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  • Best of all worlds in Burgundy and the Côte-d'Or

    If you appreciate beautiful  countryside, rivers and canals, historic towns and authentic French food and wine, then you’re likely to arrive in Burgundy and breathe a deep sigh of pleasure.  Our featured region this month is also a haven for artists, writers and bird watchers – a corner of France where it’s possible to be both relaxed and inspired by the surroundings and way of life.

    Burgundy has been described as the heart of France, summing up so much that is appealing about the country to Francophiles. It lies to the south-east of Paris and two of its most famous names are located in the Côte-d'Or department – Dijon, city of gastronomy, and Beaune, home of the fine wine.

  • Celebrating the Burgundy wine harvest

    Burgundy, our region of the month, lies at the heart of France and is often said also to be at the heart of French cuisine. Many traditional French dishes such as coq au vin, beef bourguignon and escargots all come from Burgundy.

    Whilst the region is known for its prestigious gastronomy, rich history and many castles, Burgundy is of course most famous for its rich red wines – not to forget some pretty decent whites! Here, gentle rolling hillsides are covered with vineyards and September is a great month to explore them as it marks the beginning of the grape harvest season in France.

    The French grape harvest or vendage is always cause for revelry, ritual and celebration – but especially so in Burgundy. In September, you could easily bounce around the many wine related festivals, from the Jazz and Wine Festival of Burgundy in Beaune, from 17th to 19th, to the Heralding of the Harvest in Saint Emillion, from 19th to 20th and the Fête des Fromages Nuits St. Georges, also held on 19th and 20th.

    The Marché aux Vins in the centre of Beaune, next to the Hotel-Dieu, is an excellent introduction to the best wines of the region. There you can taste the famous names from Meursault to Puligny-Montrachet at your leisure. The Marché aux Vins is open every day and the visit and tasting costs 10 euros per person.

    Wine has shaped Burgundy's way of life for centuries and its wine making tradition goes back to the monks of Cluny and Citeaux. Chablis, in the Yonne, is the first of the great Burgundy whites and the Auxerrois wine route curves and winds through mediaeval villages surrounded by their vines, with whole communities devoted to its production.

    The countryside of the Cote d'Or is marked by an endless patchwork of carefully tended vines and you can follow the Route des Vins and sample and buy.

    Southern Burgundy is still wine country and Tournus makes an ideal base for visiting the Chalonnais and Maconnais vineyards and exploring. Don’t forget to check out the fragrant white Pouilly- Fuissé here.

    We have beautiful self-catering cottages and luxury gites to book as your holiday home base for exploring Burgundy, or you could stay in an authentic auberge or chateau for a true taste of the traditional wine estate way of life.

  • Semur-en-Auxois, Burgundy - Photo Friday - 15 January 2010

    The river Armançon gently meandering under Pinard Bridge in Semur-en-Auxois, Burgundy.[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Semur-en-Auxois, Burgundy (click for larger image)"]Semur-en-Auxois, Burgundy[/caption] The river Armançon gently meandering under Pinard Bridge in Semur-en-Auxois, Burgundy. At one time the river provided power for tanneries and mills but now the flow is much reduced by the Lac de Pont, a 19th century dam upstream. Walk around the ramparts and visit the delightful town of Semur-en-Auxois. For more information about Semur-en-Auxois click here
  • The best Chocolate shops in the world? - Photo Friday 29 January 2010

    The best Chocolate shops, are they in France? Artisan chocolatiers are found all over France and they bring genuine artistic flair to their chocolate making, concocting the finest in both traditional and eclectic recipes.