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A landscape shaped by old castles and palaces in the midst of wine growing regions
Post from 26/08/2011

Wine, walking and World Cultural Heritage

When talking of Burgundy most people think of excellent wines, regional products and culinary delights. Visits to restaurants, cookery courses with master chefs and preparation of fresh produce from the weekly market are a must for every hobby gourmet and lover of French cuisine. Nature enthusiasts and active holiday makers appreciate the vast landscape with its large forests and clear rivers which are ideal for hiking, cycling and paddling. For historians and those interested in culture Burgundy is one of Europe’s most history-charged regions. The historically meaningful places and religious sites can be visited to this day. Burgundy’s capital Dijon is around 300 kilometres away from Paris and not even 200 kilometres away from Lyon. Some French view the "Bourgogne" merely as a transit region. However this by means does not do justice to this remarkable region.

And what do you think of Burgundy? Are you looking to spend a vacation in this unique region in the heart of France? Then we recommend one of our more than 130 holiday houses as a starting point for your discovery tours.

“Bon appetit et large soit” – favourite recipes of the Burgundy cuisine

“Bon appétit and large thirst” is the dining salute in Burgundy which is famous for its large portions. In contrast to the olive oil cuisine of the south in Burgundy butter and cream are used very generously. Therefore the recipes are very rich and aromatic. Typical dishes of this long-standing cuisine with its rural roots are Escargots a la bourguignonne (escargots in herbed butter), Boeuf bourguignon (beef in red wine) or Coq au Vin (chicken stewed in wine). Many of our holiday houses have a fully fitted kitchen where one can prepare all these dishes with fresh regional products. The holiday home in Rouvray for example does not only come with an oven but also with a fondue and raclette set – ideal for a long dinner.

Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Aligoté and Gamay – a glass Burgundy wine

Burgundy world famous for its wines.
Enjoy a glass of Burgundy

Already in 1855 Napoleon discovered Burgundy as one of the most important wine regions. The original red Burgundy wines, some of the world’s best Chardonnays and the sparkling wine Crémant de Bourgogne originate in wine-growing areas such as Côte de Nuits, Côte de Beaune, Côte-d'Or or Chablis. In the Early Middle Ages monks discovered the nutrient-rich soil and started cultivating the land. The hillsides in Gran Crus- and Premier Crus-terroir are now regarded as the most revered and treasured in the country. A totally different type of wine experience is a grape juice bath in an original wine tub which you could try out in the spa centre of Meursault.

Mustard, cheese, truffles – regional delicacies

The region though is not just famous for its wine but a number of other products are equally popular and sought after. The renowned Dijon mustard can not only be purchased from delicatessen but also directly from the local mustard producers. One of them being Boutique Maille in Dijon. It was founded in 1777 and has specialised itself in the production of innovative mustard and exclusive vinegar variations. A quite interesting visitor program awaits you in Beaune at the factory Fallot. Did you know that alone 27 types of cheese originate from Burgundy? Two of the cheese dairies where you can view the production process are Gaugry in Brochon and Berthaut in Epoisses. Old oil mills for nut and vegetable oils are also worth a visit with them spread across the South of Burgundy. If you are looking for something more exquisite then the truffle market in Noyers-sur-Serein each Sunday should entice you and while there indulge in some Burgundy truffles. Whilst in the region it is also an absolute must to visit one of the weekly markets. We recommend the traditional market in Chalon-sur-Saône, the poultry market in Louhans or the stores of farms near Nievre.

Landscape dominated by agriculture

A castle as a holiday home - Object 16375 in Voutenay-sur-Cure
Holiday home vacation in a castle

Picturesque vineyards which provide a varied beautiful array of colours throughout the year and lovely blossuming mustard fields shape the landscape of Burgundy. Many of the accommodations you can book on atraveo are in a quiet location in the midst of an idylic landscape. Most of the properties are rustic country houses or renovated chalets that previously were part of a farm. Typical features in such properties are ceilings with wooden beams and partly visible natural stone walls as are a terrace and open fireplace. A special place to stay you can find in Voutenay sur Cure (close to Morvan), where you can spend your vacation in a castle. 13 rooms as well as a swimming pool and golf course are available for exclusive use. In Oigny (close to Dijon) there is a holiday house for 4-5 people, which is a tower of a former brickswork factory and it has been carefully restored. A holiday home vacation is ideal for this region as it is easier to discover the enchanted villages and rural communities of Burgund. The extensive cycling routes and canal provide those holidaymakers seeking an active vacation with lots of individual recreational options.

Hiking trails through the vineyards and Morvan

From Dijon to Nuits Saint-Georges the Sentier Batier takes you over a limestone plateau towards the south und offers a spectacular view towards the vineyards. One of the best vantage points towards the vineyards and mountains of Morvan as well as the lowlands of Auxoi you have from the tiny village of Châteauneuf-en-Auxois which is situated between Dijon and Autun.
The Morvan is an extension of the Massif Central and its highest elevation is 901 metres. It stretches from Quarré-les-Tombes in the north and St-Honoré-les-Bains in the south and is covered with oak, beech and coniferous forests. The mountain landscape of Morvan is known for its tranquillity and seclusion. The nature park with the same name offers a range of longer and shorter hiking paths and routes suitable for different demands. Maps with hiking routes can be obtained from the organisation of French hikers, Federation Francaise de la Randonnee Pedestre (FFRP) but they are only available in French. As a hiker in Burgundy you can also follow in the footsteps of St. James pilgrims is you set off on a hike from Joigny go passed Yonne and Cure.

Discovery tours with the bicycle, by horse or on a boat

Hike along the route of Grands Crus
Hiking routes through the wine growing areas in Burgundy

Not only hikers are welcome on the routes in the Nature Park Morvan. Both cylists and riders will be able to benefit from the extensive recreational offers and many activities such as riding trips can be booked in an uncomplicated manner locally. The routes are well signposted take you past canals through vineyards and passed castles. One good starting point could be the village Vézelay that is one of the most beautiful places in France and offers a splendid views of the river valley Cure. In the wine growing region Mâconnais close to the town of Mâcon there is a further cycle route that takes you passed an impressive landscape and cultural highlights.
Boat tours offer you a unique way to explore Burgundy. The rivers Saône, Seine, Yonne and Loire all flow through this region are connected to each over with canals. One of the most popular waterways is the Canal de Bourgogne in the rural community Montbard.

Churches, monasteries and cultural monuments

The former hospital Hôtel-Dieu with its colourful tiled roof
Colours of wine as a tiled roof in Beaune

In Burgundy there are a number of important historical places and grand sacred medieval buildings. The most significant religious places are the Abbey of Cluny that celebrated its 1,110 Birthday in 2010 and is regarded as the centre of the western monastery reform movement. The Cistercian Abbey of Fontenay dates back to the 12th century and is one of the oldest in Europe. This abbey has like the Basilica of Vézelay and a masterpiece of Romanesque architecture with lavish sculpture decorations been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. A further old Cistercian compley is the Abbey Church of Pontigny north of Auxerre. Towards the east there is the former priory Vausse in Tonnerrois. This monastery impresses with its solid construction of the arcades and is hidden away in the national forest.
In the medieval town of Charité-sur-Loire you can see the Priory Church that is a further testament of Romanesque architecture. The past history can be seen in many villages which have to this day medieval castles like for example Guédeleon, Chateauneuf-en-Auxois or Brancion. But the larger towns in the region can also point to a similar heritage. Especially the capital Dijon can be recommended with its Gothic cathedral Saint Bénigne and ducal palace. The circular route Parcours de la Chouette takes visitors past all main attractions. The historic centre of Chalon-sur-Saône, the waterside promenade of Tournus, the former hospital „Hôtel-Dieu“ in Beaune with its colourful tiled roof that is supposed to reflect the colours of wine and the timber houses in Mâcon are also worth a visit.

Vacation in a country house in Burgundy
Vacation in a country house in Burgundy

Do you enjoy tasty French food, good wine and are seeking to find an idyllic village in order to unwind and exercise in beautiful nature? Then visit Burgundy and find the suitable holiday home property on atraveo for your vacation.