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To enjoy a quality Burgundy wine you just have to get close to a good wine cellar, but it is worth approaching the French region to know its climats : the plots capable of producing an exceptional wine that can itself constitute a designation of origin , thanks to the combination of the type of grape used, the geology of the area, its geographical orientation and the care with which it is taken care of. More than vineyards, they look like gardens. And the best: they are surrounded by places as amazing as these:
In the origins of the Camino de Santiago
It is not risky to affirm that the Way as we know it today was designed in this French region and more specifically in the Benedictine monastery of Cluny , where the Romanesque style is created in the eleventh century before spreading it throughout Christianity, in addition to producing the first great wines of Burgundy. Although the original monastery has been very remodeled it still reflects its greatness and in its surroundings all kinds of festivals and events that attract crowds are organized every year. However, anyone looking for Romanesque architecture in all its splendor has to approach Vézelay , whose basilica dedicated to Saint Mary Magdalene is one of the summits of this style and without doubt one of the most spectacular buildings in France.
The castles of Burgundy are not as famous as those of western France but they are absolutely stunning and of very different styles. From the formidable fortress of Berzé , in whose shadow the vines are grown that will become the delicious Maçon wine to the delirious Chateau de Sully , considered one of the most beautiful buildings in France. Going through that of Commarin that is barely still unperturbed with its more than nine hundred years of history or the very romantic ones of Bussy-Rabutin and Tanlay . And you also want to know one of the most beautiful villages in France that of Chateauneuf-en-Auxois (in the picture) is in one of them. And of course, all are related in one way or another with a good wine.
The glory of the Gauls
Although there are sites related to the Gauls throughout France and the Asterix-related theme park is near Paris who wants to meet this warlike town that gave rise to the French has to travel to Burgundy. There are four essential places: Bibracte, a spectacular site of great dimensions; the Musée du Pays Chatillonnais , in Châtillon sur Seine, which preserves pieces as extraordinary as the treasure of Vix; Autun , a city where Gallic but also Roman remains join; and the Alésia Park , which recreates the Roman conquest of Gaul in a grand show plan.
The most imaginative kitchen
In Burgundy there are 68 Michelin-star chefs, including Éric Pras in front of the Lameloise de Chagny restaurant , but perhaps the most interesting thing is to combine those excellent wines with their local star products, starting with their ineffable snails of gigantic size and that can be savored of many ways. But also its beef trays of a unique flavor to which a festival is dedicated in early December. If you know how to distinguish between different chicken meats, you can be ecstatic by trying the variety of Bresse that is usually cooked with the peculiar vin jaune . And as a condiment nothing comparable to mustard that has been made in Dijon since the High Middle Ages.
Great Gothic Cathedrals
In Burgundy a variety of peculiar Gothic style is developed that can be seen already developed in all its splendor in the Church dedicated to Our Lady of Dijon . It is characterized by having a very deep choir flanked by absidioli and a large central apse in addition to having a second circulation gallery in the upper part. Other excellent examples are the Cathedral of Auxerre , the Collegiate Church of Clamecy or the church of Our Lady of Semur-en-Auxois. Although the great Gothic cathedral in this part of France is undoubtedly that of Sens , one of the largest and most influential in its time. And how could it be otherwise is surrounded by vineyards and wineries.
The natural lung of the region is the Morvan Natural Park , whose peak is the Haut-Folin from where Mont Blanc is seen on clear days but if only a truly overwhelming place could be mentioned that would be La Roche de Solutré (in the image), a rock about five hundred meters high from where a landscape full of vineyards is dominated, which among others are responsible for the quality of three spectacular designations of origin: Pouilly-Fuissé, Saint-Véran and Mâcon-villages. It is also worth exploring the granite Chaos near the town of Uchon , a mysterious landscape that has inspired numerous legends, or Blanot Grottoes on the west flank of Mont St Romain, covered with stalactites and stalagmites.
The magnificence of the Renaissance
Burgundy was during the 15th and 16th centuries one of the nerve centers of the Renaissance style in Europe. Large palaces were built throughout the territory but nothing is comparable to what can be admired in Dijon , the capital of this former duchy. The culmination of this style was carried out in the palace of the former dukes, today transformed into one of the great museums of Fine Arts in France, which has just reopened after a deep remodeling last June. It is also a point of reference to discover this style through the many stately homes of that time that are still preserved in the old part of the city. On the other hand, the Route des Grand Crus, the main wine route of Burgundy, leaves from the same capital to culminate in Santenay, after crossing 37 wine-related locations .
Browse between canals and lakes
With about 1,200 kilometers of navigable canals and a few lakes, Burgundy is the perfect place to enjoy a family boat trip. The longest channel with 240 km, is that of Bourgogne , but perhaps the most spectacular and recommended is the one linked to the Saona river . For wine lovers, however, the channel par excellence is the Center. You can use a péniche hotel, custom cruises but also rent a small boat and after following an express course, go on an adventure. All this combined with walks on foot or on the bikes that can be rented at the same time as the boats. And who looks for sports for adrenaline junkies, the whitewater of the Morvan Natural Park http://www.parcdumorvan.org/ are perfectly adequate.
The spirituality of the Cister
In 1098 Roberto de Molesmes founded in the town of Citeaux , a reformed order that would not only mark a before and after in the history of the Catholic Church but would create a new architectural style that would expand throughout Europe. Today that monastery remains the reference of the Cistercian order and a place of enormous spirituality and historical interest. To know this style in all its splendor however you have to travel a few kilometers, to Marmagne , where the Abbey of Fontenay is located , one of the great monuments of France. It was founded by San Bernardo de Claraval himself in 1118 and since 1981 is part of the World Heritage Site.
The tastiest cheeses
Separate chapter among the great attractions of Burgundy related to wine, are its cheeses that for the French are as important as their wines. Most have been made with cow or goat milk and to acquire them in optimal conditions, you have to travel through the region. Almost all of its highlights have their own cheese. From the Abbey of the Cister, with its delicate Abbey de Citeaux , to Autun that gives its name to a powerful goat's milk cheese, passing through the Crottin du Morvan , the Charolais , the Maçonnais and many others, without forgetting the very famous Brillat- Savarin
How to get there : From Paris or Lyon, you can reach Dijon by train in an hour and a half.
Where to sleep : If you want to explore Burgundy with all luxury staying in unique hotels always surrounded by vineyards and not far from any monument it is worth following the Routes of Happiness (Routes du Bonheur) of the Relais & Chateaux chain.
More information : Burgundy wine has hundreds of different appeals of origin. The important thing is to know if the bottle belongs to the exclusive Grand Cru club (33 in total) or at least the Premier Cru where 561 climats have been included. To learn more, visit www.bourgognefranchecomte.com
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