The insiders: Burgundy, France
Published by The Australian
Tour operator George Butterfield on the best of Burgundy, France.
ENJOY: If your evenings are woefully incomplete without a well-selected vintage wine (and whose aren’t?), Burgundy in France is hallowed ground. This region, south of Paris, has been whetting the palate since the Roman era, and is proof that practice makes perfect. So naturally, it’s my first love — and second home.
EXPLORE: Make time to visit the walled town of Beaune, a well-preserved medieval jewel in the heart of the Burgundian vineyards. Surrounded by the famous Cote d’Or vineyards, Beaune is home to the region’s leading négociants (vintners). Built on a maze of tunnels used for cellaring wine, it’s a must see.
STAY: Make sure you check into the region’s most exclusive hotel, Abbaye De Le Bussiere. This boutique property is a medieval castle that was once a Cistercian monastery and later a hunting lodge. Now the hotel, which has been entirely refurbished, offers luxurious accommodation within a 7.3ha park.
EXERCISE: Cycling northwest from Beaune into the Ouche Valley is spectacularly beautiful. The landscape (and the riding) on this route is among the best in Burgundy. Make your way along quiet country roads passing through the villages of Nantoux and Bessey-en-Chaume. The terrain is hilly in parts and quite flat in others, providing a perfect blend for almost any level of cyclist.
TASTE: There are wineries at every corner, and travellers should take the time to enter and sample the wines directly from the producers. Don’t feel shy about knocking on doors and trying new varieties for a memorable experience. And be sure to dine at Caves Madeleine, the best restaurant in Beaune.