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Top 10 places to visit in Burgundy, France

Burgundy, in the heart of rural France, is famous for its elegant chateaux, celebrated wine and delicious food. The landscape is one of rolling hills covered in forests of oak, maple and pine and where spring, summer and autumn each leave a unique signature. Medieval towns are surrounded by unspoilt countryside and the wonderful markets have stalls brimming with fresh local products cultivated on the fertile plains. Château de Tanlay The château at Tanlay, one of the finest in Burgundy, was built in the 15th and 16th centuries and has a beautifully-decorated interior. Ensconced in a series of moats, arcades and iron grills, the château is actually a petit château and a grand château, all surrounded by a park. Chateau de Tanlay Dijon Dijon is a modern, growing city with a well-designed boat harbor. It is the center of Côte d’Or and was the ancient capital of Burgundy in the 14th and 15th centuries. Visitors can wend their way through the narrow streets of the old quarter and may be drawn to the city’s numerous museums; the Ducal Palace, which opens onto the square; the Parliament Building; and the 13th century Cathedral St-Bénigne, with its Romanesque crypt. Dijon Beaune Beaune is one of the best preserved medieval cities in the region. Until the 14th century, Beaune was the residence of the Ducs de Bourgogne. In 1477 it was annexed by Louis XI. First a Gallic sanctuary and then a Roman town, Beaune is now a mecca for wine lovers. This thriving town is surrounded by ramparts and has a labyrinth of caves (wine cellars). Beaune Chablis On the banks of the River Serein, Chablis is a pretty little village. Called the “Golden Gate” of Burgundy, it is famous the world over for its white wines. Visitors enter through the turreted towers of the Porte Noël gateway, opening on to narrow stone streets and houses dating from the 14th to 16th century. Chablis Châteauneuf-en-Auxois Châteauneuf-en-Auxois is a tiny, charming, hilltop town, well worth the climb up the steep path. This romantic and fascinating village is like a miniature Carcassonne, with its turreted castle, its encircling walls, and its elegant houses once belonging to rich merchants. The château, built in the 12th and 15th centuries, affords a broad view over the rolling farmlands, with a view of the Canal de Bourgogne and the woodlands of the Morvan. Chateauneuf en Auxois Clos de Vougeot Clos de Vougeot is one of the largest vineyards in Burgundy. The Château de Clos de Vougeot is a small château built to house the wine presses needed by the Cistercian monks to make wine for their masses (the religious ceremonies, not the unwashed). The château is now the seat of Burgundy’s most sophisticated wine lovers, the Confrérie des Chevaliers du Tastevin. Chateau du Clos de Vougeot Abbey at Fontenay The Abbey at Fontenay was founded in 1118 by St-Bernard. Situated at the bottom of a remote valley, this large Cistercian monastery near Montbard is noteworthy for its rather simple, austere style and its no-frills architecture. Having been ravaged and abandoned during the French Revolution, and later serving time as a paper factory, the Abbey has been so carefully restored that it is now the most complete remaining medieval monastery. Abbaye de Fontenay Château Commarin Château Commarin has been in the hands of the same family for more than seven centuries. This once fortified castle, built in 1346, was transformed in the 17th century and again in 1702. Today two large towers and a small chapel are the only 14th century structures that remain. Chateau de Commarin Auxerre At the junction of the Canal du Nivernais and the River Yonne, Auxerre is a beautiful city and a pleasant port, with elegant buildings gracing its waterfront. Auxerre was an important spiritual center and a big market town for timber and wine. AUXERRE Vézelay Vézelay is an historic hilltop town in the Cure Valley and a Christian shrine. It was the site of the Call to the Second Crusade by St-Bernard in 1146. During the Middle Ages it was a major pilgrimage site and a special stop on the way to Compostella. Pilgrims still stop here on their way to St-Jacques-de-Compostel. The imposing Roman Basilica of Ste-Madeleine (12th – 13th century) is perched high above the “eternal hill”. The interior, with its immense Christ in Glory, is one of the greatest Romanesque works of art in the west. VEZELAY Chris Gant is Marketing Manager at European Waterways Ltd.. If you would like to be a guest blogger on A Luxury Travel Blog in order to raise your profile, please contact us.

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  1. I’m heading to Burgundy in a few weeks – such a beautiful corner of Europe and a trip to Clos de Vougeot is well and truly on the cards!

    1. Mark,
      Wondering if you could outline some things to do in Burgundy since you have obviously been there by now……
      Love all the pics and explanations in the article.

    2. Sandy,
      by all means follow everyone to Clos Vougeot. You would enjoy Beaune’s Hospice and opposite the Athenaeum shop, best wine book shop in the world and more besides. Lots of bistro places to eat, ask at the tourist office, the value is not in the town centre though Having said that Maison du Colombier is a good but busy. haunt for winemakers with great food. La Dilettante is a short walk off the ring road along the Chalon Road and has a great wine selection and friendly owner. Try to see the Saturday maket there to. Sunday’s market in Chagny to the south is more real though. Get a good map and take the vineyard roads, not the N974. Go to Meursault get a picnic and find a nice spot.
      South of Chagny, Bouzeron has a great rest for lunch, Rully, Mercurey, Givry and Montagny are all worth exploring. Its a much more friendly and relaxed place.
      Jasper Morris’s i book “Inside Burgundy has good maps pics but only on Côted’Or. There are good walks through the vineyards and villages, but bring your own food! Corton Hill just N of Beaune is a famous vineyard and you can stock up at the mini-market and adjacent bakery and buy local honey before going up the hill right behind. Evenings, if you have transport, try Auberge de vieux vigneron in Corpeau Jean-Charles is a great host and speaks excellent English. Terroir in Santenay is good and several places in Meursault are a good fall back. Best to ring first and get anywhere before 8pm.
      I could go on !
      have a great time.

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