The first time I came to the Burgundy region of France (Bourgogne in French) was a few years ago. At that time, I came by train as part of a day trip from Paris and visited the town of Beaune. There in the city centre of Beaune, you’ll find plenty of “Caves” or wine cellars that are open to the public for tasting. That was a great experience for me and because I enjoyed that so much, I knew that I wanted to come back and do it again. But this time, rather than staying within the city limits of Beaune, I wanted to come out to the actual vineyards. After all, this is where the magic takes place!

The wines of Burgundy are pretty much straight forward: Chardonnay for white wines and Pinot Noir for red wines. Burgundy also has really delicious  “Crémant de Bourgogne” which is sparkling wines of Burgundy and those are often from blended grapes. So now you know, when you hear of Burgundy wine, you’ll know that you’re having either a Chardonnay or a Pinot Noir! There are a couple of other grapes out there, but this is a general rule to help guide you.

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The region of Burgundy includes many little villages or sub-regions called Appellations. Some of these areas are celebrity status and are known for their prestige wines. Examples would be the sub-regions or Appellations called Gevrey- Chambertin, Chambolle-Musigny, or Vougeot. This is because of where the vines are planted- location, location, location! Another thing too is the reputation of the winemaker. As with anything, brand matters. You’ll see the word “Cru” on the label which means this wine has a higher “standing” than others. And when you see the words “Grand Cru“, that means this is the Rolls Royce in the world of Burgundy wines!

For my drive in Burgundy, I started in the northern part known as Côtés de Nuits and made my down to the area of Mâconnais, which is the southernmost part. Route D-974 is an easy and scenic drive. All of the villages and vineyards are situated right there, one after the next, and you can do this drive in half a day, depending on how long you want to drag it out (e.g. Stopping for lunch, taking photos, visiting shops or churches, etc).

Notice too in the photos the grand estates situated throughout Burgundy, evidence of the long standing history of wealth and prestige associated with this world renowned region of a France!

 

 

 

Besides wines, Burgundy is also rich with many beautiful and historic sites…

The town of Cluny, where the Abbey is located

Medieval village of Brancion, where residents still live today 

 

And this was some random château that I came across while driving. It seems to be open as an “Auberge” or hotel. You’ll see quite a few of these random sites like several châteaux, abbeys and other cool places. 

For my base in Burgundy, I chose the not-so-well-known small town of Tournus. I had considered initially going to Beaune. But in comparison, although Beaune is very charming, since it is well-known most visitors go there to stay, and as a result is more touristy and a little more commercial. I wanted someplace a little more authentic and so I looked elsewhere. I found Tournus simply by looking at a map and after reading about this medieval town, I thought it sounded interesting and decided to make it home while in the region. I’m so happy that I did because Tournus is great! The next time I visit Burgundy I plan to go back there.

 

 

I almost don’t even want to talk about the place that I stayed because I’m afraid that the more people who find out about this place, the more popular it will be. It was just way too cool and the hosts Thierry and Sophie were so warm and gracious!  But La Tour du Trésorier is a Château bed & breakfast that dates back to the Medieval ages. You can still see the walls from during the time it was built to protect the Abbey Saint Philibert, situated just across.

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The hallway that you see here was once a street passageway. It led from the back of the estate to the city centre. The renovations on this historic site are incredible!!!

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Original walls dating back to the 11th century. However, it wasn’t until after the 15th century when things felt “safe”, that is when all the invasions were over because the church was under constant attack, that openings such as these doors and windows could be added in.

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My room…

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The Abbey of St. Philibert is just steps away…

 

 

Sophie and Thierry were so helpful in everything- places to see, scenic routes to go for a drive and restaurants. My favorite meal was just a few minutes walk from the Château at a family-run restaurant appropriately named La Bourgogne. The place is only about as big as one’s dining room in the US with just enough space to fit three small tables. The owner, a middle aged woman is the same person who not only seats guests, but takes their orders and then serves the food. The guy in the back, le chef, after he’s done preparing the meals comes out with glasses in hand and a large bottle of digestif (after dinner drink) made locally to serve the guests. And then…he goes out front to water the plants. Gotta love it!

Escargot

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Bresse chicken prepared in white wine mushroom sauce (Bresse is a nearby town known for the finest quality of naturally raised chickens). Amazingly delicious!

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Next to Lyon…