Best places to visit and things to do in Burgundy

6 Mar, 2023

Best places to visit and things to do in Burgundy

Mar 6, 2023

Paris is fantastic but France is so much more than Paris.

Are you looking for a destination that offers stunning architecture, world-renowned wine, and picturesque countryside?

Look no further than Burgundy, France. This region is home to charming villages, historic cities, and breathtaking landscapes.

Best things to do and places to visit in Burgundy

Is Burgundy worth visiting?

Many people ask us this question. Absolutely! Burgundy is definitely worth visiting.

It is a region that offers something for everyone. Whether you’re a wine enthusiast, a history buff, or simply looking for a charming getaway, Burgundy has it all.

One of the main draws of the region is its world-renowned wines. Burgundy is home to some of the most prestigious vineyards in the world, producing exquisite Pinot Noir and Chardonnay wines.

Wine lovers can take tours of the vineyards, taste some of the finest vintages, and learn about the winemaking process firsthand.

In addition to its wine offerings, Burgundy boasts stunning architecture, a rich history, and UNESCO World Heritage sites.

The region is dotted with charming towns and villages that are steeped in history and culture. Visitors can explore medieval castles, gothic cathedrals, and picturesque streets lined with half-timbered houses.

One of the most popular destinations in Burgundy is Dijon, known for its mustard production and historic center filled with museums and galleries.

Beaune is another must-visit town that’s famous for its Hospices de Beaune, a 15th-century hospital turned museum that showcases Gothic architecture and Flemish tapestries.

Overall, Burgundy is a destination that will leave you enchanted with its beauty and cultural richness.

In this blog post, we’ll explore the best places to visit in Burgundy and why they should be on your travel bucket list. So pack your bags and get ready to discover the beauty of Burgundy!

1- Dijon

Best places to visit in Burgundy- Dijon

Who doesn’t know Dijon mustard, right? Dijon is a must-visit destination in Burgundy. We were completely smitten by its charm. Trust us, you won’t regret going there! The city is known for its mustard production and rich history (as we’re sure you gathered from the name).

Wander through the historic center and enjoy the charming architecture. Pop into quaint little stores for souvenirs.

Visit the Palace of the Dukes of Burgundy, a stunning Gothic building that’s now a museum.

Don’t miss out on the MusĂ©e des Beaux-Arts de Dijon, which houses an impressive collection of art from the Middle Ages to the 20th century.

Dijon is also home to some of the most beautiful churches in France. Check out the Notre Dame de Dijon, a Gothic church that dates back to the 13th century. Its intricate stained-glass windows are a must-see.

Take a break from sightseeing and indulge in some delicious food. Sample local specialties like escargots de Bourgogne (if you’re feeling adventurous) or boeuf bourguignon (beef stew).

Wash it all down with a glass of fine wine from one of the nearby vineyards.

If you’re a fan of markets, don’t miss the Les Halles de Dijon. This indoor market offers an array of fresh produce, charcuterie, cheeses, breads, and pastries – perfect for putting together a picnic lunch to enjoy in one of the city’s parks.

And speaking of parks, make sure to visit the Jardin botanique de l’Arquebuse. This botanical garden is filled with beautiful flowers and plants from around the world.

Take a leisurely stroll through the gardens or relax on one of its benches and soak up the peaceful atmosphere.

Finally, top off your visit with some mustard tasting. Head to Maille, a famous mustard shop that has been around since 1747. Try unique flavors like blackcurrant or honey mustard – your taste buds will thank you!

Make sure to take home some fancy mustard as a souvenir!

2- Beaune

Beaune is a charming town in Burgundy, famous for its wine and colorful rooftops.

There are so many things to do here that we don’t even know where to start. But since you asked, let us give you some ideas.

First and foremost, start by taking a stroll through its spectacular town center with beautiful architecture and quaint shops.

Don’t forget to visit the Hospices de Beaune, a stunning 15th-century charity hospital. It’s now a museum and showcases the history of healthcare in France. Its colourful rooftops will blow your mind! It is also the perfect spot in Beaune to take pictures for your Instagram feed. Trust us. Your followers will be so jealous.

Also, be sure to check out the ancient city walls or ramparts that still stand today. They date back to the 12th century.

If you’re into wine (who isn’t?), then you’re in the right place. There are plenty of opportunities to sample the famous Burgundy wines at tasting rooms throughout the town. You can even take a tour of the famous Burgundy wine cellars.

You can go on a wine-tasting tour and pretend like you know what “notes of blackcurrant” means.

Just nod along and say “mmm yes, I taste that too” every time the sommelier mentions a new flavor (at least that’s what we do).

We particularly enjoyed visiting Maison Joseph Drouhin – a family-owned winery that’s been producing wine since 1880. The Domaine de la RomanĂ©e-Conti is also worth a visit. They produce some of the most expensive wines in the world.

You can also consider going biking or hiking – there are plenty of beautiful trails and scenic routes to explore around Beaune.

3- VĂ©zelay

Best places to visit in Burgundy- VĂ©zelay

Alright, folks, let’s talk about VĂ©zelay! If you haven’t been there yet, you’re missing out on one of the most charming towns in France.

First things first, when you get there, make sure to take a deep breath and enjoy the fresh air. Trust us, it’s better than any perfume you’ll ever buy.

Now that you’re ready to explore, head over to the Basilica of Saint Mary Magdalene. It’s the main attraction in town and for good reason.

That church is a total knockout and a UNESCO World Heritage site to boot. It’s no wonder people make pilgrimages here from all over!

The architecture is stunning and the views from the hilltop are breathtaking. Plus, if you’re lucky enough to catch a choir performance inside, you might just shed a tear or two.

But wait, there’s more! If you’re looking for something a little more interactive, head on over to La Maison du Visiteur. This museum is all about the history of VĂ©zelay and its famous basilica, with cool exhibits and multimedia displays that’ll keep you entertained for hours.

And if you’re feeling a little… salty (sorry), then check out Les Fontaines SalĂ©es (just 9 mins from VĂ©zelay by car). These natural springs were once believed to have healing properties – so go ahead and take a sip. Who knows? Maybe they’ll work some magic on you.

Now, let’s talk architecture. La Porte Neuve is one of the town’s ancient gates, dating back to the 14th century. And trust me when I say this thing is old-school cool. It’s like stepping back in time!

We’ve also got Le MusĂ©e Zervos – an art museum featuring works by modern masters like Picasso, Braque, and Matisse. So if you’re an art lover or just looking for some cultural enrichment (aren’t we all?), this place is definitely worth checking out.

If you’re visiting in the summertime, be sure to check out one of VĂ©zelay’s many festivals. From music to theater to food, there’s always something going on in this lively little town!

After all that sightseeing, it’s time for some food. And let us tell you, VĂ©zelay does not disappoint in that department. You must try their local specialty: snails cooked in garlic butter.

Don’t knock it ’til you try it! And of course, wash it down with some delicious Burgundy wine.

Last but not least, take a stroll through the narrow streets and soak up the quaint atmosphere. Maybe pop into a boutique or two and pick up some souvenirs for your loved ones back home.

Just be careful not to get lost – those streets can be tricky! We hope this has convinced you to add it to your Burgundy bucket list.

4- Auxerre

Best places to visit in Burgundy- Auxerre

Auxerre is a hidden gem in France that you need to add to your travel bucket list. This charming town has so much to offer, from its rich history to its delicious food and wine. Are you ready to explore this wonderful town? Great, let’s go!

First on the list is the CathĂ©drale Saint-Étienne d’Auxerre. This stunning Gothic cathedral was built in the 13th century. The intricate architecture and beautiful stained glass windows are just begging to be Instagrammed.

You can consider doing a guided tour of the cathedral to learn about its history.

Next on the list is the Tour de l’Horloge. This clock tower dates back to the 15th century and offers panoramic views over Auxerre and the surrounding countryside. It’s like a mini Eiffel Tower, but without all the crowds (and stairs).

Feeling artsy? Then you have the MusĂ©e Leblanc-Duvernoy. This museum is housed in a former 17th-century mansion and showcases a collection of art and artifacts from the region’s history.

You’ll find everything from ancient Roman sculptures to contemporary paintings by local artists.

If you’re a fan of French literature, you won’t want to miss Maison de Colette. This museum is dedicated to French author Colette, who was born in Saint-Sauveur-en-Puisaye near Auxerre.

You can learn about her life and work through exhibits and guided tours. Plus, it’s a great way to impress your book club friends.

Now let’s talk about Place des Cordeliers. This charming square is surrounded by half-timbered houses and features a fountain at its center.

Abbaye Saint-Germain d’Auxerre is next on our list – this former Benedictine abbey now houses a museum showcasing art and artifacts from prehistoric times through the Middle Ages. So if you’re into knights in shining armor, this place has got you covered.

It’s like something out of a fairytale (minus the talking animals). Perfect for those Instagram-worthy shots.

And the Rue du Temple – this narrow street is lined with medieval houses and leads up to the Tour de l’Horloge (remember that mini Eiffel Tower?). It’s like walking through a time machine… minus all the awkward time travel paradoxes.

Église Saint-Eusèbe is another gem worth checking out – this Romanesque church dates back to the 11th century and features beautiful frescoes inside. It’s like stepping into an art gallery… but with more candles.

Finally, let’s talk about Pont Paul Bert – this bridge spans the River Yonne and offers stunning views of Auxerre’s skyline. It’s perfect for taking that romantic walk with your significant other (or just for pretending you’re in a movie).

Lastly, take a stroll through Vieux-Auxerre, the town’s historic center. Here you’ll find narrow streets lined with half-timbered houses, quaint shops selling artisanal goods, and plenty of cafes where you can sit back and people-watch.

No trip to Auxerre would be complete without indulging in some of the local cuisine. Be sure to try some escargots (snails) or coq au vin (chicken cooked in red wine) at one of the many cozy restaurants around town.

And don’t forget about the wine – this region produces some of France’s best Chablis!

So there you have it – Auxerre is full of hidden treasures just waiting to be discovered!

5- Autun

Not let us introduce you to Autun! Here’s a fair warning though – once you visit this place, you may never want to leave! The charming little town in Burgundy that’s often overlooked by tourists but is a hidden gem waiting to be discovered.

First things first. The Romanesque Cathedral of Saint Lazare built in the 12th century is an absolute must-visit. The intricate detailing on the façade is truly breathtaking and will leave you in awe.

But be warned, if you stare at it for too long, you might get neck strain from craning your head upwards. And if you’re feeling adventurous, climb up the tower for some breathtaking views of the town.

Now let’s move on to the Temple of Janus, another historical landmark that shouldn’t be missed. It’s believed to be one of the oldest buildings in Autun and its unique round structure definitely makes it stand out.

Next on the list of must-see attractions is the Roman Theater or Théâtre Romain. This ancient amphitheater dates back to the first century AD and can seat up to 20,000 spectators.

It’s an impressive sight to behold and if you close your eyes, you can almost hear the roar of the crowds as gladiators battled it out on stage. Just don’t get too carried away and start practicing your sword-fighting moves!

For a more somber experience, head over to Les Bibracte – Mont Beuvray Archaeological Site (30 mins from Autun).

This former Celtic capital was excavated in the 19th century and offers visitors an insight into what life was like during ancient times. You can wander through reconstructed buildings and see how our ancestors used to live. Just make sure not to trip over any stray rocks while you’re there.

Have me missed something?

Ah, yes! How could we forget the Porte Arroux and Porte Saint-André? These two ancient gates are steeped in history.

The Porte Arroux is one of the oldest structures in Autun, dating back to the 1st century AD. It was once part of the ancient Roman city walls and served as a gateway into the town.

Today, it still stands tall and proud, reminding visitors of Autun’s rich history.

Meanwhile, the Porte Saint-AndrĂ© is another impressive gate that’s impossible to miss. This grand structure was built in the 12th century and features intricate carvings that depict scenes from the Bible.

It’s a true masterpiece of Romanesque architecture and will leave you awestruck.

Both gates are located on opposite sides of Autun, so be sure to take some time to explore each one if you can. And don’t forget to snap some photos for your Instagram feed – these gates make for excellent backdrops!

Last but not least, take a stroll around the quaint streets of Autun itself. There are plenty of cute cafes and shops selling local wares that are just begging to be explored.

And who knows? You might even stumble upon a hidden gem or two that didn’t make it onto this list.

So there you have it folks – Autun may be small but it packs quite a punch when it comes to history and culture. Don’t miss out on this charming town!

6- Avallon

Avallon in Burgundy is a hidden gem that’s often overlooked by tourists. Tucked away in the heart of Burgundy, this charming medieval town offers a glimpse into the region’s rich history and culture. If you’re planning a trip to Burgundy, be sure to add Avallon to your itinerary – you won’t regret it!

One of the top attractions in Avallon is the Collégiale Saint-Lazare, a Romanesque church that dates back to the 12th century.

Its intricate sculptures and stunning stained glass windows are sure to leave you in awe. Another must-see site is the Eglise Saint-Julien MusĂ©e de l’Avallonnais, which houses an impressive collection of art and artifacts from the region’s past.

If you’re interested in exploring more historical sites, check out Eglise Saint-Martin-du-Bourg and Abbaye Sainte-Marie de la Pierre-qui-Vire.

The former is a Gothic-style church that was built in the 13th century, while the latter is a Benedictine abbey that was founded in the 19th century.

But perhaps one of Avallon’s most unique attractions is L’Huis Saint-BenoĂ®t (which is 30mins away by car). This restored 17th-century mansion now serves as a cultural center for exhibitions and concerts – definitely worth checking out if you’re interested in contemporary art or music.

And here’s some good news for those of you who are planning your itinerary: Avallon is conveniently located just an hour’s drive from Autun (our previous recommendation) ! So why not make a day trip out of it and explore all that this charming town has to offer?

7- Cluny

Ah, Cluny – a charming little town that’s sure to steal your heart! If you’re planning a trip to Burgundy, then this picturesque destination should definitely make it onto your itinerary. Let us tell you about some of the must-visit attractions in Cluny.

First up, we have the Abbaye de Cluny – an ancient Benedictine monastery that dates all the way back to the 10th century.

This historical site is absolutely stunning and will transport you back in time with its grand architecture and fascinating exhibits. It’s definitely worth taking a guided tour to get the full experience!

Next on our list is Haras national de Cluny – a national horse breeding center that’s been around since 1806.

Even if you’re not a horse enthusiast, this place is still worth checking out for its beautiful grounds and impressive stables.

If you’re looking for something quirky and unique, then be sure to stop by Tour des fromages – a cheese shop housed in an old tower!

You can sample some of the finest cheeses from Burgundy and beyond while enjoying views over the town.

Another historical gem in Cluny is HĂ´tel-Dieu de Cluny – an old hospital with a fascinating past. The building itself is beautiful, but what really sets it apart are the intriguing medical instruments on display inside.

Last but not least, we have Au Plaisir Dit Vin – a wine shop where you can taste some of the best wines from the region.

Trust us, there’s nothing better than sipping on a glass of local wine while taking in the charming surroundings of Cluny.

And if you have time for a short drive outside of town, we highly recommend visiting BerzĂ©-le-Châtel – a medieval castle perched atop a hill with breathtaking views over the countryside.

These are just some of our favorite places to visit in Cluny, but there’s so much more to discover in this charming little town.

8- Abbaye de Fontenay

Have you ever heard of Abbaye de Fontenay? It’s one of the oldest and most beautiful Cistercian monasteries in France, and we had the pleasure of visiting. It is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The abbey was founded in 1118 by Saint Bernard of Clairvaux, and its stunning architecture will transport you back in time.

The cloister is particularly impressive, with intricate arches and a serene garden at its center. You can almost hear the monks chanting as you walk through its halls!

One thing that surprised us about Abbaye de Fontenay was how well-preserved it is. Despite being almost 900 years old, the buildings are still standing strong and have been beautifully restored.

It’s a testament to the skill and dedication of the craftsmen who built it all those centuries ago.

Of course, no visit to Abbaye de Fontenay would be complete without seeing the Abbaye church. Its soaring vaulted ceilings and exquisite stained glass windows will leave you awestruck.

Don’t miss the monastic gardens of Abbaye. They are truly awe-inspiring. As you wander through the beautifully manicured grounds, it’s easy to imagine the monks who once tended to these gardens in silence and contemplation.

The gardens at Abbaye Fontenay are divided into several different sections, each with its own unique atmosphere and purpose.

There’s a medicinal herb garden where the monks would have cultivated herbs for healing purposes, as well as a vegetable garden that provided sustenance for the entire community.

One of the most striking features of the gardens is undoubtedly the cloister. This tranquil space is surrounded by covered walkways and features a central fountain that was used for washing before meals.

The cloister garden is a perfect example of the simplicity and elegance that characterizes monastic architecture and design.

All in all, if you’re looking for a dose of history and beauty on your travels through France, Abbaye de Fontenay is an absolute must-see. Don’t forget your camera!

9- Paray-le-Monial

Paray le-Monial is a cute town in Burgundy that has so much to offer, from stunning architecture to quaint cafes and everything in between. One of our favorite things about Paray-le-Monial was wandering through its winding streets and stumbling upon hidden gems around every corner.

First up on our list of must-see sights is the Basilique du SacrĂ©-Coeur. This incredible Romanesque basilica is a true architectural marvel, with intricate stone carvings and breathtaking stained glass windows. And let’s be real – if you’re going to visit Paray-le-Monial, you can’t miss this iconic landmark!

Next up is the Chapelle de Romay. This hidden gem is tucked away in a peaceful forest and features beautiful frescoes that date back to the 12th century. It’s the perfect spot for a quiet moment of reflection or just some good old-fashioned Instagramming.

If you’re looking for something a little more offbeat, head over to the MusĂ©e du HiĂ©ron. This quirky museum is dedicated to religious art and features an impressive collection of sculptures, paintings, and other oddities that are sure to make you do a double-take.

And speaking of religious art, don’t miss La Colombière Chapel. This tiny chapel may be small in size, but it packs a big punch when it comes to beauty and historical significance.

Last but not least, we have Parc du Moulin Liron. This lovely park is the perfect place to unwind after a day of sightseeing, with its lush greenery and tranquil pond providing the ideal backdrop for a leisurely stroll or picnic.

So if you’re looking for a destination that combines history, beauty, and charm with a healthy dose of French joie de vivre, then Paray-le-Monial is definitely worth adding to your travel list.

10- Tournus

Tournus – what a hidden gem of a town! If you’re looking for an off-the-beaten-path destination in Burgundy, this is definitely the place to be. There are so many things to do here that will keep you entertained and leave you with unforgettable memories.

At the top of the list of must-visit attractions is Abbaye Saint Philibert. This stunning abbey was founded in in the eleventh century and is considered one of the most important examples of Romanesque architecture in France. Take a tour and marvel at the intricate details and impressive scale of this ancient monument.

If you’re more into wine than history (or hey, why not both?), then Les Vignerons de Mancey – Magasin is definitely worth a visit. It is a wine cellar that highlights some of the best wines in Burgundy, and their shop offers tastings as well as opportunities to purchase bottles to take home as souvenirs.

For art lovers, Hotel Dieu – Museum Greuze should definitely be on your itinerary. This former hospital-turned-museum showcases works by acclaimed artist Jean-Baptiste Greuze and other paintings and sculptures from various periods throughout French history.

And if you’re feeling particularly adventurous (or just want to burn off all that cheese and wine), head over to Abbaye Notre-Dame-de-Venière.

Abbaye Notre-Dame-de-Venière is a beautiful Romanesque abbey located in the Burgundy region of France. The abbey was founded in the 12th century and has been beautifully preserved over the centuries.

Visitors can explore the church, cloisters, and other areas of the abbey, as well as learn about its history and significance to the region. The Abbaye Notre-Dame-de-Venière is actually located in a valley, surrounded by beautiful greenery and natural scenery. It’s also a popular spot for hiking and outdoor recreation.

Last but certainly not least, Brancion Castle is another must-see attraction near Tournus. This medieval castle dates back to the 11th century and has been beautifully restored to its former glory over the years. Take a tour and step back in time to experience what life was like for nobles in medieval France.

So there you have it – just a few reasons why Tournus should be at the top of your travel list in Burgundy.

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