Burgundy Tourism – Visit the Burgundy region of France

Burgundy is in eastern central France between Paris and Lyon. The river Loire is the western boundary of the region, while the Champagne and Franche-Comté lie to the east. To the south of Burgundy is the Rhone Alpes region. The northernmost fringes of Burgundy reach the outer parts of the Paris metropolitan area. The terrain in the region is mostly hilly, except for the Saône valley and the southeastern part of the Côte-d’Or department.

The region can be easily reached by rail from Paris Gare de Lyon as well as from many other cities in France. Highways connect Burgundy to Paris, Lille, Geneva, Lyon, Nancy, and Strasbourg. Though there is no commercial airport in the region with regular international flights, northern Burgundy is close to the airports in Paris, and southern Burgundy can be easily reached from the Lyon St. Exupéry airport.

Dijon is the modern capital of the region, with a population of 150,000. It is less than two hours by high speed train from Paris and is a thriving cultural center. Visitors to the city usually make it a point to see the Palace of the Dukes of Burgundy and the Cathedral of Saint Benigne, a Gothic structure built from 1280 to 1325.

Capetian, Gothic, and Renaissance architecture can be found in Dijon, as can the region’s glazed terracotta roofs in green, black, and yellow, arranged in geometric patterns. The city’s architecture was relatively unscathed after the 1870 Franco-Prussian War and World War II, even though it was occupied, and half-timbered houses in the old city dating from the 12th to 15th centuries still stand.

Beaune, the wine capital of Burgundy, is the home of France’s primary wine auction, the Hospices de Beaune. The city is surrounded by some of the most famous wine villages in the world. It is an ancient city, and features from pre-Roman and Roman times remain. Around half of the ramparts, battlements, and moat remain in good condition. Visitors to Beaune visit landmarks like les Halles, les Hospices, and Notre Dame as well as the traditional shopping area around the central square that focuses on food, wine, and fashion. Beaune is served by train from Dijon and Lyon.

Saturday mornings, Beaune has a large fine food market of local products including Jura cheeses, produce, seasonal specialties, and Bresse chickens. Because Beaune’s economy is driven by the wine industry, it is not really a tourist town, so hotels may be a bit harder to book. In the city are a handful of traditional, smaller hotels, and the outskirts of Beaune are home to chain hotels.

The world-renowned vineyards of Burgundy are mostly on a strip of land that runs south of Dijon along the western part of the Saône plain. The region is known for both red and white wines, mostly Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Other grape varieties grown include Pinot Blanc, Aligote, Sauvignon Blanc, and Gamay. The Côte d’Or part of the region is where the most prized and expensive Burgundies, as well as Mâcon, Chablis, and Beaujolais.

Whether you’re touring France to experience its many gastronomic traditions, or want to take a couple of days away from a trip to Paris, visiting the Burgundy region is a must.

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