The beautiful town of Dijon.
A Burgundy farmhouse.
David buys some mustard.
Burgundy is a wine-lover's mecca. And apart from the lure of wineries, it's a destination with just about everything else.
Apart from the lure of wineries, Burgundy is a destination popular for bicycling, fishing, golfing, hiking, horse-riding, ballooning, river cruising and hunting.
Many vineyards are remote and best discovered by car, though public transport in the area is quite good. There are 12 trains a day from Paris to Dijon, and two a day from Beaune to Paris. There is a bus system throughout the Côte d'Or that stops at several wine-making villages, with about six a day from Dijon to Beaune.
Burgundy is a historic region. From 1364 to 1477 the dukes of Burgundy had more power than the kings, and the last of the dukes, Charles the Bold, kept Burgundy constantly at war. After his demise, King Louis XI annexed Burgundy to France.
The Romans were responsible for introducing wine growing to France, and the church developed Burgundy's winemaking methods. Today there are about 150 producers.
Dijon, the capital of Burgundy, is the gateway to the grapes, and is the mustard capital of the world. It is 320km from Paris, and despite its history has a youthful feel, mainly because of the 30,000 university students who live there. There are many excellent examples of medieval and Renaissance architecture, with the town's focal point being a statue of the grape-treading François Rude. Although the town has modern parts, there is very definitely an ancient feel to it.
There are many museums to see, and a visit to the home of Grey Poupon, where they have been making the mustard since 1777, is almost a must.
Forty kilometres south of Dijon is Beaune, where fine wines are produced, aged and sold, in one of France's best tasting areas. Beneath the streets is a labyrinth of centuries-old cellars, dimly lit and with an almost holy ambience. The Patriarche Père et Fils cellars have 10 million bottles in a five-kilometre maze of corridors.
A gîte is a place in the country which is available for rent. It might be a farmhouse, cottage, apartment, townhouse, or part of a family home. They are usually only available for weekly rental. Most supply linen, but there could be an extra charge. Use of a pool, barbecue, heating, firewood and post-stay cleaning may cost extra as well.
There are about 40,000 gîtes available throughout France, and you can make all arrangements before you leave Australia. Bookings are made direct with the owner, and you will be given any directions you may need. It is a good idea to book at least six months in advance.