For many wine lovers, central Burgundy’s Côte d’Or (Golden Slope) represents the anteroom to heaven. Quaint old villages and picturesque vineyards dot the region, which cuts a narrow swath between Dijon and Santenay. Chambertin, Musigny, Romanée-Conti and Montrachet are just some of the fabled grands crus that thrive here on surprisingly tiny parcels of land. Set aside at least a day and a half to explore Dijon and the northern Côte d’Or (known as the Côte de Nuits), and allow another day for the southern Côte d’Or (known as the Côte de Beaune), which includes the charming town of Beaune itself.
Cruising through Burgundy
A barge cruise along the Canal du Centre or Canal de Bourgogne is a perfect way to explore Burgundy’s enchanting countryside and villages. We particularly recommend the boats operated by Afloat in France, a company now owned by Belmond.
Two of our favorite tasting venues in Burgundy are wine shops where one can taste several grands crus in succession. At Valour+Lemaire, in the heart of Chablis’ old center, we tasted four forceful and rich grands crus with Arnaud, the good-humored owner. He also recently added a distillery and spirits bar. And at Millésimes à la Carte, just outside Beaune’s walls, the knowledgeable Thierry led us through six elegant Burgundian grands crus.
Castles in the Countryside
Three castles in the Burgundian countryside well worth visiting are the Château de Chastellux in the Parc naturel régional du Morvan, the Château de Rully amid vineyards in the Côte Chalonnaise and the 12th-century Château de La Rochepot with a striking roof of multicolored tiles.