I have never seen anything like Chateauneuf en Auxois. Yes, I have seen some pretty unbelievable and picturesque places (the Trinity Library in Dublin, the Island of Burano near Venice, and Cappadocia Turkey come to mind), but Chateauneuf was truly something out of a fairytale or Disney movie.
Emily and I decided to stop at this provincial walled hill town, complete with castle and moat, on our drive from Provence to the Loire Valley. After three days in stunning Provence we were skeptical if anything could live up to our exceptions. But this tiny little village, basically frozen in time, was the perfect place to stop for lunch and stretch our legs.
As we walked through the town, Emily and I just kept asking each other if this place was actually real. We must have taken a thousand photos each, but we both lamented that we just could not capture the essence or charm of it in a photo (this of course didn’t stop us from trying).
The town does not boast a lot of sights. It does, however, have several delicious little places for lunch and one pretty adorable medieval castle you can explore. The castle, or Chateau de Chateauneuf, was originally built in the 12th century. As fairytale castles go, it has everything from a moat and towers to a drawbridge. Sadly the last heiress of the castle, Catherine de Chateauneuf, was convicted of poisoning her second husband and burnt alive for the crime. I have tried to find more on this story, but there does not seem to be much available online. Perhaps a future research project… But I digress. After Catherine, the chateau passed from noble family to noble family. Today it is owned by the state and is a protected historical site.
While I would not devote a ton of time to this town, it is certainly worth a stop to grab lunch and explore the castle.