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This Week...

pam elson brings you Burgundy Today's roundup of news and events

may 22, 2015

Sweet dreams for cyclists

Cycling in the Vineyards and Villages Burgundy, FranceAfter an exhilarating day in the saddle, a good meal and a comfy bed are called for. The Logis hotel chain offers 16 bike friendly hotels in Burgundy for the independent traveller. A bike store is provided, your luggage can be transported for you to the next hotel (for a fee), the hotelier is knowledgeable about routes, repairs, bike hire and the weather, and will provide a hearty breakfast for the early bird. You never know when some back-up will come in handy. Here is the list of bike friendly hotels, each one bookable online.

Logis Hôtel de la Poste


Logis Grand Hôtel


Logis Hôtel Aux Vendanges de Bourgogne Rest. l'O à la Bouche


Logis Hostellerie Saint Pierre


Logis Hostellerie d'Héloïse


Logis Hôtel le Relais de Pouilly


Logis Hôtel le Grand Monarque


Logis Hôtel de l'Ecu


Logis Hôtel de l'Europe Rest. le Cépage


Logis Hôtel de France Rest. le Tast'Vin


Logis Relais Saint Vincent


Logis Hôtel le Moulin de la Coudre


Logis Hôtel les Capucins


Logis Auberge le Voutenay


Logis Hôtel l'Orée des Charmes


Logis Carline Hôtel Restaurant


Offer: To get across the Channel from the UK, The Telegraph mentions the following: 'to celebrate National Bike Week, MyFerryLink is offering free travel for cyclists travelling by bike from June 6 – 21, 2015. This offer is available on all Dover-Calais sailings between these dates, and is bookable from May 6 – June 20, subject to availability. This offer is only bookable by phone (0844 2482 100)'.

More on Cycling in Burgundy

SOS for a double bass

Travelling with a double bassOn June 13 Maison Crème Anglaise in Montréal is staging an evening of French Chansons, more news of which to follow. The musicians are coming over from the UK and so that the double bass player doesn't have to travel cooped up in a small car with the instrument for the long journey, Graham Battye the organiser is trying to rent a double bass in Burgundy. So do get in contact with Graham if you can help a fellow musician in distress.

may 15

art across borders

Paul Day's sculptures of Charolais cattle

Charolais, the hefty white cattle, are a feature of the Burgundian countryside. Shortly they will become just as symbolic in New Zealand when Paul Day's sculptures go on view. Made at a foundry in Hangzhou in China, they are the work of a British sculptor, who lives near Dijon.

Day is famous for his high-relief sculptures in terracotta, resin and bronze. The Battle of Britain Monument on the Victoria Embankment in London, and The Meeting Place at St Pancras Station are two of his most famous and much discussed works in the UK and previous commissions include work in Europe, USA and Canada. Nearer to home, he has sculptures on display at the Abbaye de la Bussière in the Ouche valley and there is a permanent exhibition at the Musée des Beaux Arts in Beaune.

images of africa

Christine and Michel Denis-Huet's book Savane, un ocean d'herbesWildlife photographers Christine and Michel Denis-Huot have captured stunning images of the animals in the Masai Mara of Kenya and the Serengeti in Tanzania through a lifetime on safari. There is an exhibition of their work going on view at the Musée Buffon near Montbard on Saturday for the Nuits des Musée event. The images come from their coffee table book 'Savane, un océan d'herbes' , written by them (in French). The book has a preface by Yann Arthus -Bertrand  whose life as a famous aerial photographer began in Kenya at the end of the seventies. The exhibition runs until September 27.

may 8

Herding Instincts

Cattle rescued by raft in the Yonne, photo France3 BourgogneFiremen in France never know what they will be called on to do next. It could be a hornet's nest in a tree needing attention or a forest blaze. This week with all the heavy rainfall in the region, they had to round up cattle, stranded when the river Yonne burst its banks at Cézy. Using a special raft, 25 firemen from the Yonne and the Saône-et-Loire rescued 12 cattle.

Your little bit of France

Petit Creme Holiday Rental, Montreal, BurgundyA pretty village house in a medieval village may be a dream but for a week or two it can be yours. Petit Crème in Montréal near Chablis is a self-catering holiday home which has recently been revamped and offers beds for 6-7 persons. The essentials of modern living such as WiFi, a DVD player and TV with English and French channels plus a garden and use of a pool ensure that all the family can have a relaxing holiday, home from home.

fine dining in the Franche-ComtE

Gradually over the course of this year we shall be adding information about the Franche-Comté which joins up with Burgundy on January 1. There are 11 Michelin starred restaurants in this mountainous region which have now been added to the 2015 list making a total of 43 for Bourgogne Franche- Comté. More...

May 1

May Days

Lily of the Valley, ©France 3 BourgogneThroughout France, lily of the valley will be on sale (muguet) on May 1. The legend goes that a knight, Louis de Girard, offered Charles IX a sprig of this sweet scented flower in 1560 as a symbol of Spring, and perhaps as a good luck charm from Celtic tradition. The monarch was charmed and decreed that every year he would offer the flower to all the ladies of the court. The custom was adopted across the country.

May is public holiday month in France. On May 1, 8, 14 and 25
some places will be closed - to avoid disappointment on your travels, plan accordingly.

When metal comes alive

Peter Meyer's metal sculpture at Chateau Ancy le Franc

The Château d'Ancy le Franc is set in the extensive parkland of 50 hectares with noble trees, a lake with a folly, water features and a formal French and English garden. This is the perfect setting for Peter Meyer's 30 metal sculptures which are on show this summer, dotted throughout the park. Meyer, an award winning Belgian artist, lives and works in Roussillon en Morvan where he creates his human, animal and bird sculptures. 'La Méditation', above, is one of our favourites. The exhibition runs until October 4. 

april 17

Le Corbusier and the Vezelay connection

This year sees a host of exhibitions about the life and work of Le Corbusier on the 50th anniversary of his death. The Centre Pompidou in Paris and the Musée Pablo Picasso in Antibes will be honouring his work along with other museums around the country, as will the Musée Zervos in the medieval village of Vézelay where Le Corbusier spent time between 1936 and 1942. 'Le Corbusier à Vézelay' exhibition will feature some of his watercolours and drawings.

Le Corbusier Collage for Badovici in Vezelay 1936 ©FLC ADAGP Le Corbusier Collage for Badovici in Vezelay 1936 ©FLC ADAGP Le Corbusier and Albert Einstein 1946 ©FLC ADAGP

La Corbusier's timeline conveys the energy of this man. Famed for his ground breaking architecture and urban planning ideas, furniture, drawings and collages, sculpture and publications, throughout his life this Swiss born innovator travelled all over the world from the USA to India, South America and extensively through Europe, designing everything from buildings to chairs, tapestries to dinner plates. He hobnobbed with the famous artists, writers and thinkers of the era including Albert Einstein (above right), Josephine Baker, Gertrude Stein and Pablo Picasso.   

So, where does the medieval village of Vézelay fit into the frenetic schedule? In 1926 Christian Zervos launched a modern arts magazine called 'Cahiers d'Art' in which he featured prominent artists of the day. He and his wife set up a gallery and exhibitions in Paris and both showcased Le Corbusier's work in their publications and exhibitions. Zervos was a great enthusiast for Vézelay and bought a farmhouse in the hamlet of Goulotte nearby where Picasso, Fernand Léger and Le Corbusier were guests. Architect, avant-garde critic and friend Jean Badovici built two houses in Vézelay where La Corbusier stayed.

Le Corbusier came to Vézelay in 1936 and he painted a collage for Badovici (above left and centre). It is recorded of Le Corbusier: ' he is not interested in the basilica, but the houses of the village, extolling the human qualities of their builders, masons and modest local architects'.. Maybe Le Corbusier found the Burgundian air and lifestyle relaxing, working here on his publications.

When Christian Zervos died he left his modern art collection to Vézelay and the Musée Zevros opened in the main street in 2006. The building had previously been the home of Romain Rolland, one of Burgundy's famous sons (this French writer received the Nobel prize in 1915). The modern architecture, mixed in with the original stonework is a perfect canvas for the modern art exhibits and includes works on permanent display by Picasso, Dufy, Magritte. Miro and Kandinsky.

'Le Corbusier à Vézelay' at the Musée Zervos runs from April 29 until November 15 showing watercolours and drawings by the architect. Open daily from 10.00-18.00 except Tuesday. July and August every day. Entry 3 euros.

April 10

Musicaves Festival GivryWorld Music in Givry

The programme has been announced for the Musicaves festival in Givry and the box office is now open. There is something for everyone - rock, guitar, classical, tango, gypsy music ... with performers from Brazil and Portugal, Syria and South Korea, Romania and of course France. Tickets are priced at 15 euros for each concert. This festival is immensely popular and runs from June 24-28. Wine tastings and events run concurrently with the festival. More...

april 3

jura wines in the spotlight

At the André Simon Food & Drink Book Awards, just announced, Wink Lorch has won the award for the best wine book. Wink has taken the wines of the Jura region in the Franche Comté to her heart and as well as writing about them, she has been spending time abroad spreading the word. Man Booker-winning novelist Julian Barnes, who was this year's assessor for the wine books, said: "Jura Wine is the first proper book in English about the wines of Jura. When its author took her first-ever glass of it, she thought it was 'weird'. It is a reaction many of us have shared, and perhaps not got beyond. Happily for us, she did, and has produced a personal and deeply committed guide to this often intractable region." See Wine Guidbooks

Flavours of Burgundy

Get away for a weekend of Burgundy wine - talking about it, tasting it and visiting the vineyards. In May, June and September, Bringing Burgundy to You, together with La Borde Maison d'Hôtes are offering a complete immersion in the luxurious surroundings near Chablis. There's also a weekend on Grands Crus this month, and the Hospices de Beaune wine auction in November. More on the Gourmet Weekends Programme

march 20

Burgundy Market, photo: Chateau de Villette near Autun

france at its best

This is what France and Burgundy are about, and it really gets the taste buds going. It's the provenance of food, prime produce with that special quality from the best sources.
Get out to your local market for the sights and smells of glorious food.

Our picture of the week, shot at the Beaune market, comes courtesy of Château de Villette luxury bed and breakfast near Autun. Sample Catherine's acclaimed food, using the best local ingredients. More...

French chic

Meeting today's exacting standards in holiday rentals, Penelope Sai asked the help of interior designer Sophie Seeger to decorate her cottage. The result is Desjardins' Cottage, pure French country style. South-west of Auxerre, it is a great place to relax, experience village life, as well as a good base from which to explore northern Burgundy from Chablis with its wines to the medieval village of  Noyers-sur-Serein. Wifi is now an essential requirement for all holiday accommodation, a good kitchen and bathroom, and home comforts - all on offer here. More...

Desjardins Cottage holiday rental in Burgundy Desjardins Holiday Cottage for rental  in Burgundy Self-catering holiday home Desjardins Cottage in Burgundy

Baroque in beaune

Festival of Baroque Opera Beaune 2015The long awaited programme for the International Festival of Baroque in Beaune is now up online. The 2015 programme features the music of Lully, Handel, Purcell and recently the Romantic repertoire of Beethoven, performed on period instruments. In the program are eight operas and oratorios in concert or semi-staged version. People come from all over the world to this event, and booking has just opened. More...

Songs of Peace and Unity

Music can be a good antidote in this turbulent world. Deutsche Grammophon has just brought out a CD entitled “Taizé – Songs of Peace and Unity”. This recording, the result of an unprecedented collaboration between the religious community and an international label, presents songs performed by a choir of young people and instrumentalists from various countries, some recordings made during the community's prayer in July 2014 and also psalms and responses sung by the brothers alone. Available on Amazon. More on the Taizé community in Southern Burgundy

March 13

French tax on eu non-resident second homes illegal

'Ruling by the European Court of Justice means France is liable to reimburse tens of millions of euros to EU non-resident owners who let out or sold their properties in the past two to three years' reports Henry Samuel writing in The Telegraph. 'The Socialist government of President François Hollande in 2012 imposed a 15.5 per cent "social charge" on capital gains from the sale of second homes or rental income. Graeme Perry, a London-based French tax law expert, said the ruling was "good news for the many EU residents who have been forced to pay this charge". He advised anyone who has not already submitted a claim to the French tax authorities to do so now.' More...

march 6

Spring Property Watch

Property for sale in Burgundy France House for sale near Chatillon sur Seine Burgundy France House for sale near Couches Burgundy France

With a glut of houses coming onto the property market in spring, it is worth keeping an eye on trends. According to the huge property portal Rightmove in the UK, people choose France for seven reasons:

  • A slower pace of life
  • Value for money on property purchases
  • Wonderful climate and food
  • Proximity to the UK (and Europe)
  • Diversity of countryside
  • Nostalgia for how the UK used to be
  • Space - and lots of it

These are all very valid reasons for choosing Burgundy and to the list should be added the wine, the heritage and culture inherent in the region. See Benjamin Haas' update: Where to Buy in Burgundy

TheTrackR locate your keys in seconds find your keys in seconds

Thumbs up to this idea. The TrackR is a small coin-sized device that easily attaches to items such as your keys, wallet, even your pet. Using an app on your smart phone, you will be able to locate the item or animal at once, saving frustration for many and worry for others. More... 

discovery of a new hoard

It's over half a century since the Treasures of Vix were discovered near Châtillon-sur-Seine in northern Burgundy. The findings from this tomb, a treasure trove of jewellery and artifacts, have been renovated and are now beautifully displayed in the Abbaye de Notre Dame in the town.

Archaeologists have just announced the findings of another burial site dating back to the 5thC BC just over the border of Burgundy near Troyes, less than 75 km away. Believed to be the remains of a Celtic prince buried with his chariot, like the Treasures of Vix, there are exquisite ancient Greek ornaments in the tomb. A very exciting hoard for the archaeologists to get to work on. Henry Samuels, writing in The Telegraph has more...

february 27

Film 2015

Suite Francaise, the movieOn general release at cinemas on March 13, the film Suite Française is a must-see event. Kristin Scott Thomas heads up the cast playing Mme Angellier, 'a tough, pinched vindictive widow'. In an interview in the Sunday Times, she says 'The story examines how difficult it is to live in a country under occupation. It's about chacun pour soi, the law of every man for himself, and the consequences this has for decent people's behaviour.' The film is an adaptation of the classic novel of the same name by Irène Némirosvsky which was discovered in a suitcase and only published in 2004, 62 years after the author's death.

The story tells first of all of a group of Parisians as they flee the Nazi invasion and make their way through the chaos of France; secondly it follows the inhabitants of a small rural community under occupation who find themselves thrown together in ways they never expected. In the book, they flee to a village in Burgundy but in fact the filming has been done in locations in Belgium, Paris and Lorraine.

Another film which sounds Burgundy-related has, in fact, nothing to do with it. Don't expect the lavish richness of 15thC France if you go to see 'The Duke of Burgundy' - the title comes from a species of butterfly. Peter Strickland's film has been described by the Guardian film critic as 'a lucid dream of sexual adventure.'

Sailing on a sunny afternoon

Locaboat self-drive cruising in BurgundyNo sails required on a self-drive cruiser on the Burgundy canals, life goes at a leisurely pace on board. But to make the most of what is on offer in this region, rich with speciality foods, wine and heritage, some new ideas of what to do when you moor up come from Locaboat, the boat hire specialists. Visit the Chagny market then return to your boat and have a cooking class on board your vessel, go on a wine tasting tour in a château, or take the kids to an archaeological workshop. The trips are available from
departure points at Saint Léger sur Dheune and Mâcon 
and advance reservation is required. More information

News In brief

Politics: With the run up to the fusion of Burgundy with the Franche Comté region in January 2016, a website is up and running with the latest developments within the corridors of government. www.bourgognefranchecomte2016.fr

Travel: It's so easy to get caught for speeding and fined on the French roads. For the latest update showing the speed cameras in Burgundy in each department, follow this link

Business:  Marc Meneau's restaurant L'Espérance in St Père sous Vézelay has got into financial difficulties again and has been placed in receivership. Restructuring is taking place in the hope that the son, Pierre Meneau can take over the business.

february 20

No translation needed

Festival Cine-Retro Beaune France, Silent FilmsFans of silent movies will enjoy the Ciné-Rétro Festival which takes place annually in Beaune. This year the dates are July 25 to August 22. Pianist Jean Claude Cottier is the festival director, he composes the music, plays the grand piano and entertains the audience too with anecdotes. All time favourites of the silent screen will be shown such as Buster Keaton, Laurel and Hardy, Chaplin and Harold Lloyd, in the setting of  the Chapelle St Etienne in Beaune every night at 21.00, with the exception of Thursday when the venue moves to the Comédie du Vin with a wine tasting included.  

Tickets cost 10 euros, with a reduction on Sundays and Mondays to 6 euros. Booking: tel: 00 33 (0)7 81 83 99 39 or 00 33 (0)3 80 24 90 57

What goes with what?

Matching food and wine in Burgundy ©BIVBIf you are interested in food and wine matching, the Ecole des Vins de Bourgogne wine school in Beaune is offering a day's course on pairing food and wine. With the help of a selection of wines for tasting, you will soon pick up the key tips you need to ensure successful combinations of delicious food and Bourgogne wines.

The Ecole des Vins de Bourgogne has created a brand new module, in partnership with some of the world’s greatest sommeliers, to provide you with the keys to ensuring the perfect food and wine partnership every time.

Morning session: This involves a presentation of the eight families of Bourgogne wines and an exploration of the key principles involved in finding the right food/wine combination, through a detailed tasting session.

Lunchtime session: A lunch in a famous Beaune restaurant will awaken your senses and allow you to put the morning’s ideas into practice. Enjoy a unique experience in this restaurant in a 19th century winemaker’s mansion where, in pairs, you will explore the full range of flavours.

Afternoon session: The afternoon will be dedicated to discovery and indulgence, with a delicious gourmet journey through the Bourgogne region’s specialties. You will be able to taste around 15 different wines.

Price including lunch: 210 euros per person. Contact the Ecole - ecoledesvins@bivb.com for dates of the one day courses in English.

february 13

A walk on the wild side

Oxfam Trailwalkers France, Marvan Natural Park BurgundyThe 2015 Oxfam France Trailwalker event will take place on June 6-7 in the Morvan Natural Park. Made up of teams of four, the aim for each is to walk 100 km in less than 30 hours with this year's fund raising target set at 450.000 euros. Now is the time to join up - 168 teams have already enlisted, and 250 volunteers are needed to man the route which starts in Avallon. Time to get into training...

Carpe Diem Burgundy, TripAdvisor Traveller's ChoiceCarpe Diem

Quality bed and breakfast places at a reasonable price take a bit of finding. Carpe Diem is just such a place, not far from the medieval town of Noyers-sur-Serein. For this year it has received the accolade of being the Tripadvisor Traveller's Choice, the only one in Burgundy. Tasteful decor in a charming village setting with friendly service and the possibility of a delicious dinner too More...  

secrets of the castle

Secrets of the Castle - Guedelon, BurgundyYou can read Ken Follet's Pillars of the Earth to get an idea of building problems in medieval times but there is nothing like seeing the real thing in action. The BBC went to Guédelon, west of Auxerre, and over a six month period, they filmed the skills and techniques needed to construct a medieval castle. Historian Ruth Goodman and archaeologists Peter Ginn and Tom Pinfold joined the archaeological experiment and the result is an engaging and informative series, Secrets of the Castle now on DVD. Better still, include a trip to Guédelon in your holiday planning.


Le Banquet du Roy Chateau d'Ancy le Franc BurgundyClassical music in a château is a perfect combination. The summer programme of concerts at Château d'Ancy le Franc from the association Musicancy is now available and booking opens at the beginning of April. Among the attractions, vocal ensemble Aedes, classical guitarist Sébastien Llinares and Le Banquet du Roy playing 16thC music. More...

february 6

Michelin 2015

Before the announcement on Tuesday that the Côte St. Jacques restaurant in Joigny had lost one of its three stars in the Michelin Guide, there was talk in the press about the upgrading of the hotel to five star status. Chef Jean-Michel Lorain is not taking the regrading lying down, he will be investing heavily in the hotel in the near future. The Conseil Régional de Bourgogne has agreed to award a grant towards the cost of this work which is proving controversial locally.

The only restaurant in Burgundy receiving a star in this year's announcements is L'Aspérule in Auxerre, run by Japanese chef Keigo Kimura. See the full list

house and garden - Smoke Detectors and moles

If you are a home owner in France, it will be obligatory to have a smoke detector installed in your house from March 8 onwards. Benjamin Haas from Burgundy4U points out: 'You will need to inform your house insurer that the device has been fitted and failure to do the installation will mean a loaded excess on your policy - some insurers may be unwilling to offer cover'.

The regulations state that only a minimum of one alarm need be installed. No location is prescribed, although the best position is generally considered to be on the ceiling in the hallway. An alarm on the ceiling on the upstairs landing is also advisable.

mole repeller

Keep moles out of the kitchen gardenWhen Lucia Latenstein talked about plants to keep away moles in the garden in her gardening article last year, it sparked a lot of interest. There is nothing more annoying when you look out on your lawn or peruse your kitchen garden to find those piles of fine earth. The moles make tunnels and while this is good for drainage and makes the soil more airy, they are something to be controlled. (Incidentally, the soil from the molehills is excellent for potting.) One solution is an ultrasound mole repeller
which works on solar energy says Lucia.

january 30

Get away 2015

Make irresistible chocolates with a master chocolatier, chill out with a day's private charter on the river, compare and contrast Burgundy wines with those of another French region on a two centre break, polish up your cooking skills and combine the practical with a wine masterclass... Here are some new additions to popular activities in Burgundy

Cook with Confidence in Burgundy with Lynne Hammond

Lynne Hammond's cooking class, 'Cook with Confidence' (above) has proved a great success.  It can now be incorporated with a wine masterclass at the farmhouse near Autun over one or two days for a maximum of four people. The price is 295 euros for one day and 550 euros per person for two days.

Bernard Dufoux, Chocolatier in BurgundyIf chocolate is your weakness, head on down to La Clayette and have a four hour indulgence with master chocolatier Bernard Dufoux. His afternoon classes take place on the first Wednesday of the month, commencing on February 4 at 14.00. Orangettes, Truffes, pâtes d'amande, Griottes au kirsch and Palets d'Or are just a few of the specialities he will be demonstrating. The price of the class is 80 euros per person.

Burgundy Discovery Two Centre Wine TourIf wine is the reason for your Burgundy visit, Burgundy Discovery, the wine tour people, are now offering two centre trips. Two days in Burgundy is followed by a further two days in either the Loire, Savoy or Rhone valley with expert guides in each of the regions so that you can compare and contrast the wines. Prices vary according to the region but start at 900 euros per person.

The Randle by Edge Charter one day cruise from AuxerreFor a total chill out, take The Randle motor barge for a one day private charter from Auxerre down the river Yonne, stopping off for lunch at Vaux and wine tasting in Irancy or Chitry. The boat can take a maximum of six passengers and the total charter price for the day is 1500 euros. Make the most of the lazy days of summer.

Cycling holidays  in Burgundy ©Michel JolyBurgundy is a very bike friendly place. Not only are there designated cycle tracks, the Voie Vertes, and the canal towpaths, good signage, maps and tourist information, it is also easy to transport your bike from place to place on the trains, both on the local TER and TGV fast services. There is a special section on the SNCF website with all the information. Also see our Cycling sections.
(Photo Michel Joly)

january 23

Michelin Bonnes Petites Tablesthree for value

The launch of the Michelin Red Guide at the beginning of February is always a much heralded event. To whet the appetite, the 'Bib Gourmand' new entries have been announced. This category offers good value meals with a maximum price of 32 euros in the provinces and 36 euros in Paris. In Burgundy, Au fil du Zinc in Chablis, Les Bons Enfants in St-Julien-Du-Sault and Rouge et Blanc in Romanèche-Thorins receive the recommendation.

january 16

number 15 - burgundy's lucky number

Milan, Cuba, Philadelphia and Yellowstone National Park head up the list of the 52 places to go in 2015 in the New York Times. Amongst this list of illustrious destinations, Burgundy comes in at number 15. A great booster for the region. Here's Adam H. Graham's assessment:

Burgundy vineyards Photo BIVB Ibanez'Burgundy -  A Unesco candidate gets a redux and a renewed vigor.

Adieu Burgundy. Bonjour Bourgogne! The renowned wine region has ditched its musty Anglo moniker and reclaimed its French name in all official wine communications. With this rebrand come several changes and a new generation of winemakers and hoteliers. In 2014, the luxury conglomerate LVMH bought the Grand-Cru estate of Clos Des Lambrays near the village of Morey-St.-Denis, marking their entree to a region peppered with excellent vineyards. The picturesque hub of Beaune continues to draw interest with annual projects like Lumières de Beaune, light installations on the village’s half-timbered houses. Not to be outshone, Dijon is debuting a pair of projects this year: the new Vertigo, a Design Hotel opening in January; and a new beach on Lake Kir that’s made with 350 tons of imported sand. Bourgogne has also been nominated for Unesco’s 2015 World Heritage list, specifically for its 100 historic appellations that have deepened the collective understanding of the concept of terroir'. See the other contenders on the New York Times list.

the skills of the Neanderthal

Bone tools from Grottes d'Arcy BurgundyMarilyn Floyde mentioned in her article on the Grottes d'Arcy that bone fragments have been discovered in caves dating back 250,000 years. Much more information is coming to the fore as the results of the annual dig at the Grotte du Bison at Arcy-sur-Cure in June 2014 reveal that the bone tools were used by Neanderthal man dating to between 55,000 and 60,000 years of age. These findings by Luc Doyon and a group from the University of Montreal have just been published in the Bulletin de la Société préhistorique française. The edges of the implements have been honed with a hard surface, probably rock, and the
tools are thought to have been used for butchering game and
multiple uses such as scraping hides.

january 9

Quintessentially Burgundian holiday rentals direct from the owner

Holiday home for rental in Burgundy Holiday rental in Burgundy Holiday home for rental in Burgundy
A rural idyll, former winemaker's home in Change near Beaune, sleeps six, Ref: 1394406

Near Pouilly-en-Auxois close to the Canal de Bourgogne, sleeps six, Ref: 924220a

Charming French home at Chandon de Brialles near Beaune, sleeps six, Ref: 361544

by the book

Here are three new wine books to browse through that caught our eye. Land and Wine by Charles Frankel, a geologist with a love of wine, looks at terroir across France; Jamie Goode, journalist and founder of wineanorak.com studies Wine Science and Wink Lorch talks about the wines of the Jura in Franche-Comté with local food and travel tips. See Wine guidebooks

With the garden in hibernation, study your favourite garden books and make plans for spring planting. 'My favourites at the moment', says Lucia Latenstein, 'are the series e-books of Michael King: Perennial Meadows. They consist of ready made planting schemes. There are six e-books:  Introduction, Prairie, Dry Steppe, Open Perennial, Wet Perennial and Shady, € 4,99 each.' See Lucia's January planting article and order your plants from her for February delivery.

january 1 2015

A big year for Burgundy as a decision will be made this summer on whether the application 'Les Climats du vignoble de Bourgogne' succeeds in giving the Burgundy vineyards a UNESCO heritage ranking. And, as the amalgamation of the Bourgogne region with the Franche-Comté begins for the January 2016 completion, what changes will take place? Will Dijon be the capital of the region or Besançon for example? Football doesn't escape discussion either. More as the year unfolds.

Beaujolais Wine Region, photo Gillet, Inter Beaujolaisfrench region of the year

Beaujolais, says Anthony Peregrine in The Telegraph, ' is the only major wine region (in France) that embraces the stuff with joy and conviviality, rather than with the insane pretence that wine is a branch of high culture'. He nominates this area, part of which lies in Burgundy and part in the Rhône-Alpes, as his region of 2014. Known for its wine, there are very few tourists, 'gorgeous goldstone spots such as Ternand and Bois d'Oignt', and a warm welcome too. More...  
Stay at chambres d'hôte Rougeclos or chambres d'hôte Plaisances in St-Julien

starck contrast

Mama Shelter Paris Arguably the most influential interior designer in the world, Philippe Starck has come up with Mama Shelters, a chain of budget hotels. Paris, Lyon, Bordeaux and Marseille are open. 'They’re playful, comprehensible, practical, have free movies in the bedrooms and sex toys for sale in the lobby' says Anthony Peregrine writing in The Telegraph. Can't we have this innovative concept in Burgundy?

natural winemaking

We may imbibe a little too much over the next fortnight but hopefully it will not induce the headache of years gone by after a good night out with a bottle of plonk. Techniques and processes in winemaking have become more sophisticated and we have become increasingly conscious of the methods used to produce the drink we consume. When it comes to wine, the organic wine movement has had considerable influence in making a purer end result. 

There has been a lot in the news in Burgundy with the case of Emmanuel Giboulot,  a biodynamic winemaker, who refused to spray his vines with pesticide to protect against a deadly vine disease. He saw his conviction overturned on appeal earlier this month in Dijon. 

Burgundy Vineyard, Copyright Per Karlsson, BKWine PhotographyBritt and Per Karlsson, Paris residents hailing from Sweden are wine experts, writing and photographing the subject, hosting wine tours and appearing on judging panels. Their first book to be published in English is called Biodynamic, Organic and Natural Winemaking; Sustainable Viticulture and Viniculture. It looks at the do’s and don’ts of organic, biodynamic and natural wine production, both outside in the vineyard and in the wine cellar and sets out clearly what a winemaker is allowed to do, including processes, additives and chemicals, and looks at the potential long-term benefits of going organic or biodynamic. The book doesn't focus on the wine regions of the world, but Burgundy producers are well represented, and as Britt says: “Burgundy has had an active organic movement ever since the early 90s. Today the roll call of organic growers in Burgundy is a list of some of the most famous and sought after wine growers in France and in the world.” Biodynamic, Organic and Natural Winemaking: Sustainable Viticulture and Viniculture is available on Amazon, a good introduction to the subject for wine enthusiasts and professionals alike. Photo above right : © Per Karlsson, BKWine Photography

Fondu in the Franche Comte, photo franche-comte.orgBurgundy and Franche-Comte Joined at the hip

The Burgundy Franche-Comté union has been agreed. The bill creates 13 major metropolitan areas instead of the 22 at present. See our overview of Franche-Comté, an area well worth visiting if you love the great outdoors. magnificent scenery and much much more. For wine lovers, journey time from Nuits-St-Georges to the wine area at Arbois in the Jura is only an hour by car.

How is Burgundy Wine Made?

After the harvest, what happens to the grapes to turn them into wine? We look at the intricate winemaking process for red and white wine from harvest to bottling.See our step-by-step guide.

Making red wine in Burgundy, photo BIVB making red wine in Burgundy, image, BIVB making white wine in Burgundy, photo BIVB making white wine in Burgundy, photo BIVB

The Top 10 Attractions in Burgundy

Our list of must-see places to visit during your stay in the Burgundy region from the Hôtel-Dieu in Beaune (centre) to the Grand Cru wine route (left), Vézelay and Guédelon (right). More...

Clos de Vougeot, ©Michel Joly Hotel Dieu, Hospices de Beaune Burgundy Guedelon Burgundy

Pam Elson ©burgundytoday.com


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