|Excursions in Burgundy, France
|It's fun and interesting to visit the wine villages and churches of Burgundy.
Burgundy is home of the côte d'or, or gold coast, so named because of the vast waves of yellow when the vine leaves all turn in the fall. The famous wine crop is also worth its weight in gold. Côte d'Or is the name of the département that is home to Dijon, Beaune, and other Burgundy towns, and it also refers more specifically to the escarpment that is planted with many of the most important vineyards.
It's a wonderful area to drive around and explore. The Route des Grands Crus is a narrow country road that runs from Dijon to south of Beaune, passing through many of the wine villages. The full route is less than 60 kilometers (about 35 miles), but it's on narrow country roads and is made for wandering. More...
The Côte de Nuits extends from Dijon to just south of Nuits-St-Georges. It includes some of the most famous grands crus wines, and passes through Gevrey-Chambertin, the Clos de Vougeot, and other wine villages. More...
The Côte de Beaune region runs from just north of Beaune south to Santenay. It includes both red and white wine villages, such as Meursault, Pommard, and Puligny-Montrachet. This excursion can also include a visit to the medieval Château La Rochepot, near Chassagne-Montrachet. More...
Farther south of Beaune is the Mâconnais, a beautiful region of hills and valleys, and home to Mâcon and its famous white wines. The villages of Pouilly and Fuissé are also in this area. From Mâcon it's just a short side trip to the famous Abbey of Cluny. You may also want to visit the Romanesque churches of Taizé and Ameugny.
Abbey de Fontenay
The Abbey de Fontenay, dating from 1118, is one of the oldest Cistercian abbeys in France. It is near the town of Montbard (map), 82 kilometers (51 miles) northwest of Dijon, or 99 kilometers (62 miles) from Beaune.
Vézelay is a charming medieval town in Burgundy, best known for its 11th century Basilica of Mary Magdalene. It is on the Route of Santiago de Compostela and has long been a Christian pilgrimage site said to include the tomb of Mary Magdalene. Its hilltop location made it defensible, and today provides lovely views of the area. (map)