Many elegant mansions line rue Carnot. N°41 was a former 18th century post house called «La Maison des Sept Têtes» (House of Seven Heads) on account of the mythological faces sculpted on the facade dating. Next, at number 43, stands the Bargemen’s Harbour Masters Office, its balconies making it distinctively stand out from neighbouring houses. Behind these houses, and stretching far along the River Yonne, are the huge warehouses that bear witness of the former extent of trade in Villeneuve. In rue de Valprofonde you will notice a beautiful attic window dating from the first half of 19th century. The initials of the Carpenters’ Guild Brethren motto: T.V.U.G. are engraved on it. The initials stand for Work – Virtue – Union – Spirit.
On the south gate of the ancient fortress, a small four towered square gate house was built. Its plan probably dates from the late 13th century. Its many windows and slate roofs, topped by gilded lead spikes were added in the 16th century. Parts of the exhibits of the Museum of Villeneuve are now housed here.
On the second floor, you can visit the «Knights’ Room», where temporary exhibitions are held. The room offers a view overlooking Villeneuve, its old roofs and monuments. Next to Joigny Gate, at number 2 rue Carnot, you can visit the Museum Art Galleries, including paintings and sculptures from the l9th and the 2Oth centuries.
This North gate is almost identical to Joigny Gate at the South of Villeneuve. Not many alterations were made to it during the Renaissance period. Its portcullis has recently been restored, together with the remains of its immediately adjoining walls. The entire archaeological and historical collections of the Museum of Villeneuve’ will progressively be housed within its walls.
Villeneuve’s Town Hall, next to Sens Gate, was formerly a private home dating from the 18th century. It was built on the vestiges of the town’s ramparts by a rich Army contractor. Outside, you can take a walk through its shady park which leads down to the banks of Yonne River. There you will also see the ruins of “Rousson Tower”, one of seven original cylindrical defence towers along the walls. You may also enjoy a stroll along the former moat, now arranged in gardens with a running stream and the consolidated ruins of another tower set in the surrounding walls.
You will see behind the three portals of an unfinished Renaissance facade designed by Jean Chereau, one of the most magnificent gothic buildings of the Yonne area. Notre-Dame de l’Assomption was built in the first half of the l3th century and completed with added chapels during the 14th and l5th centuries. Inside Notre-Dame Church (daily access through the entrance on rue Pierret). The nave, a fine example of ogival design, has no transept and is 213 ft long, 3O ft wide and 66 ft high. The sides chapels were built over the course of three centuries (13th to 16th centuries). Great care and attention were given to the construction as every architect respectfully followed the original style created by the first master builders. Visitors will be charmed by the various ornamental elements bearing witness to different periods of French history. In the right aisle of the church, you will see a 16th century stained-glass window featuring episodes of the Virgin Mary’s life, and also a «Virgin Mary holding a Bird» dating from the 14th century. The Chapel of Saint Nicholas, patron saint of bargemen has a stained-glass window dating from the l6th century and mural paintings from the I7th century which telling the story of the saintly bishop’s life. In the centre of the chancel, there is a splendid 16th century stained-glass window of the “Tree of Jesse”. The church also has a noteworthy l4th century statue of the Ecce Homo and a realistic l4th century wooden Christ.
This massive 7O ft stone tower was the keep of the former royal castle. Sometimes mistakenly called «Tour Louis le Gros», it actually dates back to the very beginning of the l3th century and was built for King Philippe Auguste.
It stands high on a truncated glacis, l2 ft thick walls opened sparingly here and there, its immense ranged multi-coloured stone blocks adding to the tower’s medieval charm. You can still make out the brace marks for the scaffolding used during its construction.
Thanks to two drawbridges, this impregnable keep once opened both inside, as well as outside the surrounding walls. Its inner ogival vaults collapsed at the end of the 18th century.