It doesn’t get much better for wine lovers than a visit the Burgundy region of France. The self proclaimed “land of fine art and living” is much more than a wine region in central France. In the minds of many wine aficionados, Burgundy produces the world’s most drinkable wines in the world.
A trip to Burgundy is a step back in time. The Romans and the Celtics lay claim to have sculpted the towns and villages of Burgundy. With a concentration of Romanesque abbeys, and graceful vineyards, you have an ideal French vacation. Green hedges in a countryside setting, medieval villages, and of course, stellar vineyards. Savor Burgundy, its palate is to be savored. Raise a toast in Dijon, visit medieval provinces of Vezelay, Sens, Auserre, and magnificent Cluny.
The physical boundaries of La Bourgogne begin to the southeast of Paris and to the north of Lyon. It is divided into four regions, the Yonne, the Côte d’Or, the Saône et Loire and the Nievre, each area unique in tradition, landscape and history. The traditional cuisine is rich and tasty, which can be enjoyed at a very affordable price in many of the small traditional restaurants in villages and towns; whilst the gastronomic restaurants with the highest standards and Michelin stars can be found in all the corners of Burgundy..
The beautiful medieval village of Vezelay
It was the Romans who introduced wine to the region as they progressed on their conquests through the northern France. Soon after, the monks of Nuits Saint George mastered the craft of winemaking. Today the master wines of Volany, Pommard, Gevery, Gevrey-Chambertin, Romanee-Conti, Montrachet. and Aloxe Corton which are now known throughout the world.
The vineyards of Burgundy spread southwards for miles on the sloped hillsides. Still using the traditional methods of oak barrels and years of aging in cool vaulted cellars creating an everyday wine fit for any meal.
A chance of a lifetime – sleeping in an abbey
Where to stay:
Abbaye de la Bussière – A magnificent, fully restored abbey with enormous, lavish interiors. The innovative restaurant is outstanding.
Hôtel-Golf Château de Chailly – In the heart of Burgundy, 30 min. from Dijon and Beaune, 2 hours from Lyon and 2 and a half hours from Paris and Geneva, the Chateau de Chailly Hotel-golf offers you: 45 air-conditioned rooms, 2 restaurants and a terrace, a swimming pool, an 18-hole golf course, 6 meeting, wedding, and function rooms. Taste the authentic charm of a chateau in France, ideal for your holidays, weekends, breaks, golf lessons, work meetings, incentive events, banquets and events. The suites in the towers flanking the castle boast spiral staircases leading to a mezzanine level.
Domaine Comtesse Michel de Loisy – The family home of the Comtesse De Loisy, with winter garden, period furniture and open fires.
Eating in a farmhouse is a unique experience in Burgundy
Where to eat:
La Ferm de la Ruchotte – Frédéric and Eva Ménager’s farmhouse serves unbelievable organic produce from around $50 for three courses (wine not included).
Lameloise – After three generations of setting the standard for Burgundy cuisine with three Michelin stars, the Lameloise family has handed over the reins to the Eric Pras, who continues the tradition with classics such as snails.
Le Relais Bernard Loiseau – The late Bernard Loiseau made this one of the best restaurants in France, with three Michelin stars. Chef Patrick Bertron has managed to maintain his legacy, both at the flagship in Saulieu and at Loiseau des Vignes, a smaller bistro in Beaune.
La Maison Millière – Classic, rustic Burgundy cuisine with staples such as snails, poached eggs and beef. Three courses around $46. 10 rue de la Chouette, Dijon, +33 3 80 30 99 99 .
Burgundy is still a secretive, reserved place in many ways, but with the help of a local guide to open doors it’s a much more rewarding experience. Marie Tesson-Naigeon’s Tours Détours provides tailor-made experiences.
The concept of an open cellar door is quite new in Burgundy, but Maison Champy has been trading since 1720, and owner Pierre Meurgey is quite hospitable.
For train information, visit Rail Europe.
by Nick Kontis Founder of World Travel List
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