The Burgundy countryside is famously beautiful, with much of it covered in rows of vineyards.
Image by Flickr user Aapo Haapanen
Discover Burgundy's hidden gems
The region of Burgundy, in east-central France, has a long-standing reputation as a food and wine capital, a hive of historical relics and a paradise for lovers of the great outdoors. With so much to offer, its scenic hillsides and ancient paths are fairly well trodden, but it’s still possible to find some truly captivating hidden gems throughout Burgundy.
On the border to Switzerland, this region has recently become part of the wider region of Bourgogne-Franche-Comté, and it shares many similarities with its Swiss neighbour in terms of cuisine and architecture. From Calais, you can drive easily to this part of eastern France, passing through the scenic Champagne region, with the option of driving through Dijon. It’s a stunning place, within driving distance of such beautiful lakes as Lake Neuchâtel, which can be found just over the Swiss border.
The home region of famous chef, Raymond Blanc, it’s not surprising that Franche-Comté is famous for its delicious food and drink, with such specialities as Jambon fumé du Haut Doubs (a type of smoked ham) and Poulet de Bresse au vin jaune et aux morilles (Bresse chicken with yellow wine and morels). When exploring this beautiful part of France, don’t miss the Citadel of Besançon, an amazing example of military architecture built in the late 1600s, and the Château d'Oricourt, a 12th century castle.
© Flickr user Ludovic Péron
When visiting a region so famous for its wine, it seems only fitting to explore some of Burgundy’s UNESCO-recognised vineyards. The heart of the Côte d'Or is the town of Beaune, which is famous for its wine tasting opportunities, and while the most popular wines produced here include Chablis and Pinot Noir, in the south of the region you’ll find the Gamay wine grape. One of the few places where you can try Gamay in its purest form, there are several vineyards to explore in this part of Burgundy, as well as some to the south of the region.
In Fleurie, just across the border into the Rhône department, a visit to Alain Coudert’s cellar bar is a must for wine lovers. He produces a traditional Beaujolais using the Gamay grape, and his techniques and attitude to winemaking are traditional in the best way. Without a website, his cellar is a hidden gem in its own right. Purchase the Cuvée Tardive and save it for a really special occasion. If you fancy a visit, Alain can be contacted at +33 474 6984 37.
The quaint commune of
Tournus is a brilliant place to stay during your trip to Burgundy. Nestled
alongside the Saone River, its history can be seen through winding alleys and
11th century buildings. Be sure to check out the Hotel Dieu, a 17th century
building which was once the city hospital, and the Abbey of Saint-Philibert de
Tournus, an ancient Roman-style church, boasting 12th century monastic
Outside of the town’s
many historical sites you can find a selection of superb restaurants. Head to Meulien for a gorgeous
four-course menu featuring a starter, main, cheese and dessert, with mains including
flavoursome pigeonneau and deliciously tender steak. More fine dining options
can be found at the grand restaurant Greuze, while more hearty fare
can be enjoyed at Le Bourgogne.
© Flickr user Pug Girl
Arguably one of France’s prettiest towns, Châteauneuf-en-Auxois is a secret hideaway from Burgundy’s busier towns and cities. Home to the Châteauneuf-en-Auxois castle, which sits alongside the Burgundy canal, the town can easily be spotted during the drive from Dijon to Autun, sitting proudly on the hillside.
There are plenty of shop-lined streets to explore in Châteauneuf-en-Auxois, selling everything from local arts and crafts to coffee and pastries. As well as the Châteauneuf-en-Auxois castle, you can find a chapel with 15th century paintings, plus buildings from the 14th-17th centuries throughout the town.
© Flickr user fourthandfifteen
Feeling inspired to visit Burgundy?
Getting across the channel is simple when you travel with Eurotunnel Le Shuttle. You can get from Folkestone to Calais in just 35 minutes.