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Burgundy

Burgundy sits at the heart of France and has played a major role in the country’s history and culture for centuries. Its rich, fertile soils produce some of the most sought-after wines in the world while the region’s cities display a variety of styles of art and architecture reflecting hundreds of years of tastes and trends. Whether you prefer a laid-back holiday with gentle strolls through the cobbled streets and vineyards that dot the area, or a more fast-paced getaway full of adventure and exploration, you’re guaranteed a totally unforgettable experience. 
 
The culture of Burgundy revolves wholeheartedly around food and wine, making it a destination not to be missed by foodies and vino lovers. One of the highlights of the Burgundian calendar is the annual charity wine auction held every November in Beaune – an event akin to Munich’s Oktoberfest in which street stalls selling snacks and drinks, and live music overwhelm the usually quiet town for three or four days. 
 
The vino-centric culture of the region extents to the point that the ancient vineyards of Burgundy are listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and more Burgundian wines are designated AOCs than in any other French wine region, meaning they cannot be produced anywhere else. Even the signature foods of the region are laced with the stuff, from the succulent coq au vin to the rich and flavourful boeuf bourguignon
 
For history buffs, Burgundy is a treasure trove, featuring dozens of medieval abbeys, basilicas and cathedrals thanks to the region’s heritage as the heartland of the Duchy of Burgundy – a territory which once stretched from the Netherlands to the Mediterranean and was a driving force of European culture and art throughout the middle ages.
 
Throughout the countryside you’re sure to be struck by the region’s timeless beauty, with rolling hills carpeted in vineyards and forests that simply burst with life. The atmosphere is one of peace and tranquillity from the hillsides to the cobblestoned town centres, yet there’s still plenty to do if you like a holiday of adventure. Cycling and hiking trails abound, particularly in the picturesque Morvan National Park in the south, and the whole family will fall in love with the views and sights to be seen. 
 
Whatever your idea of the perfect getaway, Burgundy will surely meet all your expectations and more. Whether you like to take it easy and leisurely browse quaint boutiques and cafés, or explore historic and beautiful monuments until your feet are sore, you will certainly be satisfied. If walking holidays are your thing, you could hardly pick a more idyllic location. Looking for a foodie heaven? You’ve found it in Burgundy. 
 
WINGED BOOTS WISDOM

Burgundy’s rural character means there’s not a huge amount of public transport in the region. Major centres are connected by train, but many of the smaller sites are much less accessible – to make the most of your visit, talk to one of our travel advisors about hiring a car to make your holiday run smoothly. 


 
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Good to know

  • Time difference: UTC +1
  • Capital: Dijon
  • Currency: EUR
  • Instagram Opportunity: Hôtel-Dieu de Beaune

Best Time To Travel

Average Temperatures
Jan: 3°c   Feb: 4°c   Mar: 8°c  
Apr: 13°c   May: 17°c   Jun: 20°c  
Jul: 23°c   Aug: 26°c   Sep: 18°c  
Oct: 14°c   Nov: 7°c   Dec: 4°c  

Location

Burgundy In A Nutshell

Tastes To Try 
 
  • Burgundy is one of the most iconic of Europe’s wine regions, producing a range of excellent tipples both red and white. Running through the region is the Côte d’Or – a limestone ridge responsible for the exquisite tastes of the dozens of wines, including Chablis, Beaujolais, Gevrey-Chambertin and Meursault. The finest and most expensive wines come from the Côte de Nuits and the Côte de Beaune in the north of the region, where you’ll find 24 of the 25 Grand Cru designated wines and the highest density of AOC products of any wine region in France. The centuries old vintners’ techniques and vineyards in the region have earnt their designation as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, so you’d certainly be a fool to not try one or two or twelve of the range of tipples on offer here. 
     
  • It’s not just wine that makes Burgundy an absolutely unmissable destination for those who appreciate the finest flavours – the cuisine on offer is equally exquisite. World famous dishes such as coq au vin and boeuf bourguignon originated in the region, as you could probably guess from the abundance of vino used in their preparation. Gourmet tastes can be found all over, with 29 Michelin starred eateries in the wider Burgundy area, using the finest beef from Charolais cattle alongside a myriad of locally produces cheeses, pâtés and sausages.
     
  • Two more iconic creations of the Burgundians are vibrant Dijon mustard and the delicious Kir – a refreshing aperitif made with crème de cassis (blackcurrant liqueur) and white wine. No meal in this region would be truly complete without featuring these tastes in some capacity. Dijonnaise specialities are made by mixing the rich mustard with verjus – the juice of freshly-pressed grapes – to create a lively and smooth sauce certain to liven any dish. Crème de cassis can also be mixed with Champagne to create the delightful Kir Royale – a popular party cocktail the world over.  
     
Soak Up The Culture 
 
  • With a history dating back more than 2,000 years, Burgundy is a region rich in culture and replete with monuments from all eras. In the city of Beaune, you can find the Hôtel Dieu – a hospital built in the 1440s that continued to treat patients right up until the 1980s! Its distinctive polychrome roof tiles are known as toits bourguignons; they’re an iconic symbol of the region and can be found on many of its historic buildings including Dijon Cathedral, the military college at Autun and La Rochepot Castle.  

     
  • Monuments to the region’s steadfastly Catholic past can be found all around Burgundy. In the south sits the Abbey of Cluny – once the largest abbey in all Christendom – and to the north west you can visit the quaint village of Vezelay which features a disproportionately gigantic basilica due to its history as a major centre of pilgrimage. In Autun the lavish cathedral boasts an exceptional 12th-century tympanum carved by Gislebertus, which presents scenes from the Last Judgement in exquisite detail. In Fonteney sits an abbey founded by the infamous St. Bernard of Clairvaux in 1118 which is still the largest Cistercian abbey in the world, as well as a UNESCO World Heritage Site – one of five in the region. 
     
  • The historic Hôtel Dieu in Beaune also features an annual charity wine auction – one of the most prestigious events in French oenology – which occurs alongside plenty of street fairs, live music, dances and of course food. Taking place in November every year since 1859 it’s France’s answer to Oktoberfest, where iconic French delicacies are served from street stalls and cafés along with gallons of wines and brandies that are certain to totally immerse you in the atmosphere of merriment. 
     
  • A particular treat for the whole family guaranteed to capture imaginations of all ages is a visit to Chateau de Guedelon – a medieval-style castle built using traditional techniques and materials but started in just the 1990s! With giant saws and axes, and an intricate series of ropes and pullies a dedicated team of enthusiasts have been working on the castle since 1997, and expect to have it complete by 2023. Head along and watch the artisans at work, and witness a wealth of other medieval activities, including bread-making, pottery and wood-turning. Find out how a 14th-century flour mill works, or witness a blacksmith hard at work keeping the builders’ tools in shape. It’s a fantastic and unique day out that you’ll certainly never forget. 
     
  • For a nautical adventure book yourself a day on a péniche – a small motored barge used to navigate Burgundy’s rivers and canals. Experience the historic town of Auxerre from the water and have a relaxing picnic on the riverbank in the quaint village of Vaux. A fun and exciting activity that will certainly engage every holidaymaker from the youngest to the oldest. The Nivernais Canal and River Yonne traverse stunning countryside and picturesque towns and villages, so if you want to experience the beauty of nature and see some of Burgundy’s most Instagram-worthy locales then don’t miss out on this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. 
     
  • To the south west of Burgundy lays the Morvan National Park – a glorious region of protected hills, lakes and woodlands. Criss-crossed by hiking trails and replete with tranquil reservoirs and groves it’s the ideal destination for a day out with all the family, offering plenty of opportunity for adventure and frolic. The tiny villages that dot the landscape are also a heartland for some of the traditional music of France, and you’ll probably hear instruments from bagpipes and fiddles to the vielle-à-roue, or hurdy-gurdy, as well as witness the traditional dance of the region – the bourrée



     
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