Départements: Côtes-d’Or, Nièvre, Saône-et-Loire, Yonne
Principal cities: Auxerre, Beaune, Dijon, Nevers, Sens
The powerful dukes of Burgundy once ruled over Flanders, Belgium and Holland from their splendid headquarters in Dijon. Today the ducal palace, still surrounded by the 15th- and 16th-century half-timbered houses of the city’s Old Town, houses the very rich Beaux-Arts Museum and the spectacular, magnificently carved marble tombs of two Dukes of Burgundy: Philippe le Hardi (the Bold), and his son Jean Sans Peur (the Fearless).
The region’s greatest wines come from the Côte d’Or, the Gold Coast, which is divided into two sections: the Côte de Nuits, between Dijon and Nuits-Saint-George; and the Côte de Beaune, where the vineyards flank the lovely historic city of Beaune itself. Less renowned but still excellent vineyards are found farther south—Givry, Rully, and Mâcon. Chablis, in northern Burgundy, produces the wonderful white wine whose name has so often been misused, and near Auxerre are the small vineyards of Irancy and Saint-Bris.
Among other remarkable sites: the pilgrimage town of Vézelay and its magnificent 11th/13th-century basilica; the beautiful 12th-century Cistercian abbey of Fontenay; and fascinating Guédelon, where since 1997 work has been in progress building a château-fortress with 13th-century tools and techniques.