Auxerre's population today is about 39,000. Residents of Auxerre are referred to as Auxerrois. Auxerre's metropolitan area comprises roughly 92,000 inhabitants.
It is a commercial and industrial centre, with industries including food production, woodworking and batteries.
In 1995 Auxerre was named "Town of Art and History".
Auxerre was a flourishing Gallo-Roman centre, then called Autissiodorum, through which passed one of the main roads of the area, the Via Agrippa (1st century CE) which crossed the Yonne River (Gallo-Roman Icauna) here. In the third century it became the seat of a bishop and a provincial capital of the Roman Empire. In the 5th century it received a Cathedral. In the late 11th-early 12th century the existing communities were included inside a new line of walls built by the feudal Counts of Auxerre.
Bourgeois activities accompanied the traditional land and wine cultivations starting from the twelfth century, and Auxerre developed into a commune with a Town Hall of its own. The Burgundian city, which became part of France under King Louis XI, suffered during the Hundred Years' War and the Wars of Religion. In 1567 it was captured by the Huguenots, and many of the Catholic edifices were damaged. The medieval ramparts were demolished in the 18th century.
In the 19th century numerous heavy infrastructures were built, including a railway station, a psychiatric hospital and the courts, and new quarters were developed on the right bank of the Yonne.
Up until recently, Auxerre was one of the most prosperous cities in the country.