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Most Beautiful Villages in Burgundy Wine Region, France07/04/2020
Route des Vins Bourgogne (Burgundy Wine Trail)
Burgundy (Bourgogne in French) is a historic wine region located in eastern France and today part of the new Bourgogne-Franche Comté region.
Burgundy wine region produces some of the most exclusive wines throughout the world and also the most expensive. Wine from Burgundy includes several famous French wines, with the region best known for its Chardonnay (white Burgundy), Beaujolais Nouveau, and Pinot Noir (Burgundy red wine). Other types of Burgundy wine include a small number of roses and sparkling wines.
Burgundy Wine Region France is not only about wine, vineyards, and domains: the region has also an extraordinary historical heritage, with beautiful French castles and abbeys, and some of the towns of Burgundy are recognized as the most beautiful in France.
Whilst touring the Burgundy Wine Region you’ll travel from appellation to appellation and you will be surprised to encounter village names that you’ll recognize from the labels of your favorite wine of Burgundy: Chablis, Meursault, Beaujolais, and Rully… Stop off to enjoy the most beautiful villages in Burgundy and taste their wines and own produce as you go.
Our favorite villages of Burgundy are located along 3 of the main Burgundy Wine Trails (Yonne, Grands Crus, Mâconnais /Beaujolais), each with its own particular character and of course wines! If your time for visiting the region of Burgundy is limited we suggest sticking to one single Burgundy Wine Trail: travel slow and enjoy quality over quantity!
How to visit the Small Towns of Burgundy Wine Region
Despite we love traveling by train, this area is best explored by car. If you don’t have your own car, you can rent one in all the main cities in France. If you want to avoid the car hassle in the big cities, you can take a direct train from Paris or Lyon to Dijon in Burgundy and start your road trip from Dijon. Before hitting the French roads, we recommend having a look at our France by Car quick guide.
Yonne Wine Trail
La Route Touristique des Vignobles de l’Yonne, between Auxerre and Tonnerre, is an enchanting area to explore. The French vineyard of Yonne is primarily known for the Chablis wine but there are other vineyards to explore. Visit its charming, picturesque wine villages, such as Auxerre or Vézelay, and meet the region’s passionate winegrowers. Stroll through the areas of Chablis, Auxerre, and Tonnerre and call in at some wineries to taste their wines.
Noyers-Sur-Serein is one of the most beautiful medieval villages of Burgundy, thanks to its beautiful setting and the unique preservation of its architectural heritage. Indeed, no less than 78 buildings are listed as Historical Monuments in this prosperous town.
Explore Noyers’ ramparts flanked by 19 towers and 3 fortified gates and stroll the village’s narrow cobbled streets with their half-timbered houses while some Renaissance-style hotel particuliers compete in beauty with stunning winegrowers’ houses. Bordered by vineyards of the Grand Crus de Bourgogne and crossed by the Serein River, there’s no lack of photo opportunities in Noyers-Sur-Serein.
Avallon is a cute historic town enclosed in the Natural Regional Park of Morvan. Founded by the Romans, wandering around Avallon is like a trip back in time with its winding cobbled streets, medieval fortifications, and towers.
Once you have enjoyed Avallon’s fantastic heritage, you are never far from the lakes and the forests of Morvan, perfect for a day trip from Avallon.
Auxerre is the capital of the Yonne department and the fourth-largest city in Burgundy. It is crossed by the river Yonne, a tributary of the Seine River. Auxerre has a very important architectural heritage, with beautiful Medieval and Renaissance buildings. For this reason, Auxerre received in 1995 the label “Ville d’Art et d’Histoire” (city of arts and history) with almost all its historical center protected.
Wander the old town with its beautiful churches, half-timbered houses, and its iconic Clock Tower. Also, you can rent an electric boat to sail the Nivernais canal and admire Auxerre’s main sights from the water.
Vézelay is a picturesque village located on the top of a hill and surrounded by ramparts, well known for its Romanesque basilica Sainte Marie Magdaleine and for its historical heritage.
A must of any Bourgogne trip, Vézelay is also the departure point of one of the main roads to Santiago de Compostela in France, the Via Lemovicencis, and an important pilgrimage site for Christians in France.
Both the town and the basilica are Unesco Heritage Sites and it’s a beautiful place to explore, perhaps in combination with some Burgundy wine tastings at the local producers. If you decide to spend the night in Vézelay, there are beautiful hotels located outside the walls while in inner Vézelay there are many little restaurants proposing great local food.
Grands Crus Wine Trail
The Route des Grands Crus de Bourgogne, between Dijon and Beaune, is the must-see wine region of Burgundy. Also called “The Champs Elysees of Burgundy” because of its prestige, this marked route of 60 km crosses the Côtes de Nuits, Côtes de Beaune and their Hautes Côtes trough picturesque roads never far from the main roads. Côte de Nuits showcases 24 Grand Cru French vineyards producing some of Burgundy’s best red wines.
Visit Dijon, the capital of Ducs de Bourgogne, and Beaune with its unique Hospices. Explore some charming Burgundy villages and see their highest-quality vineyards. Uncover the secrets of the best wines of Burgundy by drinking wine and chatting with the small producers.
Timeless Beaune is the capital of Bourgogne wines so if you want to explore the Burgundy Wine Region it’s almost impossible to miss Beaune.
Discover picturesque Beaune by strolling its winding streets and admiring some of its main sights such as Notre-Dame Basilica, the Museum of Fine Arts or the famous Hôtel-Dieu, a wonder of the Burgundian architecture. If you are looking for an enology course, do it in Beaune.
Saulieu is a walled town that exists since Roman times, with beautiful historical buildings at every corner. This cute small town in Burgundy is also the gateway to the Morvan Regional Natural Park with endless outdoor activities.
If history and nature are not enough, Saulieu proposes visitors a gourmet stopover with excellent local produce and several great internationally renowned restaurants.
At the turn of a meander of Armançon River, Semur-en-Auxois raises its red roofs on a promontory of pink granite.
Semur-en-Auxois has a legendary origin, it was built by Hercules on his way back to Spain! Enter the walled village of Semur, wander its cobbled alleyways and admire the town’s beautiful architecture of half-timbered houses, dominated by the Gothic collegiate church, and the donjon. It’s no wonder, then, that the picturesque Semur-en-Auxois bears the label “Cité de Caractère de Bourgogne-Franche Comté“.
Châteauneuf-en-Auxois is one of the “most beautiful villages in France”, located in the Côte d’Or department. The village stands on a rocky outcrop and it is surrounded by a medieval fortress, with beautiful stone houses, churches and pediments, and turrets of the XV century. Don’t’ miss Châteauneuf’s castle, a superb example of medieval military architecture.
The romantic village of Flavigny-Sur-Ozerain, located beyond the hills of Montbard, is another village in Bourgogne with the label “most beautiful villages in France”.
Follow the ramparts walk, stroll the medieval streets with its stone houses from the Middle Ages and Rennaissance and admire its beautiful Benedictine abbey, the architecture of Flavigny is a wonder! But Flavigny-Sur-Ozerain is also a paradise for foodies with its excellent restaurants proposing local cuisine with fresh produce. In addition to the Bourgogne wines, the abbey is the only place producing the famous Anis de Flavigny with a recipe that has remained unchanged since the sixteenth century.
Did you know? Flavigny-Sur-Ozerain and its vineyards served in 2000 as a backdrop of the film “Chocolat”, with Juliette Binoche and Johnny Depp.
Mâconnais /Beaujolais WineTrail
Head for the southernmost Burgundy Wine Route, the Route des Vins du Mâconnais/Beaujolais. This is the region where you’ll find your value-driven wines. Not the best, but still good, and at a great price.
From the south of Chalon-sur-Saône, close to Lyon, enjoy the rich history and panoramic views of the vineyards. Visit the famous Cluny Abbey and the magical Roche de Solutré. Stop at some beautiful Burgundy villages surrounded by picturesque countryside and meet the locals who would be happy to share their passion for wine growing.
Tournus, located on the banks of the Saone River, is a city steeped in history well known for its awesome architectural heritage. The abbey Saint-Philibert is a masterpiece of the first Romanesque art while the Hôtel-Dieu-museum, the river banks of the Saone or the Bicycle Museum are also worth a detour.
If you are looking for good gastronomy, don’t leave Tournus without trying its excellent cuisine in one of the restaurants that have made the city’s international reputation.
We hope you enjoyed our list of most beautiful villages in the Burgundy Wine Region. What are your favorite Burgundy towns?
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