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Famous figures


The tradition assures that Hercules, during his conquests, stopped in Gaul before going to Italy. In the Mandubiens land (currently Auxois), besides the fact that he founded Alesia, he discovered a site located in higher altitude, where soldiers came to practice wrestling, discus, racing and jumping. The winner won a crown of Ache (plant similar to parsley),a plant widespread in the region and named by the Greeks Semurion (town library, historical report about Semur-en-Auxois by Marquis de Thyard).

La Marquise du Châtelet

Born in 1706, Emilie de Breteuil received the chance to study sciences with her brothers who had private tutors. It was however a male privilege ! She also attended meetings held by her parents. She got married to Florent du Châtelet and discovered at the same time Semur-en-Auxois. She took over the family residence Châtelet, and met friends of her husband’s family.

She kept her interest in sciences, and took part in the debate which divided Descartes and Newton supporters. She supported Newton, and translated his work entitled “Principes mathématiques”into French.

She lived both in Semur-en-Auxois and Paris, where she went out meeting many people, in literary salons, or philosophic cafés such as “Le Procope”. In 1733, she met Voltaire, and it was a real love at first sight both sentimental and intellectual. Voltaire and her had the same interests in science.

Emilie was the woman who meant the most to Voltaire. Did Voltaire came to join Emilie in Semur-en-Auxois. Today, nothing can prove it but the inhabitants of Semur like to think that he did…

Gabrielle SUCHON

Daughter of the king’s prosecutor at Semur-en-Auxois, she was placed when young in the Jacobin convent of the city. She ran away from there and would have made the trip to Rome in order to be released of her vows. Her family appealed against this decision to the Parliament of Burgundy. Despite that she had to go back to the convent. She lived in Dijon as a school teacher and published two written works in 1693 and 1700 in which she claims a freedom as single person, and refuse the religious aspect as well as the marriage.

Jean-Jacques COLLENOT

Lawyer, one of the founder of the sciences Society of Semur, he is at the origin of the Museum Geology gallery, and was its curator. Follower of Charles Fourier works, democrat, he was second commissioner of the republic in May 1848. He militated all his life for social reform based on the citizens association, with the formula “travail, capital et talent” (work, capital and talent), in order to create a more harmonious society. In 1891, the city recognized all his work by giving his name to the museum street.

Augustin MOUCHOT

Son of a locksmith, he became doctor in sciences after studying in Semur and then to in the faculty of Dijon. He was mathematics professor at the Alençon high school and then at Tour. He was interested in different ways to use solar energy to cook food and also to create thermic machines. He received the Gold medal at the universal exhibition of 1878, chevalier of the Legion of Honour, but nevertheless, died in the misery after having married his Parisian landlady.