Vineyards producing world-famous Burgundy and Beaujolais wines with iconic names – no less than 49 million bottles a year - tasty regional food from simple to gourmet, miles of greenways and cycling routes and a voyage of discovery around French history. These are the highlights of a holiday in Burgundy and Saône-et-Loire, its most southerly department. Oh, and the cachet of having discovered a little known region of France.
For me, the great excitement is that name Pouilly Fuissé. It’s one of my favourite wines – and pretty expensive to buy in England. So for my trip to Burgundy, I would definitely drive down and enjoy the thrill of visiting vineyards producing this queen of wines, buying excellent quality at a good price and filling the boot with this and some new discoveries that I’d make – possibly at the recommendation of my hosts, since so many French Connections owners have fantastic local knowledge and enthusiasm for passing it on.
If you visit in May, you’ll catch two of the oldest wine fairs in France, the ‘Concours des Grands Vins de France’ and ‘Foire Nationale des Vins’. Since the French are so good at both wine and communal celebrations, either of these could be quite an event. Don’t forget to pack your dancing shoes and favourite hangover cure!
Chalon Sur Saône is the capital of Saône-et-Loire and the second city of Burgundy. Set on the river, as the name suggests, it was a port in those long and important Gallo Roman times, has many half-timbered medeival houses around its inviting main square, a cathedral with superb cloister and some interesting museums. The Denon Museum has fine arts and archaeology whilst the Niépce Museum is dedicated to the inventor of photography, born in Chalon in 1816.
Southern Burgundy offers nearly 350 km of cycle routes, with facilities and services available throughout the route. I must admit, I feel rather enthused by the local tourist office’s invitation to follow the Voie Verte on foot, on horseback, on rollerskates or on a bike and discover vineyards, water meadows, forests...and the next day you could do a bit of water skiing on a lake. You can…just because you’re in France!
Discover your ideal place to stay in Burgundy and Saône-et-Loire and read our complete guide to the region