Burgundy casually combines the two great French passions of wine and food, It’s the birthplace of culinary triumphs Coq au Vin and Boeuf Bourguignon, as well as frog legs and escargot, all washed down with Pinot Noir or Chardonnay.
For outdoor lovers, Burgundy (or Bourgogne in French) possesses some of the country’s most outstanding natural beauty. The Parc Naturel Regional du Morvan is a must for hiking on green rolling hills or canal boating on calm waterways running through medieval towns.
We highly recommend the under-explored northerly part of the region which has golden hilltop villages and glorious market towns around every corner. Try Chablis for its quintessential Sunday market to sample Burgundy’s produits de terroir of fresh produce, flowers and wine-soaked food.
Burgundy boasts more castles and chateaux than any other region in France - verging on 100! Once a highly influential duchy, it exhibits some of the most stunning Romanesque architecture in Europe. Visit Chateau de Tanlay for ancient moats and Chateau de Bourbilly for fairytale-like towers.
The 12th century Abbaye de Fontenay, a former Cistercian abbey in Marmagne, is a UNESCO world heritage wonder that’s well worth a visit. Also, take a day trip to Dijon to sightsee the dramatic Classical-meets-Gothic style of the Palace of the Dukes of Burgundy. Wine lovers should make a beeline for Beaune, the wine capital of Burgundy, to sample the best French vintages while gazing in awe at the town’s medieval ramparts.
Champagne is, of course, known far and wide for its shimmering bubbly, as well as its chardonnay, pinot noir and Meunier. We love the charming village of Rilly la Montagne, in la Marne department, for its huge variety of wine tastings on tours. We especially recommend the engaging tours at Champagne Roger Manceaux and the distinguished Champagne Didier Herbert. Remember, arrange your wine-tasting events well in advance as everything is organised by strict appointment!
Take a stroll in the Parc Naturel Régional de la Montagne de Reims to discover forests, prestigious vineyards and fairytale villages. Or head to the former Roman Empire conclave city of Reims to see its spectacular Gothic cathedral, which saw the coronations of French kings, the liberation from the English by Joan of Arc, and the surging anarchy of the French Revolution. Afterwards, restore your senses with a spot of lunch at the opulent Art Deco Café du Palais.