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Space, pure country air, romance, peace, beauty, tradition, sophistication, style and the simple pleasures of life combine - look no further …
Burgundy, or Bourgogne as it is known in Europe, is made up of four departments - the Yonne, the Côte d’Or, Nièvre, and Saône-et-Loire. Dijon is the capital of the whole region - a lovely, traditional town to visit. Everywhere in the verdant countryside there are unspoilt villages, and somehow, even when the buildings are falling apart, they still manage to charm, there are architectural details at every turn.
For many people travelling through France from north to south, the Abbaye de Fontenay and the vineyards of Beaune are just attractive road signs along the way. But linger a while and this area of France will quickly captivate. Châteaux and canals, beautiful countryside and a relaxed rural lifestyle await you.
In the land where food and wine is an art form, enjoy leisurely lunches and dinners, prepared with skill and care. Burgundy wines are famous across the world. The vineyards, planted mostly with Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grape varieties, are lovingly tended and produce the prestigious red burgundy wine and white burgundy wines respectively. Visit some of the wineries, the beautiful and historic abbeys and châteaux, walk or drive around this gloriously unspoilt countryside. The roads are uncluttered and the pace of life meanders along. The local people are hospitable and you will find that it is a perfect place to explore. With a surface area of 31,500 sq km, Burgundy is larger than Belgium, with a low density of population totalling 1.6m.
Take a canoe on one of the lovely lakes in the Morvan forest, or play golf at a grand château. Burgundy has a rich and glorious past, and there are abbeys, churches and museums, archaeological sites and monasteries to explore. We look at the myths and legends, with some surprising results. Go wine tasting, visit the markets and delight in the choice in the supermarkets. Visits to the boulangerie are a ritual in France and the freshly baked baguettes and patisserie, impossible to resist.
Ease of transport has been one of the factors in the greatness of Burgundy throughout history, and the canals have played an important role in this. Today, tourists enjoy these waterways - the Canal de Bourgogne, du Nivernais and du Centre - 1,000 km of navigable routes and ports along the Saône river are equipped for wide-gauge barges. They are now used mainly for pleasure, barging holidays or canal cruising, and cycling and walking along the tow paths are popular.
The TGV high-speed train crosses the region, and the A6 motorway makes Burgundy an important crossroads in France. There are 597 km of motorways in all, making for good access to Germany, Luxembourg, Belgium, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Italy and the United Kingdom. We have guidelines to make your travelling easy if you are coming by air, by car or by train.
Hotels in Burgundy range from the elegant châteaux, decorated with great style and panache to convenient motorway stopovers for travellers en route. Often the châteaux have their own cellars offering wine tastings and maybe even their own vineyards. There are hotels in all price ranges in Dijon and Beaune, plus country auberges away from it all. We offer a choice of over 500 hotels throughout the region. For great flexibility, rent a holiday home in town or in a quiet country location, see Burgundy Holiday Homes.
Dialling code from abroad: 00 33 and drop the first 0 on the number
From within France: Drop 00 33 and put an 0 before the regional code
Emergency services: 112
Main Post Offices are open 9-12.30 and 13.30-18.00 Monday
Tourist Offices (Syndicats d’Initiative) in towns provide information and help.
Note: France stops for lunch on the dot of 12 noon, usually until 14.00 so your day has to be planned accordingly. Large supermarkets stay open continuously. In general, shops and banks (not supermarkets or post offices) are closed on Mondays. There may be variations to this in some of the villages. Museums are closed on Tuesdays.
Pam Elson ©burgundytoday.com