Highlights of Burgundy
When you visit the Burgundy wine region you are going to experience far more than world-famous vineyards. This a land of great and proud traditions, of heritage and history, nature and landscapes, winegrowers and traditions, gastronomy and the inimitable Burgundian art de vivre. So as you explore the vineyards you will at the same time “drink in” all the other treasures of the region.
– from terroirs of world repute to humble local plots and parcels, the vineyards of Burgundy are very accessible and welcoming.
The impressive 9th-century Romanesque hilltop Benedictine abbey church of Sainte-Marie-Madeleine. According to legend, not long before the end of the first millennium a monk brought relics (bones) of Mary Magdalene to Vézelay. Vézelay Abbey was also a major starting point for pilgrims to Santiago de Compostela, one of the most important of all medieval pilgrimage centres. This was crucially important in attracting pilgrims and the wealth they brought to the town. A recommended visit.
Ancient towns and commercial centres are full of interesting buildings and history. Typical is Chatillon-sur-Seine, a delightful town with parks, walks and historical sites. You can spend a rewarding afternoon in such places.
Abbey of Fontenay
The region was one of the major centres of Christianity in Europe and has a legacy of churches, abbeys and priories. Fontenay is a 12th-century monastery which was founded by Saint Bernard of Clairvaux in 1118, located in a small forested valley 60 kilometres north-west of Dijon. It is one of the oldest and most complete Cistercian abbeys in Europe, and became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1981. Highly recommended - one of the best!
Historical wine villages
The real charm of Burgundy is in the small old villages, nestling in the middle of the vines, with stone houses, old churches, and restored lavoirs, which have not changed significantly for generations. Favourites are Monthelie, Volnay, Aloxe-Corton, Clos Vougeot
- Burgundy has over 1000 kilometres of canals including the Canal of Burgundy (Canal de Bourgogne). The canal is 242 km long, with 209 canal locks. The canal connects the Atlantic Ocean to the Mediterranean Sea via the Yonne and Seine to the Saône and Rhône. Barges transport goods along the river. House boats and canal barges are available for hire.
Burgundy has more than its share of chateaux and typical is Chateau d'Époisses - This is an ancient fortress surrounded by a double fortification enclosing 15th-century houses, a rare dovecote and a 13th-century church. It is also surrounded by a beautiful flower garden.
The ancient capital of Burgundy, which retains a large part of its original city walls. The Charity Hospital (Hotel Dieu) founded in 1443 is one of the most visited tourist attractions in France. Also see the 15th-century home of the Dukes of Burgundy, which now houses the wine museum.