After the Siege of Alesia (the ‘oppidum’ on a neighbouring hill) and the departure of the Roman armies, Julius Caesar’s veteran general, Flavinius, was given some land on the hill, where the settlement of Flavianiacum was built shortly after, which is now Flavigny-sur-Ozerain.
The village also owes its origin to a Benedictine abbey founded there in 719 by Wideradus, son of Corbon, Chief of the Burgundians (a Germano-Scandinavian people), then renovated in the 15th century by Quentin Ménard, Archbishop of Besançon and a native of Flavigny. The monks’ daily life revolves around the Rule of Saint Benedict written by Benedict of Nursia in the 6th century, sharing their time between prayer, manual work and intellectual work.
Classed as one of the « Loveliest Villages in France » the fortified centre grew up on the hillside around the 8th century Carolingian abbey. Its medieval story is told by its walls, fortified gates, narrow winding, cobbled streets and fine stone-built houses and mansions typical of Côte d'Or.
Walk around the quiet village and admire the three fortified gates, ramparts, ancient shop fronts, bourgeois residences, watchtower and craftsmen’s houses once occupied by tanners, oil manufacturers, millers, tinsmiths, glass makers, weavers and wine-growers.
Village life was thus shared between agriculture, local inhabitants and the church, illustrated by major buildings which include the Benedictine Abbey of Saint-Pierre, the parish church of Saint-Genest (9th and 15th centuries), an Ursuline convent (1632), a Dominican novitiate set up by Père Lacordaire (1848) in the former residence of the Grand Bailiff of l’Auxois plus the Hôtel (mansion) du Marquis de Souhey, Governor of Flavigny, now the seat of the Benedictine Abbey of Saint-Joseph-de-Clairval.