Dijon, capital of the dukes
When you think of Côte d’Or and even Burgundy in general, the first town that comes to mind is, of course, Dijon! It is the perfect place for a trendy weekend city break filled with great food and wine. Take a stroll around the streets, venture inside a private mansion, walk in the shade of the church steeples (Notre-Dame, Saint-Bénigne, Saint-Michel…), and explore the antiques district that has become the place to be.
One of Dijon's mayors was particularly fond of cocktails
The "Kir" cocktail (well-known drink made from aligoté sparkling white wine and Crème de Cassis) came about thanks to a memorable figure: Canon Kir. His real name was Félix Kir, and he was a priest and a member of the resistance during the Second World War, then later mayor of Dijon and MP. It is believed that when he travelled to the National Assembly, he always brought his two favourite ingredients with him, to make his signature cocktail... which was naturally later named the "Kir"!
The Route des Grands Crus and Beaune
Then head towards Beaune along the Route des Grands Crus (Route of the Great Wines). This sightseeing route crosses through a very prestigious hillside where some great wines are produced. Each vineyard plot is unique and uses 2,000-year-old winemaking traditions. These plots are so exceptional that they were listed by UNESCO in 2015.
Don't miss the town of Beaune. Here, you can see the best of Burgundy all in one place: exceptional wine cellars, Michelin-starred restaurants, rich heritage and an iconic place... the Hospices.
With the glazed tiles on the roof and Gothic-style architecture, it's hard to believe that the owners just wanted to build a place to treat the poor. This was its purpose. Before becoming a tourist attraction, the establishment treated sick people up until the 20th century!
A getaway in the Auxois region
Make sure you don't leave the Côte d'Or department without a detour to admire the scenery and historic sites of the Auxois region! There are so many treasures hidden in this tiny little natural region. Here are some examples:
- Alésia, where the famous battle of Alésia took place. Today, you can visit the MuséoParc here, with exhibitions and shows portraying this eventful episode in the history of France.
- The Château de Bussy-Rabutin. There is a remarkable garden in the grounds and the whole place bears the mark of the Comte de Bussy-Rabutin. He was a memorable character, a lieutenant general, writer and courtier.
- The village of Flavigny-sur-Ozerain is a great place to explore on foot and taste the delicious aniseed-flavoured sweets.
- Fontenay Abbey. So well preserved that it was one of the very first French monuments to be listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO (in 1981).
- Burgundy Canal, heaven-on-earth for those looking for an easy-going boat trip, or bike ride along the towpath.