Cadet Roussel
©Josette Laliaux
Local personalities

Portraits from here

Auxerre and its region welcomed many famous people who left their mark in the Auxerre landscape: scientists, thinkers, artists, writers, sportsmen …

Here are some of them.

The creatives

Marie Noël

Born in Auxerre in 1883, Marie Noël was one of the great poetesses of the 20th century, admired by Valéry, Montherlant, and Aragon. She was awarded the Grand Prize for Poetry by the Académie Française in 1962, and was even appointed an Officer of the Legion of Honour. At her death in 1967, she bequeathed her works to the Yonne Department Society for Historical and Natural Sciences, which manages and studies her work through several publications.

Restif de la Bretonne

Born in 1734, Restif de la Bretonne took an apprenticeship with a printer in Auxerre and later at the Imprimerie Royale. He began writing in 1767 and from then on he wrote more and more. He started printing his own books in 1791. Imagination, sensuality and verve are found in his descriptions of the people around where he lived most of the time: the peasants, the workers, the petty bourgeoisie … The Revolution ruined him and he sold his printing works and became a proofreader until his death.


Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette, known simply as Colette, was born on January 28, 1873 in Saint-Sauveur-en-Puisaye. A woman of letters best known for her novels (the Claudine series), she was also a mime artist and journalist. She was only the second woman to be elected as a member of the academy Goncourt in 1945 and of which she was president between 1949 and 1954.

Georges Hosotte

Born in Paris in 1936, Georges Hosotte moved to Irancy in 1964. Antral Prize, Honorary Member of the Fine Arts of Brussels, Knight of Arts and Letters, medallist of the city of Paris, he worked mostly in oil, pencil, watercolour, and lithography. Many private exhibitions and monographs have been dedicated to him.

You can view his works at the Georges Georges HOSOTTE Art Centre , in the Chapelle de Bailly in Saint-Bris-le-Vineux.


François Brochet

Born in 1925, he is a sculptor of polychrome wood carvings, including the famous “Massacre of the Innocents”. We also find his signature works in the streets of Auxerre with the statues of other famous people of the city: Cadet Roussel, Marie Noël and Restif de la Bretonne.

The eccentric

Cadet Roussel

His real name was Guillaume Joseph Roussel, and was called “Cadet” because he was the middle child of the family. Born in 1743 in the Jura region, he settled in Auxerre in 1763 as a domestic and a lackey, then became a bailiff’s clerk. He then bought a position and became a
bailiff himself. Come the Revolution, Cadet Roussel became a Jacobin. One of his political enemies, the Chevalier Chenu du Souchet, composed the famous song to mock him. That song was adopted as a marching song by the soldiers of the Revolution in 1792.
” Eccentric and crazy figure, he left an imprinted memory of its stay in Auxerre! ”
« Cadet Roussel has 3 houses …»



Paul Bert

Born in Auxerre, Paul Bert specialized in zoology and physiology and became a member of the Academy of Sciences in 1882. Member of Parliament and then Minister of Public Instruction, he played an important role in the development of major school rules and fought against religious education. One can see his statue on the Paul Bert Bridge which dominates the panorama of the city.


Joseph Fourier

Born in 1768 in Auxerre, Joseph Fourier remains to this day a mathematician and physicist known for his many equations and mathematical discoveries. By studying the propagation of heat, he discovered the trigonometric series called “Fourier series”. Many of today’s technological applications come from Joseph Fourier’s mathematical tools, including mobile phones, MRI, radar, tide prediction, DNA observation … his name is among the 72 names of registered scientists on the 1st floor of the Eiffel Tower.



L’Abbé Deschamps and Guy Roux

Very often, when we say “Auxerre”, it is the football club that springs to mind … For more than 30 years in League 1, this world-famous club has the distinction of being the only private national club, created by a man of the Church: Abbé Deschamps. Born in 1868, he was the founder of the Auxerroise Youth Association in 1905, better known under the acronym AJA, hence the name of the famous football stadium Abbé-Deschamps where AJ Auxerre play. A great ambassador of the city, the region and its traditions, the name AJA is also closely associated with Guy Roux, its legendary team coach for almost 40 years!