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The blog is about places where we have stayed and been able to pursue our main activities of walking & cycling. It is not intended as a guidebook or detailed description of places which we have visited.

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Roman History in Autun

FrancePosted by normanbaker Sat, November 24, 2012 18:59:56

We were on our way from Chalon sur Saone to cycle the Burgundy Canal when we decided to take a detour for a bit of culture.

We stopped at the excellent ex municipal site, just outside of the town but committed the cardinal error of arriving at lunchtime but never mind, we filled up at the spacious motorhomeservice point, so no tricky reversing and then found ourselves a very spacious pitch, surrounded by hedges and overlooking the meadow and the town at the back. We settled down to lunch and met the warden afterwards and settled up, all very relaxed as is so common in France. No rules and regulations to contend with and at 19 euros a night with EHU and very clean sanitary facilities, who can argue.

A short walk from the site takes you across the Roman river crossing to the Porte d'Aroux and to the entrance of the Roman garrison town of Augustinium.

A circular walk from this bridge,takes you to the other river crossing and the other impressive Roman ruin, 'The Temple of Janus'

To visit the town, you have to retrace your steps and go back through the Roman gate; do not be put off by the 15 minute walk through the outskirts of the town which are promisingly unimpressive.

You soon arrive in the attractive historical square, the main shopping area, which is a good spot for refreshments and chilling.The pattisseries and chocolate shops are definitely worth stopping for. A short walk up takes you to the equally impressive St Lazarus cathedral, apparently his relics are in the cathedral. There are some very atmospheric restaurants in the high town. The town also has a very impressive Roman theatre,which can be reached by signpost from the high town. Unfortunately when we were there, it was the subject of a somewhat plasticky French Spectacle, plastic gladiators and chariots but the town has to make its money somewhere. You continue to walk down to the other well preserved if somewhat altered Roman gate, Porte St Andre. After you have negotiated the town outskirts you will find the town is very appealing and soon grows on you, it is reasonably compact yet at the same time having plenty to occupy you. If you do want to stay free, the town does have an aire, at the top of the town and the town is certainly worth a visit, not just for its well preserved Roman walls and remains, though they are undoubtedly a big attraction.

St Lazarus cathedral from the excellent 'municipal' site on the outskirts of town

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