(Published January 2016, last updated June 2023)
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 you walk along the canal, the stone turrets and fluttering flags of the château become increasingly difficult to ignore.
So, take the two-kilometre (1.2 mile) detour from the canal, as my walking itinerary suggests and spend the first night after leaving Pouilly-en-Auxois in this worthy addition to the list of France’s most beautiful villages.
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 in France visits Châteauneuf-en-Auxois?
The Burgundy Canal (between Pouilly-en-Auxois and Saint-Jean-de-Losne)
Where is Châteauneuf-en-Auxois, France? Find it on Google maps
Châteauneuf-en-Auxois is located 165.6 kilometres (103 miles) along the Burgundy Canal, including the 1.4 kilometre detour from the canal to reach the village. I recommend taking the boat cruise from the port at Pouilly-en-Auxois to Vandenesse-en-Auxois – to experience the journey through the canal tunnel and several locks – then covering the last three kilometres on foot.
To reach Châteauneuf-en-Auxois from the Burgundy Canal – cross the canal at the first bridge after Écluse 10 S la Mine and follow this road up the hill for 1.2 kilometres (0.8 miles) until it meets the D18A. Turn left and continue for another 200 metres into the village.
If you are following my suggested itinerary for this 12-day journey, you’ll arrive in Châteauneuf-en-Auxois after nine days of walking and cycling from the starting point of Migennes.
This relaxed pace includes a rest day at Tonnerre and allows plenty of time to visit the nearby attractions of Abbaye de Fontenay, Château de Maulnes, Château de Tanlay and Château d’Ancy-le-Franc and the ‘most beautiful villages’ of Noyers and Flavigny-sur-Ozerain.
If you prefer to set your own agenda, I share the steps I take to plan my itinerary on any long-distance walk (using the Chemin de Stevenson as a case study)
Tourist Office in Châteauneuf-en-Auxois
There is no Tourist Office in Châteauneuf-en-Auxois but you’ll find lots of useful information about what’s happening in the village on the local website.
Accommodation in Châteauneuf-en-Auxois
Hostellerie du Château
O Bois Dormant (five rooms, 12 people)
Chez Bagatelle (four rooms, 12 people)
Where to eat in Châteauneuf-en-Auxois
There are several cafés in Châteauneuf-en-Auxois where you can stop for lunch or dinner, but unfortunately no bakery or supermarket where you can stock up on trail mix and other supplies.
If you are in the village at dinner time, I can personally recommend Hostellerie du Château where the food was so good, I worked my way through much of the menu over three consecutive nights!
Purchase the 2023 editions of the Burgundy Canal (PDF) guidebooks (Châteauneuf-en-Auxois is located along the second section between Pouilly-en-Auxois and Saint-Jean-de-Losne).
Purchase both guidebooks covering Migennes to Pouilly-en-Auxois and Pouilly-en-Auxois to Saint-Jean-de-Losne