SensA Gothic marvel predating Paris' Notre-Dame.
Ancient Sens in Burgundy, known for its first Gothic cathedral and history along the Yonne River.
Sens, an ancient city in the Burgundy region of north-central France with impressive architecture. It is home to the first Gothic cathedral in the country, and its past as a successful trading center along the Yonne River is still evident. Despite its historic importance, Sens is not very well-known, providing visitors look into medieval France without the crowds.
Sens is known primarily for its Cathédrale Saint-Étienne, a significant structure in the Gothic architectural style. Its beautiful stained glass and detailed facade date back to the 12th century, offering a treat for those interested in architecture. The cathedral also contains the Trésor, a collection of religious relics.
Apart from this prominent landmark, the city's central area is perfect for relaxed walks. The covered market, Marché Couvert, built in 1882, still serves as a marketplace and also reflects the city's long history of trade. Its lively stalls provide a sample of local food, cheeses, and wines – sharing with visitors the tastes of the region.
Sens isn't just about history and buildings; it's also a starting point for enjoying the natural landscapes of the Yonne department. The Parc du Moulin à Tan and the banks of the river are beautiful places for walks and picnics. To see local activities, visit during the annual Foire de Sens, one of the oldest fairs in France, which fills the town with its rides, games, and regional food.
Travelers with an interest in French history will find Sens' part in the Hundred Years' War and its ties to historical figures like Louis IX interesting. Despite its impact on French culture, Sens remains quiet, providing a genuine experience without the common tourist crowds.
- Sens is only about 100 km (62 miles) southeast of Paris, making it a convenient day trip by train.
- Consider visiting in early June to catch the Foire de Sens.
- While in Sens, taste the local specialty, gougères, cheese puffs that go well with Burgundy wine.
- Be sure to visit the Palais Synodal next to the cathedral, which has a long history as a former church court.