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Auxerre - 111.jpg
The Palais épiscopal in Auxerre, which houses the prefecture of Yonne
Flag of the Department of Yonne.svg
Blason departement fr Yonne.svg
Location of Yonne in France
Coordinates: 47°48′N3°34′E / 47.800°N 3.567°E / 47.800; 3.567
Country France
Region Bourgogne-Franche-Comté
Prefecture Auxerre
Subprefectures Avallon
   President of the Departmental Council Patrick Gendraud [1] (LR)
  Total7,427 km2 (2,868 sq mi)
 (2021) [2]
  Rank 70th
  Density45/km2 (120/sq mi)
Time zone UTC+1 (CET)
  Summer (DST) UTC+2 (CEST)
Department number 89
Arrondissements 3
Cantons 21
Communes 423
^1 French Land Register data, which exclude estuaries and lakes, ponds and glaciers larger than 1 km2

Yonne (French: [jɔn] ) is a département in the Bourgogne-Franche-Comté region in France. It is named after the river Yonne, which flows through it, in the country's north-central part. One of Bourgogne-Franche-Comté's eight constituent departments, it is located in its northwestern part, bordering Île-de-France. It was created in 1790 during the French Revolution. Its prefecture is Auxerre, with subprefectures in Avallon and Sens. Its INSEE and postcode number is 89.


Yonne is Bourgogne-Franche-Comté's fourth-most populous department, with a population of 335,707 (2019). [3] Its largest city is its prefecture Auxerre, with a population of about 35,000 within city limits and 68,000 in the urban area.


The first evidence of occupation in this area is found in the Grottes d'Arcy-sur-Cure, where paintings have been found dating back 28,000 years. The Palaeolithic hunter-gatherers of that time also left behind numerous flint artefacts. The area is believed to have been occupied for about 200,000 years. [4] By 4000 BC, a wave of Neolithics arrived from the Danube River region of eastern Europe. They built substantial wooden houses and introduced pottery decorated with the characteristics of the Linear Pottery culture. Further waves of migrants followed, the Chasséen culture, and the Michelsberg culture. [5]

The Celtic tribe in the area were named "Icauna", after the River Yonne which they thought sacred. The region was later occupied by Gallic tribes. In that period, the area came under the control of the Roman Empire, whose chief town was Sens, which they called Agendicum. It was the capital of their province of Gallia Lugdunensis, one of four provinces into which France was divided.[ citation needed ] The present main roads from Lyon to Boulogne, and from Sens to Alise-Sainte-Reine date from this period. About this time, Auxerre, Tonnerre (Tornodurum) and Avallon were growing in size. In the fourth century, Sens became a walled city. The first bishops were appointed in Sens and Langres, and they influenced the region profoundly because of their power.[ citation needed ]

In 1771, the north-westerly part of the present department belonged to Prince Francis Xavier of Saxony, the uncle of Louis XVI of France. The current Yonne department was organized and defined during the French Revolution, on March 4, 1790, as a result of the passing of an Act on December 22, 1789. [6] It was carved out of parts of the provinces of Burgundy, Champagne and Orléans, and to a lesser extent from parts of the Nivernais and Île-de-France.


Map of Yonne Carte de l'Yonne.svg
Map of Yonne

Yonne is a department in central France, one of the eight constituent departments of the region of Bourgogne-Franche-Comté. To the northeast lies the department of Aube, to the east lies Côte-d'Or, to the south lies Nièvre, to the west lies Loiret and to the northwest, the department of Seine-et-Marne. The River Yonne flows northwards through the department. Auxerre, the capital of the department, is situated on the River Yonne, and the River Serein joins this a few kilometres north of the city. The Canal de Bourgogne, which connects the Mediterranean Sea with the Atlantic Ocean, joins the River Yonne through locks at Migennes a little further north. The second biggest town is Sens, situated at the confluence of the rivers Vanne and Yonne. [7]

The geology of the department is complex with concentric rings of granite, Jurassic, Cretaceous and Tertiary rocks, and layers of sedimentary rocks. The terrain is mostly a low-lying plateau used for agriculture. The southwestern part is the Puisaye, which has a higher elevation and is more wooded. To the centre and east, the land inclines to the northwest where the higher land of the Tonnerrois region lies. To the east the rock is mostly limestone. The Auxerrois region is renowned for the grapes grown here, which are used in the production of Chablis wine. To the south lies the mountainous massif of Morvan, the highest parts of which are in the neighbouring department of Nièvre. [7] The department has some forested areas but is mainly used for pasture or cultivated for wheat. [8]

Principal towns

The most populous commune is Auxerre, the prefecture. As of 2019, there are 6 communes with more than 5,000 inhabitants: [3]

CommunePopulation (2019)
Auxerre 34,451
Sens 26,688
Joigny 9,557
Migennes 7,258
Avallon 6,462
Villeneuve-sur-Yonne 5,165


Population development since 1801:

Historical population
YearPop.±% p.a.
YearPop.±% p.a.
source: [9] [10]


Over fifty percent of the inhabitants of the department are engaged in agricultural activities. Yonne is one of the poorest and most rural departments in France. During the hundred years leading up to 1962, its population declined by around 100,000, while all of the surrounding departments experienced population growth. Yonne had been bypassed by the development of the railways. As French industry flourished elsewhere in the late nineteenth century, the young people left Yonne seeking better opportunities, and the department stagnated.[ citation needed ]

The viticulture industry was severely affected by the advent of powdery mildew and the arrival of Phylloxera in the nineteenth century; at the same time, the development of the railway network allowed cheaper wines from other regions to undercut Chablis wine in the Paris market. The once-thriving industry never recovered. [11] By 1945, only 4000 hectares of grapevines remained, and only 471 hectares of grapes were grown for Chablis. [8]

More recently, the population trend has been reversed. During the period 1999 to 2007, it rose by 8000 to a total of 341,418. However, with a population of 46 inhabitants per square kilometre, the density in Yonne is still less than half that for the whole of France, which was 100.5 for the same year. [12]


The president of the Departmental Council is Patrick Gendraud, elected in 2017. In 2015, the General Council of the department was allotted a budget of 410 million euros. [13]

Current National Assembly Representatives

The department elects three members of parliament to the National Assembly. In the 2012–17 parliamentary term, two represented the right-wing Union for a Popular Movement (UMP) and one the Socialist Party (France) (PS).

ConstituencyMember [14] Party
Yonne's 1st constituency Daniel Grenon National Rally
Yonne's 2nd constituency André Villiers Horizons
Yonne's 3rd constituency Julien Odoul National Rally


See also

Related Research Articles

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Nièvre</span> Department of France

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Saône-et-Loire</span> Department in Bourgogne-Franche-Comté, France

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Auxerre</span> Prefecture and commune in Bourgogne-Franche-Comté, France

Auxerre is the capital (prefecture) of the Yonne department and the fourth-largest city in the Burgundy historical region southeast of Paris. Auxerre's population today is about 35,000; the urban area comprises roughly 113,000 inhabitants. Residents of Auxerre are referred to as Auxerrois.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Arrondissement of Sens</span> Arrondissement in Bourgogne-Franche-Comté, France

The Arrondissement of Sens is an arrondissement of France in the Yonne department in the Bourgogne-Franche-Comté region. It has 118 communes. Its population is 131,368 (2016), and its area is 1,916.8 km2 (740.1 sq mi).

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Avallon</span> Subprefecture and commune in Bourgogne-Franche-Comté, France

Avallon is a commune in the Yonne department in Bourgogne-Franche-Comté in central-eastern France.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Arrondissements of the Yonne department</span>

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  1. Arrondissement of Auxerre, with 170 communes. The population of the arrondissement was 165,987 in 2016.
  2. Arrondissement of Avallon, with 135 communes. The population of the arrondissement was 43,189 in 2016.
  3. Arrondissement of Sens, with 118 communes. The population of the arrondissement was 131,368 in 2016.

The following is a list of the 21 cantons of the Yonne department, in France, following the French canton reorganisation which came into effect in March 2015:

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Irancy</span> Commune in Bourgogne-Franche-Comté, France

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The Departmental Council of Yonne is the deliberative assembly of the French department of Yonne in the region of Bourgogne-Franche-Comté. It includes 42 departemental councillors from the 21 cantons of Yonne, elected for a term of six years. It is chaired by Patrick Gendraud (LR).


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  2. "Téléchargement du fichier d'ensemble des populations légales en 2021". The National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies. 28 December 2023.
  3. 1 2 Populations légales 2019: 89 Yonne, INSEE
  4. B. Schmider (1984). CRDP de l'Académie de Dijon (ed.). L'Yonne, un département: Le paléolithique supérieur dans l'Yonne. ISBN   2-86621-043-3.
  5. Claude Mordant (1984). CRDP de l'Académie de Dijon (ed.). L'Yonne, un département: Le néolithique dans l'Yonne. ISBN   2-86621-043-3.
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  7. 1 2 Philips' Modern School Atlas. George Philip and Son, Ltd. 1973. p. 43. ISBN   0-540-05278-7.
  8. 1 2 Baxevanis, John J. (1987). The Wines of Champagne, Burgundy, Eastern and Southern France. Rowman & Littlefield. p. 89. ISBN   978-0-8476-7534-0.
  9. "Historique de l'Yonne". Le SPLAF.
  10. "Évolution et structure de la population en 2016". INSEE.
  11. J. Robinson (ed) "The Oxford Companion to Wine", Third Edition, pg 148–149, Oxford University Press, 2006 ISBN   0-19-860990-6
  12. "Les résultats des recensements de la population". Insee. Retrieved 2015-09-22.
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  14. Nationale, Assemblée. "Assemblée nationale ~ Les députés, le vote de la loi, le Parlement français". Assemblée nationale.