Nature’s grandeur in Burgundy.
Mountains or beach? Neither: summer will be dedicated to nature in Burgundy. Between a sea of vineyards and the paths through the countryside, the sweet smell of hay combines with the unique views across the fields of sunflowers. Pitch a tent in the Morvan, wander off for a stroll through the vineyards or even enjoy a picnic on the banks of the Yonne before taking a leisurely aperitif in the square of a village that’s full of character. And don’t forget the many festivals. That’s summer in Burgundy!
Greenery for all the family.
From the moment summer begins, Burgundy feels like it’s on holiday. Near to the nautical centre at Settons Lake ,the text books and schoolbags are forgotten for the time being. In their place you find pedalos, kite-surfs, petanque and a place to swim! Starting out on a windsurfer is quite tricky, but no matter. Relaxing under a sunshade, the whole family wears a smile. The Morvan is nature in its purest sense, with walks in the forest, kilometres of sign-posted mountain bike trails and trips down the River Cure in a kayak. Anglers take advantage of every last drop of daylight and admire the pink, orange and violet reflections on the surface of the lake. It’s splendid! Once the plates and the picnic basket have been put away, the family can serenely return to their gîte, their mobile home or their holiday camp. They are still unsure what to do tomorrow: tree-top adventure or a visit to the Resistance Museum at Saint-Brisson? Whatever they choose to do, in the evening they will go to the Festival de la Chanson Française, in Lormes or the festival de la vielle in Anost. Next year, to treat the kids, they have decided to stay in a yurt or a treehouse! In Burgundy, lovers of tranquillity and of the countryside are never short of options. Take La Puisaye, for example: here there are five natural habitats of great importance in terms of their ecology, flora and fauna. In its incredible forests, close to the ponds and among groves that are hidden in leafy valleys, nature puts on a great show. It’s not unusual to spot a shrike, a warbler, an owl or even a falcon! La Puisaye is an ideal family destination, which is bursting with great ideas that are listed under the Famil’Yonne scheme. A special mention must go to the Château de Saint-Fargeau and its impressive son et lumiere show, the medieval construction site at Guédelon, a medieval château that is being built using XIIIth century techniques, or even the cyclo-rail, an original way to explore the wild landscapes.
The sweet life, Made in Bourgogne
Those who love to sail along inland waterways are sure to find what they are looking for along the canals of Burgundy. Armed with a gingham tablecloth, a wicker picnic basket, sunglasses and a straw hat, the riverbanks invite you to relax and take your time over an aperitif. You don’t have to be an experienced sailor to enjoy the charms of the river. From Pouilly-en-Auxois, treat yourself to a mini-cruise aboard La Billebaude and allow yourself to be guided along the discovery trail. Your journey has only just begun!
Lovers of Crémant, archaeology and green spaces can carry on through the fields of sunflowers and stop off in the Châtillonnais, where they will surely make the most of a visit to the museum of the Vix treasure .
As for the little ones, they will have great fun in one of the 80 sites that are labelled Aventures Mômes in Saône-et-Loire. All these sites offer entertaining activities – treasure hunts, discovery trails, donkey rides, archaeology workshops – that have been dreamed up with children aged 4-14 in mind. Guaranteed fun for young visitors!
A musical summertime
When it comes to festivals, summer gets off to a strong start in Chalon-sur-Saône : for five days in July the town becomes an immense playground for more than 1000 artists. Chalon dans la rue is one of the biggest festivals of urban arts: theatre, dance, circus, performances… In just a few years, this beautiful and popular free festival has become the benchmark for the artistic world. It provides a great excuse for exploring Chalon, for visiting the cathedral of Saint-Vincent, for wandering along the banks of the River Saône and for hopping over to Ile Saint-Laurent for dinner.
Each to their own. In early July, Dijon ppresents the Œnofestival, which is ideal for discovering wine and music. Beaune plays the classical card with the Festival International d'opéra baroque et romantique. Alésia adds to the variety with its Nuits Péplum, whilst Toucy goes jazz crazy during the Toucy Jazz Festival. It’s important not to forget Garçon la Note, which happens throughout the summer, and is where local groups take over the terraces of bars and restaurants in the main towns of the region for a series of free and sun-soaked concerts. So don’t waste any time and have a look at the programme!
For those who find the draw of the mountains or sunny beaches too hard to resist (we won’t hold it against you), Burgundy is still an ideal place to stop off en route to your holiday destination. Stop at Beaune, the perfect town for shopping. After a tour of one of the wine cellars in the city centre, it would be foolish not to take a peaceful stroll under the ramparts. In the distance, you can see an ocean of vineyards. That’s the Côte de Beaune, and it stretches for more than 40 kilometres. Don’t rush off, because the capital of the wines of Burgundy has other attractions, in particular its excellent restaurants. On a terrace, in the shade of an awning or in the cool of a wine cellar, Burgundian cuisine reveals its charms. Classical or reinvented by a Michelin starred chef, there is something to suit every taste.
Those who are in no hurry, the more adventurous among you or lovers of nostalgia can take the iconic Nationale 6 that links Paris and Lyon. Between two poppy fields, a former coaching inn provides a gastronomic stop. However, the Nationale 7 is also a holiday route, crossing the Nièvre and passing Magny-Cours motor-racing circuit before heading into the Massif Central…