For other uses, see Sens (disambiguation).

City Hall of Sens

Coat of arms

Coordinates: 48°11′51″N 3°17′16″E / 48.1975°N 3.2877°E / 48.1975; 3.2877Coordinates: 48°11′51″N 3°17′16″E / 48.1975°N 3.2877°E / 48.1975; 3.2877
Country France
Region Bourgogne-Franche-Comté
Department Yonne
Arrondissement Sens
  Mayor (2014–2019) Marie-Louise Fort
Area1 27.86 km2 (10.76 sq mi)
Population (2006)2 26,646
  Density 960/km2 (2,500/sq mi)
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
  Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
INSEE/Postal code 89387 / 89100

1 French Land Register data, which excludes lakes, ponds, glaciers > 1 km² (0.386 sq mi or 247 acres) and river estuaries.

2 Population without double counting: residents of multiple communes (e.g., students and military personnel) only counted once.

Sens (French pronunciation: [sɑ̃s]) is a commune in the Yonne department in Bourgogne-Franche-Comté in north-central France, 120 km from Paris.

Sens is a sub-prefecture and the second city of the department, the sixth in the region. It is crossed by the Yonne and the Vanne, which empties into the Yonne here.


The city is supposed to have been one of the oppida of the Senones, one of the oldest Celtic tribes living in Gaul. It is mentioned as Agedincum by Julius Caesar[1] several times in his Commentarii de Bello Gallico. The Roman city was built during the first century BC and surrounded by walls during the third. It still retains today the skeleton of its Roman street plan.[2] The site was referred to by Ammianus Marcellinus as Senones (oppidum Senonas) but it did not become an administrative center until after the reorganization of the Roman Empire in 375, when it was the chief town of Lugdunensis Quarta.

During the Middle Ages, its archbishops[3] held the prestigious role of primates of Gaul and Germany. The Hôtel de Sens in Paris was their official residence in that city. The Archdiocese of Sens ruled over the dioceses of Chartres, Auxerre, Meaux, Paris, Orléans, Nevers and Troyes.

Starting from 1135, the cathedral of Sens, dedicated to Saint Stephen, was rebuilt as one of the first Gothic cathedrals. There, in 1234, Louis IX of France celebrated his wedding to Marguerite of Provence. Sens witnessed the trial of Peter Abelard. Pope Alexander III sojourned for some time in the city, and there also Thomas Becket spent part of his exile between 1162 and 1165. The Archdiocese of Sens hosted a number of church councils.

Sens experienced troublesome times during the Wars of Religion.

The city declined after Paris was elevated to archdiocese in 1622.

Main sights

Notable people

Twin towns

See also


  1. The manuscripts of the Gallic War also give varied readings of Agendicum and Agetincum (William Smith, ed. A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography); the gilded statue of "Brennus" ("leader") surmounts the hôtel de ville.
  2. Its Cardo (rue de la République) and Decumanus Maximus (Grande Rue) still meet at near right angles.
  3. The bishop of Sens perhaps became an archbishop as early as the mid-5th century, but the cult of the traditional founders Savinian and Potentian, not mentioned by Gregory of Tours, did not appear until the 8th century, when they were added to the local recension of the Seventy Apostles. (Catholic Encyclopedia: Sens).


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