Burgundy is an area of gently rolling hills on the eastern periphery of the Massif Central. It is here that the central plateau meets with the gentle slopes of the Jura. The fertile soil of the valley in between has been planted with vines since the Romans conquest. Many of the names wine drinkers associate with France come from Burgundy. - Chablis, Beaujolais, Macon, Cote de Beaune, Cote dOr and here are the famous wine centers of Dijon, Beaune, Macon and the Cote-dOr. The northern portions, known as Lower Burgundy, produce little wine but have ornate Renaissance chateaux, spectacular monastic architecture and charming medieval towns.
The territory of Burgundy was conquered by Caesar in the Gallic Wars, but in the 4th century Roman power declined and the country was invaded by Germanic tribes. In c. 480 AD it was conquered by the Burgundii, a Germanic tribe who had settled in the Savoy Alps after losing their kingdom on the Rhine to the Huns. It was they who accepted Christianity and formed the First Kingdom of
Beaune is the logical place to stay during a longer wine pilgrimage to the Cote d’Or and is actually the most visited city in Burgundy. It contains the headquarters of many well-respected Burgundy wine dealers in addition to grand historic sites and gourmet restaurants.
Hotel-Dieu is the treasure of Beaune, a ‘medieval jewel’, with its superb multi-colored Burgundian roof tiles. It was originally a hospice founded by the chancellor, Nicolas Rolin, and his wife in 1443 to help the inhabitants of Beaune who were suffering the effects of poverty and famine after the Hundred Years’ War. It now also houses the Museum of Wine of Burgundy.
Dijon, former capital of the Dukes of Burgundy, is a town steeped in history with a rich architectural legacy and easy direct access from Paris by TGV train in 90 muntes. Lying at the gates of the famous vineyards of the ‘Cote de Nuits’, Dijon is one of the glories of the French gastronomic tradition and an ideal place to start a wine tour.
South of the Cote d'Or is the lesser-known Cote Chalonnaise and the Macon region. Macon vineyards use Chardonnay grapes and you will probably find as good wines as those on the Cote d'Or. Most wines from here carry the Macon appellation but 36 villages have the right to call themselves Macon-Villages or just "e Macon ". The most famous of these is the dry, soft Pouilly-Fuisse wine.
The Côte d’Or, known for its calcaerous plateau that feeds some of the best vineyards of the region, with the city of Beune as its wine trading capital. Dijon is the most stunning historical town in the Côte d’Or. Dijon architecture is distinguished by, among other things, toits bourguignons (Burgundian polychrome roofs) made of tiles glazed in terracotta, green, yellow and black and arranged in eye-catching geometric patterns. This city has served as the site for the Holy See and has been the adminastrative center of Burgundy since the time of the four famous Ducs.
Saone-et-Loire is home to the impressive Abbey Cluny, once one of the most powerful seats of Christianity in the west. Here you can all visit the forested hills of Mâconnai and Beaujolais.
The largest city in Nievre is Château Chinon, but this area is more well known for the Morovan Natural Regional Park. The Park is covered with forests and ideal for outdoor walking and adventure.
Yonne is a beautiful historic area. It is here in the town of Vezelay where Kings and countrymen would meet to head off for the crusades. Yonne is also home to the Chablis vineyards of France, possibly the most well known chardonnay in the world.
We can of course customize the day to include specific vineyards and experiences like ballooning, horse riding or biking.
Take the TGV from Paris at about 8:00am and arrive in Dijon where you private wine expert will pick you up at the station. Allow yourself to learn the complexity of a region through taste, texture and smell: take it all in and awaken your senses! .
3 Day 2 Night
Arrival at Beaune in the beginning of the afternoon
Free visit of the “Hopices Civils de Beaune” and the “Hotel-Dieu”: the multicoloured roofs of the Hotel-Dieu have become one of the symbols of Burgundy.
From the date of its foundation, Nicolas Rolin had planned the donation to the institution of furniture, tapestries and other items, of which a detailed inventory dating from 1501 gives us a precise idea.
The beauty of the interiors rivals that of the exterior. In the great “Salle des Pauvres” ("hall of the poor"), decorated with multicoloured beams which are unique in the world, reigns a serenity which will leave no one unmoved. The halls of Sainte-Anne, Saint-Nicolas, Saint-Hugues and Saint-Louis are overflowing with treasures: statues, furniture, pottery, paintings, tapestries…and the kitchen has been restored exactly as it was in the 19th century.
The Polyptych of The Last Judgement, a master work by the Flemish painter Rogier Van Der Weyden has been particularly well presented in an air-conditioned room.
Discovery of the “Hautes Côtes de Beaune” route and its castles: Located in the southern part of the Côte d'Or, the vineyards of Côte de Beaune begins to Ladoix Serrigny and finishes in the Maranges.
25 km of an inexhaustible talent where, on 3000 ha, the greatest dry wines are next to red “Grands Crus” of great rename, such as Pommard, Santenay, Corton (the only red Grand Cru of the Côte de Beaune). Pinot Noir and Gamay are exclusive varieties of red wines. The Chardonnay gives us here all the richness and the complexity of its flavours.
Dinner in Autun:
Hostellerie du Vieux Moulin
In the heart of Burgundy, the city of Autun is over 2000 years old. When the “old mill” stopped operating in 1958 it was turned in a beautiful hotel restaurant. Its sluice gates are still on the Arroux River. Lunches are served in the shady garden in the summer time.
Night: Hotel des Ursulines
Breakfast at the hotel.
Guided tour of Autun: "City of Art and History" with Gallo-Roman monuments like the Saint-André Gate, the Arroux Gate, the Janus temple, the Roman theatre, the Couhard stone, the city's ramparts.
Saint-Lazare Romanesque cathedral: the tall 15th century stone spire that dominates the panorama of Autun helps recall the fact that the church of Saint Lazare, today a Cathedral, remains one of the major works of Cluny art and was built almost entirely between 1120 and 1130. The architectural perfection inspired by Cluny and the other nearby Romanesque buildings, however, might pale before the vividness of the work of Gislebertus, the craftsman... the biblical scenes of the capitals (several can be admired more closely as they have been moved to the chapter house)... the "Last Judgement" which covers the tympanum and the lintel of the central
doorway, with a multitude of elongated figures... the "Eve" -part of the lintel of the ancient lateral doorway-now housed at the Rolin Museum, all a testimony to the strength, the life flow, the truculence, the sense of purpose in the composition and the competence of execution so typical of Romanesque sculpture at its very best.
Lunch at Hotel des Ursulines
Visit of the Rolin Museum: Gallo-Roman sculptures, bronzes, Roman mosaics, a 12th century sculpture of Eve, a 15th century Nativity of the Master of Moulins, a 15th century polychrome statue of the Virgin of Autun, 15th and 20th century paintings and sculptures.
Rivault Farm: “Foie Gras” and “Duck Breast” tasting, accompanied by Burgundian wine: M. Labonde is a producer of fat ducks in Autun. You will appreciate a visit followed by a tasting; all the “gourmets” will enjoy themselves.
Dinner in the Restaurant “Les Jardins du Lac” in Autun (”planche Bourguignonne”: kind of plank-plate with several Burgundian specialities).
Overnight in Hotel des Ursulines in Autun
Breakfast at the hotel.
Visit of Châteauneuf en Auxois: on a rock, overlooking the plain, this powerful mediaeval stronghold was built around a square 12th century keep.
With flamboyant gothic living, quarters added by Philippe the Pot, knight of the Golden Fleece and Senechal of Louis XI, the château contains murals in the chapel, and tapestries depicting the life of Moise in the apartments.
Discovery of the “Côte d’Or” beautiful landscapes and its canals.
Lunch at the restaurant “La Cloche” in Dijon.
Free visit of Dijon, Whoever wishes to take in the full sweep of Dijon’s historical centre should climb to the top of the Tour Philippe le Bon. It was built by the third of the four "Great Dukes of the Occident" who reigned over the Burgundian States for more than a century from 1364 to 1477: Philip the Bold, John the Fearless, Philip the Good and Charles the Bold.
The former Palace of the Dukes of Burgundy is the veritable heart of the ducal capital which is now also the capital of an administrative region. It houses, along with the Town Hall, the Fine Arts Museum (Musée des Beaux Arts), one of the great museums of Europe. The museum’s reputation is based not only on the uncontested wealth of its collections but above all on its possession of masterworks of mediaeval paintings and sculpture, particularly the tombs of the Dukes of Burgundy.
Around the palace stretches the historical centre which is entirely preserved as a protected sector. It offers the visitor the charm of its squares and small streets for a stroll past half-timbered houses and elegant mansions, beneath the shadow of its church spires. Notre-Dame, the Gothic parish church dating from the 13th century is a veritable work of art in stone with its unique facade where rows of gargoyles alternate with slender columns topped by the Jacquemart Clock which has struck the hours of the day for the townspeople since 1383. The serenity of the historic buildings is contrasted by the bustling market which is held three times a week in and around the 19th century market halls.
End of our program.
The drive from Paris to the lovely town of Auxerre "Burgundy's golden gate" and start with a tasting of some Burgundy specialties. Guided tour of Autun: "City of Art and History" with Gallo-Roman monuments like the Saint-André Gate, the Arroux Gate, the Janus temple, the Roman theatre, the Couhard stone, the city's ramparts.
DAY1: Auxerre-North Burgundy vineyards
You will leave Paris for Auxerre : "Burgundy's golden gate". First, a little snack in the shopping area to taste the famous "nonettes" (gingerbread with jam) and take a sip of the local spirit… A walk from the place St Nicolas, a charming square with its Middle-age half-timbered houses, to St Etienne cathedral, beautiful Gothic building with its 1500 years' old crypt. Off to the hills of St Bris le Vineux, a small valley covered with fruit trees.. Visit of Erik Lavallée's "Domaine de La Grand Roche" for a white wine tasting.
Lunch at the restaurant "Le St Bris", in the village centre. Fabrice and Stéphanie, natives of the soil, will serve you a traditional meal and help you choose your wine.
Pass through Irancy, a colorful wine-growing village with good red and rosé wines…
Visit of the Bailly cellars with a Crémant de Bourgogne tasting session.
Stop at Coulanges La Vineuse and visit of the cellar : light and delicate red wines of the "Pinot noir" variety, and white wines from the "Chardonay" grape variety.
Dinner and night at Vezelay at the "Hotel de La Poste"or similar. You will have plenty of time to wander down the old streets to the Basilica, watch the night falling upon the sunken lanes of the Morvan, where vineyards have not replaced the oak trees stretching as far as you can see.
DAY2: Gevrey Chambertin-Vougeot-Aloxe Corton
Vezelay-Avallon-Precy-Vitteaux-Sombernon" : a beautiful road which will peacefully take us to Gevrey-Chambertin… The"Chambertin" wine is a very full-bodied wine ; with age it gains body and nose…Tasting session and lunch.
Vougeot : their red wines, greatly appreciated since the Middle-Ages were placed under the Lord of Clos castle's authority...A very famous wine that makes you want to celebrate !
You will discover the vineyards via small roads until you reach Aloxe Corton : All these places have evocative names and the gentle slopes are covered in vineyards… Gourmet and wine-tasting dinner
Dinner and night in Beaune at Hotel “Henri II”or similar. For a long time this was the traditional residence of the Dukes of Burgundy, as it is indeed a good place to live in : wine and art together for your pleasure
DAY3: Beaune-Chablis vineyards
Visit of the Hotel Dieu, part of the Hospices de Beaune and considered as one of the marvels of Burgundian-Flemish art. The Hotel Dieu was founded in 1443 ; it was also a hospital until 1971.
Stroll and lunch in one of France's most beautiful villages : Noyers sur Serein.
In this Early Middle-Age village, the cellars open directly onto the street ; here again, there is no doubt, you are in a wine country !
Following the Serein river, we are heading for the prestigious vineyard of Chablis. This light and dry white wine has farfetched origins, going back to the Roman empire… It's the capital of the "Basse Bourgogne" (Lower Burgundy) vineyards. Visit of cellars.
Return to Paris.