The region of Burgundy is located just southwest of Paris, easily accessible from the French capital thanks to the high speed TGV train, modern highways, and a network of rivers and canals. Burgundy is considered the wine capital of France, and with good reason. The vineyards in Burgundy are the most sought after in the world.
The Saone River, the Canal de Bourgogne, and numerous other waterways provide a leisurely means for a river boat vacation. From behind the wheel of a rented boat you can glide along tree-lined canals, floating along at the pace of a brisk walk. Luxurious hotel-barges offer exquisite service, haute cuisine, and the best wines from Burgundy's many vineyards.
Regional cuisine includes the famous boeuf bourguignon, coq au vin, and garlicky snails. And who could forget that Dijon is synonymous with mustard! Burgundy, or Bourgogne, is home to what have been called "the best wines in Christendom." Vineyards include Chamberlain, Pommard, Meursault, Chablis, Pouilly-Fuisse, and a long list of other well-known names.
The city of Beaune hosts an annual three-day wine auction that draws vinophiles from across the globe. The event is called "Les Trois Glorieuses" and is held in the Hospices de Beaune, a former charity hospital from the 15th century. (We offer both a one day trip to Burgundy from Paris and a great overnight Burgundy trip.)
The medieval city of Vézelay has much to offer history lovers. The Ste-Madeleine Basilica here was finished in 878. St. Bernard preached the Second Crusade from its pulpit, and in 1190 A.D. two kings (Richard the Lionheart of England, and Philippe-Auguste of France), met here to launch the Third Crusade.
The region's capital city of Dijon is also a delight. The city's Palais des Ducs, which is home to the Musee des Beaux-Arts, is often referred to as "Le Petit Louvre."
For a special treat, take a ride in a hot-air balloon to experience a bird's eye view of all Burgundy has to offer.
Visit the website of the tourist office of Burgundy for more information.
Dijon, France Information
Capital of Burgundy
Dijon owes its origins to its strategic position in Celtic times on the tin merchants' route from Britain up the Seine and across the Alps to the Adriatic.
Dijon became the capital of Burgundy around 1000 AD, but its golden age occurred in the 14th and 15th centuries under the auspices of dukes Philippe le Hardi (the Bold), who as a boy had fought the English at Poitiers and been taken prisoner, Jean sans Peur (the Fearless), Philippe le Bon (the Good), who sold Joan of Arc to the English, and Charles le Temeraire.
They used their tremendous wealth and power – especially their control of Flanders, the dominant manufacturing region of the age – to make Dijon one of the greatest centers of art, learning and science in Europe. It lost its capital status on incorporation into the kingdom of France in 1477, but has remained one of the country's preeminent provincial cities, especially since the rail and industrial booms of the mid-nineteenth century. Today, Dijon is a modern and young city with a thriving base of college-age students.
A short video tour of Dijon and its culture:
Visit the website of the tourist office of Dijon for more information.
Dijon - Places to See
- Palais des Ducs et des Etats de Bourgogne
- Saint-Benigne Cathedral and its 11th-century crypt
- Dijon's museums (free admission)
- The Burgundy vineyard and its wine-tasting cellars