Travel Guide Europe France Tonnerre



Tonnerre is a small city in the department of Yonne in northeastern France. In 2009, it is the starting place of the 11th Stage of the Tour de France. It has roughly 6500 inhabitants and is a great town to spend a day and night on your travels through the Bourgogne region. It's location along the Burgundy Chanel is fascinating.

It is very easy to find good wine in Tonnerre as the city straddles France's most famous wine regions—Burgundy and Champagne-Ardenne. In the last century, Tonnerre's wine gained recognition and was produced in plenty, but unfortunately a grape attacking pest (Phylloxera) and a few years of unfavorable weather nearly killed the town's wine industry. The city dwellers showed courage and overcame the problem and started replanting since the 1970s and today the area can be proud of its 600 acres of vineyards and four appellations. These wines are of excellent quality, but remain little known outside the region, as a result of which good wine can be found here for reasonable prices. One place which is worth visiting is the Abbaye du Petit Quincy, which not only offers exceptional wines, but also cooking classes, wine tasting and even musical concerts.

For more information about the town you can check the official Tonnerre tourist website.



Sights and Activities

  • The Eglise Saint-Pierre, which has some beautiful stained glass windows. The church was originally built in the 11th century and rebuilt several times before becoming a local monument.
  • Old city center with remarkable buildings, statues and fountains. Sometimes, fountains and statues are one and the same.
  • Vineyards, with famous wines like Pinot Noir and white Chardonnay. It's also close to the famous Chablis.
  • Fosse Dionne: a famous pool
  • Hotel Dieu: medieval hospital




Tonnerre, like much of the Bourgogne, has a mild climate with generally warm, sunny and dry summers from June to September. Temperatures average between 22 and 27 degrees Celcius most days, while nights average 12 to 14 degrees Celcius. Winters from December to March are between 4 and 8 degrees during the day and just above zero at night, though occasional frost and snow are not unheard of. Precipitation is evenly distributed throughout the year with somewhat wetter conditions from October to April, though summers can have heavy downpours as well.



Getting There

By Plane

There is no airport very near to town, but your best bet is to fly to Paris, from where it's just a 1,5 hour drive along good roads. Check the Paris article for more information about getting there and away. Another airport with lots of flights is Geneva in Switzerland, about 2,5 hours away.

By Train

There are direct TGV trains to and from Paris, so that's a just a short half hour ride away.

By Car

The town is roughly located halfway between Paris and Dijon, a short drive away from the highway A6, leaving the highway near Auxerre at exit 20. The A5 is north of the town near the city of Troyes.



Getting Around

Tonnerre is a small city and the best way to explore and soak in the culture of the town is on foot. Numerous walks are available leading to the beautiful countryside. Bicycles can be also be hired to discover the treasures of the countryside.




For example at the Abbaye Saint Michel (see link below at the sleep section). There is a fine restaurant here.






Keep Connected


France is one of the best connected countries in the world, with data speed for upload/download ranked among the top 5 in the world. Most hotels and hostels would have in-house facilities to provide free internet access. Many major cities also have initiatives put in place to provide free wi-fi connection in public spaces. Alternatively there are internet cafés available in most cities/towns at a reasonable rate. Some private businesses, such as local cafés (or even the Starbuck's chain), may also provide wi-fi connectivity - keep an eye out for the signs by the shop windows/doors. Also look for the @ symbol prominently displayed, which indicates internet availability. However, with most homes now wired for the internet, cyber cafés are increasingly hard to find, especially outside the major cities.


See also: International Telephone Calls

To dial an international number from France, the IDD is 00, followed by the country code that you wish to dial, the area code and the phone number.
To call France from abroad, start with the international direct dialing (IDD) code from the country you're in, followed by French country code 33, the area code (drop the first zero in front of the area code), and the phone number. French telephone numbers are rarely given without the area code. The telephone number, including the area code, is made up of 10 digits. They are written in a set of 5 pairs of digits (i.e. 01 xx xx xx xx xx).
In France, the area code designations are: 01 - Paris Area ("Région Ile-de-France"), 02 - northwest, 03 - northeast, 04 - southeast, 05 - southwest, 06 - mobile phone providers. From 2010 onwards, 07 will also be assigned to mobile phone providers in order to cater for the surging demands for mobile phones.

Emergency numbers are 15 (medical aid), 17 (police station) and 18 (fire/rescue). You can also use the European emergency number 112 (perhaps a better choice if you don't speak French). These calls are free and accessible from virtually any phone, including locked cellphones.

France uses the GSM standard of cellular phones (900 MHz and 1800 MHz bands) used in most of the world outside of the U.S. There are several companies (Orange, SFR, Free, Bouygues Télécom and some others MVNOs like Virgin Mobile) offering wireless service. The country is almost totally covered but you may have difficulties using your mobile phone in rural or mountainous areas. If you stay for some time, it may be advisable to buy a pre-paid cell phone card that you can use in any phone that supports the GSM standard on the 900/1800 MHz bands. Then incoming calls and SMSes are free.


La Poste in France is also referred to as the PTT (short for postes, télégraphes et téléphones). The mailboxes are painted bright yellow and often there is a slot for local city mail and another slot for "outside mail". Normally there is a queue in the post office, but most of the post offices have the self service machine installed which is quite easy to operate. Nowadays many of the tabac and even some of the souvenir shops also sell postage stamps. Normally an overseas postcard costs almost as much as sending a letter. Mails sent in France also have a zip code. The first two numbers represent the administrative department (e.g. in Paris' case that would be 75).

Post offices are generally open from 8:00am to 7:00pm Monday through Friday, and 8:00am to noon on Saturdays. Apart from the basic job of mailing letters, most of the post offices do some banking activities also and some even have photocopy machines and cyber cafes for internet access.

For international package services, you might also check options with companies like DHL, UPS or TNT, which have competitive services and prices and might be faster in most cases.


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This is version 8. Last edited at 15:25 on Nov 20, 15 by Utrecht. 1 article links to this page.

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