THINGS TO DO IN BURGUNDY
A visit to the small charming town of BEAUNE with its cobbled streets, art galleries, pavement cafes, fine restaurants and wine cellars is a must, and a tour of the superb 15thC HOSPICES whose museum holds the famous altar piece by the Flemish artist Roger van de Weyden is not to be missed.
The capital of Burgundy is the fine city of DIJON (1.5 hours from us), worth a day visit for its PALAIS DES DUCS, excellent MUSEE DES BEAUX-ARTS and LES HALLES, the large indoor/outdoor market surrounded by cafes and restaurants, particularly colourful on market days. One can take a train to Dijon from Chagny, 20 minutes from us, a more relaxed way to travel there than by car.
To the west of us is AUTUN, the roman capital of France in a past era with its historic roman architecture and ruins and the gateway to the lakes and forests of the MORVAN NATIONAL PARK, a beautiful region of forests and lakes and and important stronghold of the Maquis and their Resistance movement during World War 2. The Resistance Museum is not to be missed.
South of us towards MACON is CLUNY with the ruins of the once great roman abbey and artefacts; it also houses the world-famous equestrian centre and stud. Just before arriving in CLUNY one passes the ecumenical centre of TAIZE, well attended by folk from all over the world and possible to visit for the day.
Further south still, beyond the MACONNAIS, is the charming BEAUJOLAIS region where the villages of FLEURIE, ST. AMOUR, JULIENAS, CHENAS and more offer the classic red wines of beaujolais and the wonderful white wines of the region are to be found in the villages of POUILLY-FUISSE and ST. VERAN amongst others. The region is full of excellent auberges and restaurants for a lunchtime break.
For a change of scenery, the BRESSE, with its flat plains, handsome brick barns and timbered farmhouses is just east of CHALON (25 minutes from us), where the RIVER SAONE wends its way slowly south, bordered by small villages and towns with restaurants offering the wonderful free-range poultry for which it is world-famous, together with classic Burgundian dishes of FRITURE – small fried freshwater fish from the river and POCHOUSE, the local version of mediterranean fish stew, bouillabaisse.
Another 30 minutes further on from the BRESSE you come to the mountain region of the JURA with its own unique wines and food.
WINE AND FOOD:
Being the gastronomic centre of France many wine and food-related events take place throughout the region all year. An example of main events:
- APRIL – all month. Many food and wine events throughout the region
- MAY – 1st weekend: SAULIEU – “Journees Gourmandes” – tasting of local produce & wine. Plus many other events in other villages all month
- JUNE: Lots of wine tastings etc. going on all month
- JUNE/JULY: Bursting with wine and food activities, some combined with music such as “Les Musicaves”. www.musicaves.fr
- AUGUST – 1st weekend: “LA RONDE COUCHOISE” – weekend of “open door” at around 30 cellars in the Couchois, tasting local wines and produce
- AUGUST – 1st weekend: NOLAY – “DU CEP EN VERRE” – festival of wine and folk music
- AUGUST: SAULIEU – CHAROLAIS FESTIVAL – lots of meat and local produce to sample
- AUGUST/SEPT: DIJON – Fetes de la Vigne. www.fetesdelavigne.fr
- SEPT – 1st weekend: NUITS ST GEORGES – La Fete du Cassis
Plus many, many more, especially in October after the grape harvest – details at EN LA MARRE.
Having explored and indulged in all the wine and food you may like a change of activity:
GOLF: – three excellent golf courses nearby:-
CHATEAU D’AVOISE – rue de Macon, Montchanin/Le Creusot (15 kms) – 18 hole championship standard. www.golf-avoise.net
GOLF MUNICIPAL DE CHALON – Parc des Loisirs, St. Nicolas, Chatenoy en Bresse (26 kms) – 18 hole. www.golfchalon.com
GOLF MUNICIPAL D’AUTUN, le Plan d’Eau du Vallon (15 kms) – 9 hole. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Cyclists can take advantage of the wonderful paths created along former railway lines and canal paths, “La Voie Verte”. Bikes and helmets are available at EN LA MARRE at no charge
The same paths are also suitable for WALKING, plus many more, locally amongst the vineyards and hills of the Couchois and throughout the region. The apartments at EN LA MARRE have details of cycling and walking routes.
A very popular sport in France and available in the many lakes, rivers and canals. Permits are required; daily ones can be purchased from the “tabacs”.
HORSERIDING – within 20 mins of us:
Ecuries les Bruyeres, ST. PIERRE DE VARENNES. email@example.com
Centre Equestre et Poney Club de Montvaltin, LE BREUIL (LE CREUSOT)
Le P’tit Canasson, AUXY
Great rocks at “Le Bout du Monde”, NOLAY (6 kms). For others check out: www.climb-europe.com
Various excursions (day, lunch, dinner, picnic etc) available all season on the River Saone at CHALON SUR SAONE (26 kms). Booking required at the Tourist Office in Chalon: email:firstname.lastname@example.org
For “Culture Vultures”, Burgundy has much to offer apart from its roman history. AUTUN, CHALON, BEAUNE and DIJON all have theatres and cinemas and many cultural events take place all season, the most popular being:
“L’ESTIVADE” in DIJON, last week in June – a week-long wide variety of cultural events taking place in numerous locations in and around Dijon. www.dijon.fr
“CHALON DANS LA RUE” in CHALON, 3rd week in July – a festival of national and international street artistes and musicians – very popular with all ages. www.chalondanslarue.com
“AUGUSTODUNUM” at the roman ampitheatre in AUTUN, last week July/1st week August – a “son et lumiere” night-time spectacle of the roman history of Autun in which the whole town takes part – great fun! www.augustodunum.org
“FOLKLORIADES INTERNATIONALES ET FETES DE LA VIGNE” in DIJON, end August, beg. September – a week-long folkloric dance festival. www.fetesdelavigne.fr
There are numerous art and sculpture exhibitions throughout the region, especially in TOURNUS, CLUNY, BEAUNE and DIJON.
FOR MUSIC LOVERS
There is a wide range of events taking place to suit all tastes, from jazz and blues to folk and classical, e.g:
BLUES at LE CREUSOT, last week in June – a high standard of national and international blues artistes at le Chateau de la Verrerie: www.festival-du-bleus.com
“JAZZ A COUCHES” – 2nd week in July. National and international artistes in outdoor and indoor concerts over the week: www.jazzacouches.fr
BEAUNE INTERNATIONAL FESTIVAL OF BAROQUE MUSIC – each weekend in July: www.festivalbeaune.com
FOR A ONCE-IN-A-LIFETIME EXPERIENCE WHY NOT TRY:
BALLOONING OVER THE VINEYARDS
– a truly magical experience for that special occasion -one company operating from BEAUNE: www.beaune-montgolfiere.com
Ballooning championship “Les Montgolfiades” takes place in June at CHALON SUR SAONE with balloon rides and winetastings: www.montgolfiades71.com
The summer months are busy with musical concerts in the surrounding local villages including the very popular :
“NUITS DE MONT ROME”– last week in July at ST. SERNIN DU PLAIN (6 kms), fabulous evening open-air concerts held in a roman ampitheatre created on the side of Mont Rome by France’s last living composer of contemporary music, Patrice Sciortino: www.nuitsdumontrome.org
Details of all the main cultural events taking place throughout the season are available at EN LA MARRE.