Towns of Burgundy
The reputation of Burgundy often centres around its wine heritage, but while few producers can match the sophistication of Burgundian wines, there is much more to the region than its vineyards and appellations. Its towns and villages bear testament to a rich cultural heritage, while grand châteaux and religious monuments continually enchant visitors.
To discover the towns of Burgundy is to explore an area of France that has been integral to the development of the modern nation, and to savour a taste of traditional life in a place that is noted for celebrating the finer things in life.
Known as the wine capital of Burgundy, Beaune is a resplendent city that offers myriad ancient and historic attractions that connect the modern era to times past, with battlements, city walls, ramparts and even a moat demonstrating its wealth during the period of the duchy. It is, of course, its accessibility to a host of famous wine villages that ensures Beaune welcomes tourists all year round. And with such landmarks as Notre-Dame de Beaune and picture perfect vineyards to discover, there is little about the city that does not delight.
Nearly 50km north of Beaune, the former capital of the Dukes of Burgundy, Dijon, presents a compelling array of charming attractions to discover. This is a city known for its gastronomic heritage, with annual festivals attracting hundreds of thousands of eager tourists, and the famed Dijon mustard proving one of the region’s most revered exports.
Aside from the culinary charms and the inevitable association with leading wineries, there is history and culture in abundance throughout Dijon. A selection of museums provides insight into the history of the region, while strolling among the mansions and religious structures offers a first-hand look at how the town’s grandeur once attracted the French nobility.
Resting on the banks of the Saône river in southern Burgundy, Chalon-sur-Saône’s major claim to fame is being the birthplace of photography. It was here in the 19th century that Nicephore Niepce would play a pioneering role in developing the art, capturing the View from the Window at Le Gras – the oldest surviving photograph in the world. Discover more about the advancement of photography with a visit to the local museum, or perhaps engage in some photography of the town’s main sights, such as St Vincent’s Cathedral and picturesque riverside scenes.
Each town in the Burgundy region offers something to captivate the visitor, whether it be in its exceptional cuisine, the finest wines available, or in the scenic views at every turn. And, for those with an interest in history, there is much to uncover throughout the region, with the legacy of the Dukes of Burgundy evident in the art and architecture found within the towns.