City Hall of Sens
City Hall of Sens
Flag of Sens
Coat of arms of Sens
Location of Sens
Sens is located in France
Sens is located in Bourgogne-Franche-Comté
Coordinates: 48°11′51″N 3°17′16″E / 48.1975°N 3.2877°E / 48.1975; 3.2877
CantonSens-1 and 2
IntercommunalityCA Grand Sénonais
 • Mayor (2022–2026) Paul-Antoine de Carville[1][2]
27.86 km2 (10.76 sq mi)
 • Density970/km2 (2,500/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+01:00 (CET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+02:00 (CEST)
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.
Inside the cathedral of Sens, Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, c. 1874

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 largest city of the department, the sixth largest in the region. It is crossed by the Yonne and the Vanne, which empties into the Yonne here.


The city is said 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[4] 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 (notable parts of the walls still remain, with alterations along the centuries). It still retains today the skeleton of its Roman street plan.[5] The site was referred to by Ammianus Marcellinus as Senones (oppidum Senonas), where the future emperor Julian faced an Alamannic siege for a few months, 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 held the prestigious role of primate of Gaul and Germany. The bishop of Sens 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.[6] 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, summarized by the acronym CAMPONT. This city was conquered by a Muslim army in 725 AD, but was abandoned quickly after the death of the commander of the army, Anbasa ibn Suhaym al-Kalbi, from natural causes.

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 Thomas Becket spent part of his exile between 1162 and 1165. The Archdiocese of Sens hosted a number of church councils and the first Archbishop of Uppsala was consecrated there. William of Sens was the principal architect of Canterbury Cathedral.

Sens experienced troublesome times during the Wars of Religion. In 1562, 100 of the town’s Huguenot population were killed in the Massacre of Sens.[7]

The city declined after Paris was elevated to archdiocese in 1622. Since 2002, Sens remains an archbishopric (though the incumbent has resided in Auxerre since 1929?)[citation needed] but with no metropolitical function (no pallium or marriage appeals).

Despite the creation of new regions, Sens remains subject to the Paris cour d'appel.


Historical population
YearPop.±% p.a.
1793 10,957—    
1800 9,165−2.52%
1806 8,675−0.91%
1821 8,718+0.03%
1831 9,279+0.63%
1836 9,095−0.40%
1841 10,099+2.12%
1846 10,525+0.83%
1851 10,645+0.23%
1856 10,845+0.37%
1861 11,098+0.46%
1866 11,901+1.41%
1872 11,514−0.55%
1876 12,309+1.68%
1881 13,515+1.89%
1886 14,035+0.76%
1891 14,006−0.04%
1896 14,924+1.28%
YearPop.±% p.a.
1901 14,962+0.05%
1906 15,007+0.06%
1911 15,034+0.04%
1921 15,311+0.18%
1926 16,172+1.10%
1931 17,465+1.55%
1936 17,783+0.36%
1946 17,329−0.26%
1954 18,612+0.90%
1962 20,015+0.91%
1968 23,035+2.37%
1975 26,463+2.00%
1982 26,602+0.07%
1990 27,082+0.22%
1999 26,904−0.07%
2007 25,844−0.50%
2012 25,106−0.58%
2017 25,935+0.65%
Graphs are unavailable due to technical issues. There is more info on Phabricator and on
Source: EHESS[8] and INSEE (1968-2017)[9]
Sens Cathedral

Main sights

Notable people

Figure of William of Sens in Vienna
Portrait of Augusta Hure


Bacary Sagna, 2012

Twin towns

See also


  1. ^ Paul-Antoine de Carville sera le prochain maire de Sens, France Bleu, 3 October 2022.
  2. ^ "Répertoire national des élus: les maires" (in French)., Plateforme ouverte des données publiques françaises. 6 June 2023.
  3. ^ "Populations légales 2021" (in French). The National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies. 28 December 2023.
  4. ^ 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.
  5. ^ Its Cardo (rue de la République) and Decumanus Maximus (Grande Rue) still meet at near right angles.
  6. ^ Goyau, G. (1912). "Sens". Catholic Encyclopedia. New Advent. Retrieved November 14, 2021.
  7. ^ Carroll, Stuart (2012). "The Rights of Violence". Past & Present. Supplement 7: 142.
  8. ^ Des villages de Cassini aux communes d'aujourd'hui: Commune data sheet Sens, EHESS (in French).
  9. ^ Population en historique depuis 1968, INSEE
  10. ^ Rose, John Holland (1911). "Bourrienne, Louis Antoine Fauvelet de" . Encyclopædia Britannica. Vol. 4 (11th ed.). pp. 333–334.
  11. ^ "Thénard, Louis Jacques" . Encyclopædia Britannica. Vol. 26 (11th ed.). 1911. pp. 759–780.