Beyond the Montbard hills, the picturesque village of Flavigny-sur-Ozerain stands atop its rocky spur. Its abbey, narrow medieval streets and ramparts all bear witness to past grandeur and today it’s classed as one of France’s most beautiful villages with a renowned sweet-making tradition – but did you know it was also used as the setting for the 2000 film Chocolat starring Johnny Depp and Juliette Binoche?
Flavigny was formerly an Auxois stronghold on which the Gallo-Roman period, the rise of Christianity in Europe and the royal power of the Renaissance have all left their mark.
Julius Caesar was thought to have set up one of his military camps on the hill here before defeating the Gallic army at Alésia. Make a beeline for the St-Pierre abbey, where the town’s ‘Anis de Flavigny’ sweets are made in a dozen different flavours from blackcurrant to violet, and continue a tradition begun at the time of King Louis IX. Recent archaeological activity has uncovered a hexagonal chapel and ambulatory in an extension to the Sainte-Reine crypt, and there’s a lovely walk around the ramparts with their round towers, affording fine views across the Auxois hills. In summer, the ‘Musicales en Auxois’ baroque music festival takes place in this delightful setting.