travel guide

Where History, Landscape, and Architecture Blend Harmoniously with the Greatest of Local Glories – The Grape.

Burgundy, once a powerful, independent duchy, is a fertile land of hills and valleys, dedicated to the French tradition of good living. Many of the best French drinking-songs are Burgundian.
History, landscape, and architecture blend harmoniously with the greatest of local glories – the grape. The vineyards with their red-gold earth lie along the eastern side of the Cote d’Or (Golden Slope) from Dijon to Chagny, and the villages bear noble names such as Gevrey-Chambertin, Nuits-St-Georges, Vosne-Romanee. The full-flavoured red wines of Burgundy, and the elegant whites, are among the greatest in the world. A famous wine-tasting and auction is held every November at Beaune, a charming little town with a beautiful 15th-cent. Hotel-Dieu. Burgundy is a mainly agricultural region, well known for its red and rose wines that are strong and fruity especially in Arbois and for the white wines from the famous Chablis.

The industry of Burgundy, despite its good geographical position is concentrated mainly in the area of Dijon, the capital of Burgundy, that has some magnificent buildings with coloured, patterned roofs, and a superb museum. Sens and Auxerre have fine Gothic cathedrals, and the old walled town of Vezelay, with its basilica on the crest of a hill, is one of the glories of France.
The land is rich in agriculture, game, and fishing. The cooking is copious and rich, using cream, spices, and wine sauces. Snails, coq au vin, poulet aux morilles, and beuf bourguignon are among the great dishes.
The plateau of the Jura Mountains, between Burgundy and the Swiss frontier, is remarkable for the grandeur of its scenery, with pine-forests, deep valleys, waterfalls, and gorges.
This is an unspoilt corner of France, and one of the least expensive for a holiday. The upland villages have a primitive look, with farmyards spilling out on to main roads. In the lovely valley of the Loue, at Lods and Ornans, dark timbered houses stand on stilts in the river. In southern Burgundy on the border with the Auvergne, there are old oil mills for nuts and vegetable oils, including the oldest, historic mill Jean Leblanc, which is still in operation. There is good skiing in the Jura, and there are also spa towns, notably Salins-les-Bains and Lons-le-Saunier. Down in the plain, Dole and Besancon are pleasant cities. St Claude is famous for its tobacco pipes.