Burgundy has worldwide reputation for its vineyards. The Burgundy region produces both white wines and red wines from several variety grapes growing on about 28 000 ha throughout the region, on 250 kms from north to south. The best-known wines are made from Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes, based around Beaune in the Côte d'Or. Other well-known viticultural parts of Burgundy comprise Beaujolais, Chablis, Côte Chalonnaise, and Mâcon, while in the East near the Loire there are vineyards of Pouilly. "Grands crus", famous all over the world are: Côte de Nuits (Clos-Vougeot, Gevrey-Chambertin, Nuits-Saint-George) and Côte de Beaune (Aloxe-Corton, Pommard, Meursault, Puligny et Chassagne-Montrachet, Santenay).
A number of culinary specialities from Burgundy have now made international fame.
They include Gougère, Oeufs en Meurette, Jambon persillé and Escargots de Bourgogne (snails) as starters , Coq au vin, Bœuf bourguignon, Fondue bourguignonne, Poulet de Bresse (chicken), Charolais beef, as mains. Dijon mustard is well known all over the world. Burgundy is also a cheese making area with famous types such as Epoisses, Saint-Florentin, Brillat-Savarin, Chaource.
Burgundy Leisure and Festivals
Traditional folk Burgundians dances, called " bourrées", and folk songs, accompanied by the hurdy gurdy or the accordion, are inspired by past daily life, including the themes of vineyard, farming, love and family.
The end of the Burgundian grape harvest is celebrated annually with great festivities and all sorts of local events. The "Hospices de Beaune" Wine Auction takes place in November in Beaune and is one of the most famous traditional charity auctions in the world.
Places of interest in Burgundy
Burgundy Castles retrace the region's past such as the Château de Commarin, the impressive Château de Bussy-Rabutin, the medieval Château de Guédélon, the Italian inspired Château d'Ancy-le-Franc, the imposing Château de Tanlay, the Chateau de Bazoches, the Chateau de Sully, the splendid Chateau Cormatin, the Château de Pierre-de-Bresse.
Some picturesque medieval villages are also not to miss like : Flavigny-sur-Ozerain with delightful architecture, Nolay with its covered market, Noyers-sur-Serein with half-timbered houses , Montréal seating on the crest of a hill, Semur-en-Auxois, Châteauneuf-en-Auxois and Brancion.
Several villages in Burgundy are voted as "France’s most beautiful villages" not only because of their architecture and but also because of the way their inhabitants bedeck them with flowers, particularly Chateauneuf en Auxois and Flavigny-sur-Ozerain in Côte-d'Or, Semur-en-Brionnais in Saône-et-Loire, Noyers and Vézelay in Yonne
Archaeology and early History
Dijon Archeology Museum is home of treasures going back to the beginnings of Burgundy. Escolives Sainte Camille has a rich archaeological heritage .D’arcy and St More caves have some of the oldest and finest cave paintings in France and the cave at Azé is the second most important prehistoric cave site in Burgundy. The strange, precipitous rock called Solutré is such an important site that it gave its name to a whole Paleolithic period.
The imposing site of Alésia is extremely famous because it is where Vercingétorix, leader of the Gauls, was defeated by Caesar and where the giant statue of the Gallic warrior stands on a hillside with panoramic views over the valleys.
The route to Santiago de Compostela in northern Spain has been an important pilgrim way for centuries. There are four main routes through France, and one begins at Vézelay in Burgundy , where the basilica dedicated to Ste-Madeleine, is one of the principal treasures of the area. All along the route there are religious points of interest such as: Cluny Abbey, Fontenay Abbey, St. Philibert’s Abbey, the Cathedral St-Lazare, the Hospice de Beaune( this famous medieval building has an amazing multi-coloured roof), Citeaux Abbey and Pontigny Abbey.
As many as 400,000 pilgrims a year also come to Paray-le-Monial to its Sacré-Coeur Basilica, making it one of the great pilgrimage centres of Christianity.
Burgundy accounts for many museums such as: the Musée de l’Aventure du Son (tracing the history of sound), Musée Colette (the "scandalous" native writer from Burgundy, author of Gigi), Musée des Beaux Arts (which houses a collection of fine paintings and sculptures),the Musée de la Résistance tracing the Resistance Movement in the Second World War, the Musée of Celtic Civilisation, the Motor Museum (sports cars,motor bikes and model planes).
To explore the vineyards of Burgundy, the Wine Routes offer several intineraries crossing pretty wine villages and about 280 wine producers between Dijon and Beaune: the Route du Mâconnais, the Route de la Pierre et du Vin between Beaune and Cluny.