The Burgundy region of France
Burgundy, or Bourgogne in French, is just southwest of Paris and easily accessible by road, rail or river. You can fly to Lyon, one hour away by train or Paris, ninety minutes away by train. Hotels and bed and breakfasts are numerous all over the region and cater to a variety of different budgets.
It is one of the largest wine growing regions in France, most famous for the wines of the same name, as well as several other important varieties. The Côte d'Or comprises an almost unbroken line of vines from Dijon to Santenay, about thirty miles in length. Famous Burgundian dishes include coq au vin, boef bourbignon garlicky snails as well, of course, as Dijon mustard. There are thirty-two restaurants with Michelin stars, including four with three stars, in Burgundy.
As well as its fine wines and gastronomy, Burgundy is also notable for its architectural heritage. There are numerous historical sights. Norman abbeys, châteaux, ducal towns and charming villages show off Burgundy’s glorious heritage. To be truly impressed with the scenery you may want to take a ride with one of the several hot-air balloon companies.
Dijon is the capital of Burgundy and home to the Palais des Ducs, which houses the Musée des Beaux-Arts, sometimes called Le Petit Louvre. Nevers lies on the banks of the Loire and overlooking the River Yonne, Auxerre makes a good base for visiting other locations.
If you prefer outdoor activities, Burgundy offers numerous possibilities. Walkers have nearly four thousand miles of paths, allowing them the opportunity to discover various aspects of the region. It’s also possible to discover the small roads through the vineyards by biking or horse-riding. Another way to visit this region is to rent a barge on the Burgundy Canal. The canal connects the Atlantic ocean to the Mediterranean via the rivers Yonne and Seine to the river Saône and Rhone. Hotel barges are also available offering haute cuisine, and the best wines from Burgundy's vineyards.
For those interested in history, a visit to the medieval city of Vézelay is essential. The Ste-Madeleine Basilica there dates from 878 and in 1190 Richard the Lionheart and Philippe-Auguste, king of France, met here to launch the Third Crusade. Other major historical sites are the medieval hospitals in Beaunes and Tonnerre.
Although primarily attractive to wine lovers and gastronomes, Burgundy has much, much more to offer, with its beautiful scenery and historic sites.