An autumn spent in the towns and the vineyards.
The vineyards, hillsides and meadows are bathed in warm light and take on their autumnal hues. The air, still rich with the scents of the grape harvest, slowly reveals its aroma of earth and mushrooms... Seasonal products start to appear in our shopping baskets and the region’s chefs fire their ovens once again with a smile.
Indian summer in the vineyards
The sight of a hot-air balloon in the autumn skies above Burgundy is not unusual. From a hot-air balloon, the view is breathtaking: the Indian summer gives the vineyards a unique golden glow.. . The plots of vines create a patchwork of colour that walkers take pleasure in admiring. With their backpacks, they amble along the various paths that criss-cross the vineyards. They delve into the woodlands and perch on the hilltops to get the best possible views. In the distance, there are some runners. Twenty, perhaps more? Forty! Fifty! In fact, every year more than 4000 take part in the Vente des Vins half-marathon. Before enjoying the festive and singular atmosphere of the The Hospices de Beaune wine auctions,these sporty souls take to the undulating routes and the vineyards that are typical of the Côte de Beaune, crossing some of the most prestigious villages in Burgundy (Pommard, Meursault, Volnay...). Whether they’re aimed at record-breaking long distance specialists or more modest fun-runners, these events take place throughout the region, helping people to keep fit in autumn! A sign-posted cycle path linking Santenay and Beaune even lets visitors explore the vineyards by bike. Nicknamed the « Voie des Vignes », this itinerary follows the « vineyard trails » used by wine-growers and locals.
The first leaves start to fall from the trees, to the delight of the pleasure boaters that have come to navigate along the Canal du Nivernais. From their barge, through the trees, they can spot the vineyards: Vincelottes, Coulanges-la Vineuse, Irancy… Stopping at Saint-Bris-le Vineux to visit the Maison Bailly Lapierre is a must. Its former mushroom growing rooms have been transformed into an immense wine cellar hidden 50 metres below ground. From there, set sail again to the former wine cellars of Tannay, in the Nièvre.
« From a hot-air balloon, the view is breathtaking: the Indian summer gives the vineyards a unique golden glow »
A cultural off-season that blends towns and countryside.
The off-season in Burgundy has a few surprises in store: the sunshine and the festivals still cling to summer! Every September, Jazz à Beaune pays tribute to this genre of music, of course, but also honours the wines of the region through its concerts, animated wine tastings and exhibitions. In the Nièvre, Nevers qui fait son festival : depuis les premiers accords en 1987, D'Jazz Nevers Festivalholds its own festival. Since it was first held in 1987, D'Jazz Nevers Festival has never missed a beat. There is just one thing to do in order to ensure you never miss a single rendezvous: keep a close eye on the cultural season from day one.The Espace des Arts in Chalon sur Saône ,focuses on contemporary dance, the Auditorium de Dijon celebrates opera, whilst Auxerre goes with contemporary theatre.
Although nobody from the region is afraid of a few raindrops, it has been known (although it’s quite unusual!) for the odd shower to come and obscure the autumn sky. It’s the perfect excuse to go and enjoy an exhibition with your other half. The unmissable Musée des Beaux Arts in Dijon, the Musée de la Faïence in Nevers, the Musée de l’Homme et de l’Industrie in Creusot or the Musée Nicéphore Niepce, named after the inventor of photography, in Chalon-sur-Saône. Less traditional and more surprising, the Fabuloserie is a truly mad-cap place hidden away in Dicy in the Yonne that is dedicated to outsider art, or there are even a variety of centres of contemporary art in the region: the Consortium in Dijon, the Parc Saint-Léger in Pougues-les-Eaux in the Nièvre or the Centre d'Art de l'Yonne, which is housed in the Château du Tremblay. In between visits, there is nothing better than a stroll through town in Beaune in the company of a greeter (these volunteer guides take visitors to discover their home town in their own way). 19h? It’s time to get together and enjoy a glass of Crémant de Bourgogne... It’s a pleasure to explore the cities of Burgundy during the autumn!
Is Burgundy on your route, by any chance? Choose one of the excellent local restaurants Must visit restaurants that will certainly do justice to seasonal produce. Liqueurs made from berries, mushrooms, truffles, cîteaux cheese made in the abbey of the same name, epoisses cheese… According to tradition, the Cistercian monks who came to settle in one of the small villages of the Auxois were responsible for the invention of epoisses cheese. Later on, these religious men bequeathed their secrets to the villagers. It’s an ancestral savoir-faire that has been passed down the generations of the Berthaut family that produces this famous orange cheese, the proud bearer of an AOC label since 1991. « A meal without cheese is like a beautiful girl with only one eye » said the famous gastronome Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin. So before you head off, stop at a local producer, such as the Fromagerie Delin in Gilly-les-Cîteaux, or at a delicatessen and fill up your boot with products of the terroir that you can give to your friends or keep all to yourself!
Luncheon on the Grass
Who ever said that autumn was the time to put away your garden furniture and forget about the sun lounger? Certainly not the Burgundians, who have the nerve to organise around thirty unusual picnics throughout the region during the first weekend of autumn in order to mark the Fête de la Gastronomie. This event, known as « Fantastic Pic Nic », showcases regional gastronomy and art de vivre in a way that is simple, effective and friendly: garden-party, treasure hunt, revamped Guinguette... There is something to suit all tastes! It is the perfect excuse for enjoying a weekend at a guest house set in a château Renaissance, a mansion house or an old farm building. With a bit of luck, you can even enjoy breakfast in the garden.