Picturesque vineyards, towering medieval castles, panoramic vistas paired with beautiful local wines, and sumptuous cuisine are the hallmarks of France’s Burgundy region. Filled with must-see tourist attractions and charming gems, the Burgundy countryside beckons you to slow down and enjoy every delicious moment.
There is so much to see as you travel through Burgundy, it would take months of exploration to experience all the region’s secrets. I have highlighted a few of my favorite spots for your itinerary consideration.
The Grapes Of The Burgundy Region
A wine lover’s dream destination, Burgundy is known for four grape varieties, including two reds (pinot noir and gamay) and two whites (chardonnay and aligoté).
The pinot noir grapes are dark-blue/purple and grow in clusters shaped like pine cones. Gamay is a very old variety; it is the main grape for red wines of the Mâconnais wine region. Chardonnay is the most prominent and well-known white grape. It produces wines that are crisp and delicious. Aligoté has been growing in the region since the 18th century, producing a dry white wine.
The increasing popularity of wine tastings and wine tourism has become its own wine-focused getaway — otherwise known as Vini Tourism. Exploring different vineyards, tastings, and collecting is a popular pastime. You will find a wide selection of historic vineyards throughout the region and Burgundy wine tastings will take you on a journey through centuries of wine making.
1. Château De Garnerot Wine Tasting
We enjoyed several wines at the Château de Garnerot wine tasting. Pinot noir is my go-to red and it was everything I expected and then some. Perfect for special occasions or a quiet dinner at home, a great pinot noir takes me to the Burgundy region with every sip. The Bourgogne Côte Chalonnaise is a fruity, 100 percent pinot noir that has spent 10 months aging in oak barrels. The rich ruby color sets the stage for a wonderful experience. It’s perfect with a hearty charcuterie of robust cheeses and luscious cured meats.
A visit to the historic, female-owned Château de Garnerot will immerse you in the heart and soul of Burgundy wines and winemaking.
2. Domaine Nadine Ferrand Wine Tasting
When you enter the sparkling world of the Domaine Nadine Ferrand for a wine tasting, the modern design and hip vibe is a paradox in this historic wine region. Vintner Ferrand showcases Pouilly-Fuissé with her stylish sense of joie de vivre. The region’s super-dry chardonnay grapes, under her watchful eye, produce a delicate and refreshing sip.
3. Dijon Mustard & Gingerbread
The gateway into the beautiful Burgundy region is charming Dijon. Famous for its spicy mustard, Dijon is a lovely spot to wander, shop, and sample local cuisine.
Edmond Fallot’s La Moutarderie is the best shop to purchase your iconic Dijon mustard souvenir. They are one of the few producers who still use mustard seeds from France in their products. Your palate is in for a surprise when you begin your La Moutarderie mustard-tasting adventure. Interesting flavors like gingerbread, black currant, and horseradish will simultaneously confuse and delight your taste buds.
Another regional must-taste is the gingerbread from Mulot & Petitjean. Made with honey, this gingerbread offers a different flavor profile than the classic gingerbread. It is delicious!
You can enjoy a leisurely, self-guided tour through the old city. The Tourist Information Office’s tour is guided by small, owl-engraved triangles embedded in the streets and alleys. The Owl’s Trail will meander you through the ancient streets, stopping at Dijon’s architectural and historical highlights.
4. Château De Couches
Experience the beautiful Castle of Marguerite of Burgundy, also known as the Château de Couches. The medieval fortress has been extremely well-preserved. It offers the perfect high perch along a bluff; the castle was built as a protective fortress between Paris and Chalon-sur-Saône.
Guests can tour the castle, enjoy a lovely meal, explore the beautiful landscaped grounds, and sip the local wine. Overnight guests will enjoy a magical stay in the castle and sleep like a king or queen. Ghost sightings are not guaranteed!
5. Château De Cormatin
Burgundy is filled with vineyards and castles. One of the most stunning castles in the region is Château de Cormatin. The castle is home to luxurious private apartments of the Marquises of Huxelles. The rooms are filled with meticulously painted ceilings and doors, historic tapestries, beautiful period furnishings, and fascinating art.
The gardens are a controlled chaos of color and whimsy. It’s exactly the spot you would imagine an important noble would fritter away a sunny Burgundy afternoon.
6. Maison De Bois
Mâcon rises from the banks of the Saône River. As you leave the river and pass through the modern city, near the top of the climb, you enter the older section, home to Maison de Bois.
The carved wooden structure dominates the square, casting a dark patina against a mix of modern and ancient buildings. Upon close observation, the carvings reveal odd and curious mythical beasts and human forms. The building’s long and storied history is part urban legend and part truth. Today, as tourists gawk, locals dash in and out of the popular French brasserie — La Maison de Bois — that graces the lower level.
7. Vieux Saint-Vincent
Throughout Mâcon, beautiful Gothic and Romanesque architecture sits side by side with modern buildings, blending together as if by magic. One of the most majestic buildings is the archaeological site of Vieux Saint-Vincent.
The cathedral’s two Romanesque towers and narthex (antichamber) remain standing. The site is a magnificent structure and well-worth a walk-around.
8. Cluny Abbey
Just west of Mâcon is one of the medieval era’s greatest monasteries. Thirteenth-century history buffs will enjoy wandering the ruins of Cluny Abbey. A few remaining sections of the Benedictine monastery are viewable. The former Abbey site is also home to the Museum of Art and Archeology of Cluny.
9. Medieval Houses
Winding cobbled streets and narrow alleyways branching off from steep climbs, the medieval houses of the old town of Viviers are a mysterious traverse through a city time once forgotten. While locals still reside behind these fortress-like stone buildings, the town is eerily quiet at night. You can almost hear the ghosts of Viviers past tip-toeing behind you.
Tread carefully, the streets are filled with roaming cats.
Tournus (pronounced “Toor-new”) is a charming town on the banks of the Saône River. Walk up from the river and immerse yourself in the quiet life of the residents. If you are lucky to be there on market day, your senses will be happily assaulted with mouth-watering aromas, eye-popping colors, and snippets of conversation over the call of vendors plying their goods.
In the center of the city is the Saint Philibert Abbey, a pretty little 12th-century church. Like many Burgundian cities along the river, you walk up, up, up; enjoy the view; and then walk down, down, down.
Grand Cru Wines
Many books and stories have been written about the world’s most expensive wines from the Grand Cru vineyards of Burgundy. The most recent, and undoubtedly the most intriguing, is Shadows in the Vineyard: The True Story of the Plot to Poison the World’s Greatest Wine by Maximillian Potter. The story traces a generation of vignerons and the Grand Cru vineyards they are responsible to oversee. The plot unwinds into an unfathomable threat to these cherished vines. It is a perfect tale for history buffs who love true crime and wine.