Simply mentioning the name Burgundy conjures up images of superb wines, as well as vineyards that stretch as far as the eye can see. This central region of France is home to many well-known grape varieties and produces crisp white Chablis, great reds and the Pouilly-Fumé. As a result, wine lovers will enjoy tasting the more famous wines of the region, not-to-mention exquisite produce from the smaller vineyards that are dotted across the countryside.
Burgundy, however, is so much more than a paradise for wine lovers. Nestled between the Loire and Sâone rivers, Burgundy is a rich tapestry of landscapes and tradition. The rolling countryside, largely blanketed by vineyards, is a patchwork of hills and valleys, grassy plateaux, rivers and streams, while pretty towns, spectacular scenery and wonderful walking country ensure plenty to see and do. The historic capital of Burgundy, Dijon, is famed for its mustard and crème de cassis.
Situated right at the heart of the Burgundy countryside, Beaune is a charming and attractive provincial town, with a wine museum depicting the history of the vineyards and ornate ancient buildings with brightly coloured tiled roofs. Once the residence of the Dukes of Burgundy, Beaune displays a regal splendour that makes it one of the most striking places in the region to explore. Be sure to visit the 15th Century hospital (Hotel-Dieu) with its breathtaking facades. Explore the Collegiate Church of our Lady and spend a while in the Burgundy Wine Museum. You will also discover many cellars whilst walking around Beaune. The Marché aux Vines have almost thirty wines to try.
Perhaps just as famous as the wines of Burgundy, Dijon, the historic capital of the region, is globally renowned for its culinary specialities, most famous of which is its mustard. An important university town, Dijon is elegant and imposing. The interior of Dijon is decorated with numerous monuments celebrating glorious events in Dijon’s rich history. Must-sees are the 17th Century Palace of the Dukes, the Musée des Beaux-Arts (Fine Arts Museum), the 151ft high (and 316 steps) Philip the Good’s Tower and the Law Courts Quarter.
With ancient ramparts and old-world charm, Vézelay truly is a jewel in the crown that is Burgundy. Nestling on the edge of the Morvan Hills and offering superb views, this peaceful town oozes tranquillity and beauty. As home to the Basilica of St Mary Magdalene, it also provides the chance to see architecture dating back as early as the 9th Century. The old town of Vézelay is an eclectic mix of twisting streets, intricate doorways and mullion windows. While the Promenade des Fossés provides a wonderful outlook over the surrounding countryside.
Covering more than 250 kilometres and taking two centuries to complete, Le Canal de Bourgogne once played a major role in confirming the destiny of Burgundy as a major region of France. Helping connect Northern France to the Mediterranean, the canal features hundreds of locks and has become a popular destination for pleasure trips.
Roughly 40 miles long by 30 miles wide, the Morvan National Park offers plenty of space for adventure. With rivers and lakes, the park is ideal for fishing, canoeing, windsurfing and yachting. While the sheer beauty of the countryside makes Morvan a haven for walkers and cyclists.
Located in the middle of the Forêt d’Orient, Nigloland is a small but pleasant theme park that’s situated just off the A5 near Troyes. Ideal for younger visitors, but also featuring some white-knuckle rides, Nigloland also features a 60-metre high big wheel.
Hire a bike in nearby Beaune (if you haven’t brought your own) and follow the 22km trail back to Santenay. Along the way you’ll pass through many pleasant villages, as well as through numerous vineyards, plenty of opportunity to stop for refreshments or a picnic. The route is largely flat and with no steep inclines, so suitable for all abilities.
All year round, you can visit the cellars located in the town of Santenay for a tour and of course a tasting. Tours cost around €5 per person (price may vary).
Built on a series of terraces overlooking the River Yonne, Auxerre is a particularly attractive town that has a pretty pleasure-boat harbour (if you can, allow time for a boat trip), surrounded by shaded streets and medieval houses. Easily the most imposing building in Auxerre is the Gothic Cathedral of St Stephen. The town’s 15th Century clock tower (The clock itself is a mere whippersnapper, dating back to only the 17th Century!) and the Leblanc-Duvernoy Museum, with its magnificent tapestries, are also worth visiting.
Set in the grounds of a 16th century château, this attractive parc is ideal for an overnight stop and longer stays too.
The perfect opportunity to have a second Keycamp holiday!
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