne in this most beautiful village.
The château was built in the twelfth century by Jean de Chaudenay as a home for his younger son Jehan—hence the name Châteauneuf, or new castle.
In the fourteenth century, five towers were added and the castle was fortified to protect against invasion during the Hundred Years War. The castle stayed in the same family for nine generations until 1456 when the last heiress, Cathérine de Châteauneuf, was burnt alive as punishment for poisoning her second husband!
In 1457, Philippe le Bon, Duke of Burgundy, gave the château to his advisor, Philippe Pot, whose tomb can be seen in the chapel. Over the next 450 years, the château passed through many hands until it was donated to the state in 1936.
The château is open every day except Mondays and public holidays. Tours are available every hour (depending on visitor numbers) or you can pick up a brochure—available in many languages—and take a self-guided tour.
When you have finished exploring the château, be sure to spend an hour or so wandering the back streets, visiting the church and enjoying the views back to the canal from the lookout.
Which long-distance walk visits Châteauneuf-en-Auxois?
Where is it? Find it on Google maps
Distance from the previous village of Vandenesse-en-Auxois: 2.5 kilometres (1.6 miles)
Accommodation is available at:
Hostellerie du Château
Au Bois Dormant
Hostellerie du Château where the food is so good, I worked my way through the much of the menu over three consecutive nights!