Countless pleasures await you in this delightful part of Burgundy
Wine and vineyards may be the first things that come to mind when you think of Burgundy, but there’s so much more to enjoy. En La Marre’s location, 45 minutes from Beaune, gives you an ideal base from which to take in everything from spectacular architecture and historic monuments to hill walking and canal trips.
Of course, if you’re keen to sample the famous Côte d’Or wines and see where they come from, you’re well placed to sniff out some of Burgundy’s finest, including Meursault and Nuits-Saint-Georges.
The walled town of Beaune is one of the must-sees of the Burgundy region. Wander along its cobbled streets, browse its art galleries, stop off at one of the pavement cafés or wine cellars. Above all, don’t miss the 15th-century former almshouse, which is now the Hôtel-Dieu Museum, showcasing masterpieces such as Le Jugement Dernier by Flemish artist Rogier Van der Weyden.
45 minutes by car.
The capital of Burgundy, Dijon is home to some impressive architecture ranging from Gothic to art deco. The 18th-century Musée des Beaux-Arts situated in the enormous Palais des Ducs has a rich collection of sculptures arts and antiquities. A short walk from the palace is the huge covered market Les Halles – open four mornings a week.
Around 1.5 hours by car. Or drive to Chagny (20 mins) and take the train to Dijon (35 mins).
Autun and Morvan National Park
To the west is Autun, a small town that belies its historical significance as the Roman capital of France. Among the numerous Roman remnants is an amphitheatre, which was the largest of its time.
From Autun, you’re well placed to explore the Morvan National Park, with its forests and lakes and whole range of outdoor activities from whitewater rafting and mountain biking to diving and climbing.
Morvan Resistance Museum
Located within the Morvan Nature Park Centre, the Morvan Resistance Museum gives a remarkable insight into the role of the Maquis French Resistance rural guerrilla fighters during the Second World War.
Cluny and Taizé
South, towards Mâcon, is the commune of Cluny, where you can see the ruins of a former Benedictine monastery. Aside from its theological significance, Cluny is home to the National Stud Farm of Cluny, a world-famous equestrian centre and stud renowned for its purebred stallions, created on the order of Napoleon I.
En route to Cluny, you pass Taizé, home to an ecumenical monastic community, which has become a place of pilgrimage, especially for young adults.
Wine villages of south Burgundy
Head further south, beyond the Maconnais, and you come to the Beaujolais region, where the villages of Fleurie, Saint Amour, Julienas and Chenas give their names to the classic red Beaujolais wines. For famous whites, make for Pouilly-Fuissé and Saint Veran. If you fancy a tipple or a taste of local cuisine, you’ll find excellent restaurants and auberges aplenty.
For a change of scenery, head east beyond Chalon (a 25-minute drive) to the Bresse, where vineyards give way to flat plains dotted with handsome brick barns and timbered farmhouses.
Here, the River Saône wends its way south past small towns and villages, where you can stop off and enjoy some of the region’s classic dishes: the world-famous Bresse free-range poultry, friture – a small fried freshwater fish – and pochouse, the local version of Mediterranean fish stew, bouillabaisse.
Another 30 minutes further on from the Bresse, you come to the mountain region of the Jura… and that too, has its own unique wines and food.
The River Saône at Chalon
Once described as ‘the queen of poultry, the poultry of kings” – Photo: Arnaud 25
Friture – made with fish fresh from the Saône
Pochouse – a classic Burgundian fish stew
Seasonal Gastronomic Events in Burgundy
As the gastronomic centre of France, Burgundy is host to numerous food and wine events throughout the year. Here are some of them:
April – All month. Various food and wine events throughout the region.
May – First weekend: Journées Gourmandes in Saulieu– Tasting of local produce and wine. Plus many other events in other villages all month.
June – Lots of wine tastings throughout the month
June-July – Bursting with wine and food activities, some combined with music such as Les Musicaves
August – First weekend: La Ronde Couchoise – a weekend of “open door” at around 30 cellars in the Couchois, tasting local wines and produce
August – First weekend Du Cep en Verre in Nolay – festival of wine and folk music
August – Charolais Festival – lots of meat and local produce to sample
August-September – Fêtes de la Vigne in Dijon.
September – First weekend: La Fete du Cassis in Nuits-Saint-George
Plus many, many more, especially in October after the grape harvest. Ask us for details.
Things to Do
If you’re looking for a bit of action or recreation in between visiting Burgundy’s sights and attractions, you won’t have to go far.
Chateau d’Avoise – rue de Macon, Montchanin/Le Creusot (15 kms) – 18 hole championship standard. www.golf-avoise.net
Golf Municipal de Chalon – Parc des Loisirs, St. Nicolas, Chatenoy en Bresse (26 kms) – 18 hole. www.golfchalon.com
Golf Municipal d’Autun – le Plan d’Eau du Vallon (15 kms) – 9 hole. www.golfautun.fr
Cycling and Walking
Cyclists can take advantage of the wonderful paths created along former railway lines and canal paths, La Voie Verte. Bikes and helmets are available at En la Marre at no charge.
The same paths are also suitable for walking, plus many more, locally amongst the vineyards and hills of the Couchois and throughout the region. We have cycling and walking maps and routes for your reference at En la Marre.
A very popular sport in France and available in the many lakes, rivers and canals. Permits are required; daily ones can be purchased from the “tabacs”.
We have three riding stables within 20 minutes’ drive:
Ecuries les Bruyeres, Saint Pierre de Varennes firstname.lastname@example.org
Centre Equestre et Poney Club de Montvaltin, Le Breuil (Le Creusot)
Le P’tit Canasson, Auxy
Great rocks at Le Bout du Monde, Nolay (6 kms). For others, check out www.climb-europe.com
Various excursions (day, lunch, dinner, picnic) available all season on the River Saône at Chalon sur Saône (26 kms). Booking required at the Tourist Office in Chalon: email:email@example.com
Hot air ballooning
A truly magical experience for that special occasion. One company operating from Beaune is Beaune Mongolfiere
A ballooning championship Les Montgolfiades takes place in June at Chalon-sur-Saône with balloon rides and wine-tastings. See www.montgolfiades71.com
We have information on all the main cultural events taking place throughout the season at En la Marre and will be happy to help you plan your itinerary.
Open air concert Nuits du Mont Rome
For ‘culture vultures’, Burgundy has far more to offer than its Roman history. Autun, Chalon, Beaune and Dijon all have theatres and cinemas and many cultural events take place all season. The most popular are:
L’Esitvade in Dijon, – Last week in June – A week-long wide programme of cultural events in various locations in and around Dijon. www.dijon.fr
Chalon dans la Rue in Chalon – Third week in July – A festival of national and international street artistes and musicians – very popular with all ages. www.chalondanslarue.com
Augustodunum at the Roman amphitheatre in Autun – Last week July / First week August – a son-et-lumiere night-time spectacle of the Roman history of Autun, in which the whole town takes part. Great fun! www.augustodunum.fr
Folkloriades Internationales et Fête de la Vigne in Dijon – End August / start of September – a week-long folkloric dance festival. www.fetesdelavigne.fr
There are numerous art and sculpture exhibitions throughout the region, especially in Tournus, Cluny Beaune and Dijon.
For music lovers
The summer months are busy with musical concerts in the surrounding local villages including the very popular Nuits de Mont Rome during the last week of July at Saint Sernin du Plain (6 kms). These fabulous evening open-air concerts created by France’s last living composer of contemporary music, Patrice Sciortino, are held in a Roman amphitheatre on the side of Mont Rome.www.nuitsdumontrome.org
Blues at Le Creusot – Last week in June. A high standard of national and international blues artistes at le Chateau de la Verrerie www.festival-du-bleus.com
Jazz A Couches – Second week in July. National and international artistes in outdoor and indoor concerts over the week. www.jazzacouches.fr
Beaune International Festival of Baroque Music – Each weekend in July. www.festivalbeaune.com
Tourist information websites you may find useful
You may find some of the websites detailing the events listed may not have the latest information until nearer the time of the event.