The French region of Burgundy (or Bourgogne in French) is synonymous with the good things in life: fine wines, French gastronomic cuisine, castles, and endless opportunities for recreation.
Famous for the Grand Cru wines of the Côte de Beaune and Côte d’Or region, the rural areas have just as much to offer with Renaissance châteaux, medieval abbeys, canals, nature parks and fortified villages around every corner. From the rolling plains to the northwest, and the light and fresh Chablis wines that come from the limestone plateaus and pebble banks of the Serein River, to medieval cities like Noyers with its stone and timber-framed houses, archways and courtyards something out of a story book, and designated one of the most beautiful villages in France.
At Burgundy’s rural heart lies the Morvan Regional Natural Park, 1,000 square miles of unspoiled wilderness, dotted with lakes and picturesque villages, endless stretches of empty trails and quiet roads that are perfect for hiking and cycling, and fantastic local restaurants. Nearby lies the magnificent hilltop village of Vézélay, the town and the 11th century Romanesque Basilica of St Magdalene (home to the relics of Mary Magdelene) are designated UNESCO World Heritage sites.
No visit to Burgundy would be complete without a visit to Beaune and its surrounding renowned vineyards. Stroll through the city of Beaune, whose origins date from pre-Roman times, before becoming a stronghold of the Burgundian Empire. Now, it is most famous for its wine, best experienced with private visits to a local domaine, a walk in the vines, and a tasting of Grand Cru wines in ancient vaulted caves from the 12th century. Follow this with a hearty Boeuf Bourguignon, and some Epoisses cheese, and it’s off to bed at one the region’s cozy inns or luxury hotels.