Getting to Know Burgundy

Article-Aligote-Burgundy-White-Wine-Buying-Guide-Villaine-Bouzeron-Benoit-Ente-Alice-Olivier-De-Moore-Claire-Naudin-copyOne of the premier wine making regions of the world, Burgundy offers tourists not only acres of vineyards but historically important towns and sacred religious architecture. Spring and summer are the best seasons to visit this popular destination.

The Cote d’Or region, or ‘Golden Hillside’, including the wine producing areas of Cote de Beaune and Cote de Nuits, is a magnet for wine lovers due to its famous vineyards, notably Aloxe-Corton, Cambolle-Musigny, Gevrey-Chambertin and Vosne-Romanee. The regional capital of Dijon is very convenient for exploring this area and boasts its own distinctive mix of Gothic, Medieval and Renaissance architecture such as the spectacular Eglise Notre Dame, with its sinister gargoyles; the Palais des Ducs, with its Musee des Beaux Arts, a magnificent collection of paintings and sculptures; the Musee Magnin; and the medieval half-wooden houses of the rue Verrerie.

Nearby, the ‘unofficial capital’ of Beaune is a walled city with unique Romanesque architecture including the Hotel Dieu des Hospices de Beaune. For more wine tasting, head for the riverside town of Macon, famous for its Maconnais and Beaujolais vineyards, or to picturesque Chablis, known for producing the world’s finest dry whites.

Overlooking the Yonne River are the hilltop town of Avallon and the historic city of Auxerre, home to the Cathedral of St. Etienne, a charming piece of Gothic architecture. On the Loire River to the south stand the compellingly beautiful towns of Nevers and Cluny, known for its Benedictine Abbey and Chante sur Loire. Nearby is the renowned Abbey of Fontenay, which offers intriguing insights into the Cistercian lifestyle.

Sacred religious sites in the region include the 12th century Basilica of Mary Magdalene, a UNESCO World Heritage site, famous for its ‘Mystical Mill’, while the Paray le Mondial attracts pilgrims from all over the world. In the 17th century a local nun, Marguerite Marie, witnessed visions of Jesus at the Basilique du Sacre-Coeur.