One of the most beautiful villages in France
Exploring Noyers sur Serein, it is easy to see why it has been called “one of the most beautiful villages in France.”
Located on the Serein River, not far from Chablis and Auxerre, entering the village makes you feel like you have walked into a medieval fairytale.
The village was originally founded just before the Roman conquest. The medieval fortress dates back to the 12th century. The village has successfully withstood numerous sieges, wars and revolutions throughout the ages.
Nineteen of the original 23 towers surrounding the ramparts remain today.
Once you enter through one of the original fortified gates and towers, you can stroll through the streets, taking advantage of a self-tour guide to soak in the historic ambience of the village.
The medieval fortress still features many traditional colombage and stone houses lining the cobblestone streets.
The well preserved 15th century village makes you feel like you have stepped back into the medieval ages.
The village is so unspoilt, you wouldn’t be surprised to see a Burgundian knight emerging from one of the houses. You can imagine the sound of a minstrel in the gatehouse, or of rowdy revellers in the village inn.
There is a surprise around every corner as you explore the chalky streets.
Half-timbered houses bend under the weight of centuries. The quaint and somewhat lopsided buildings look like something out of a fairytale book.
Ornate public buildings dating back as far as the 12th century are decorated with carved gargoyles.
As you explore the village, you can see the restoration and even the original building methods used. It is amazing that these timber, mud and stone have withstood the test of time.
As well as a former fortress, the village has a long established agricultural and wine growing history. Cellar doors enable visitors to sample the local Chablis wines.
Cafes in the village squares provide a shady place for a relaxing refreshment, where once the villagers would have met.
Noyers is a quintessential French country village. Here we were able to purchase our meat, cheeses and bread for dinner from the small stores which still service the village.
Strolling along the river
Outside the ramparts, a stroll along the riverside takes you past gardens bursting with spring.
Vines, and flowers cascade down the ancient stone walls. It was amusing to see modern technology, such as TV antennae sprouting from the chimney stack of medieval buildings.
It also gives you another perspective of of the castle ruins and the many ancient buildings on the village perimeter.
The crumbling remains of the original castle can be found at the end of the village. Walking back up the hill and into the village, you could see the methods used to make the dry stone walls, which are currently under restoration.
As we explored the village, we took in the aromas of the local chartucerie, boulangerie and patisserie. We gathered supplies for a sumptuous French picnic with local delicacies back at our chateau that evening.