We’re putting the spotlight on Burgundy and the Jura with tips on what to do and where to go if you’re holidaying in the region. These are regions of outstanding natural beauty, and home to some of the best wine in France.
Burgundy is a land of rolling hills, waterways and delightful villages, often labelled as the land of fine art and living. Amidst the natural beauty of lakes, forests and vineyards are remarkable buildings, castles and Roman churches steeped in local history.
The capital of the region is Dijon. Perhaps best known for its mustard, Dijon is also one of the most beautiful cities in France. The well preserved medieval centre is easy to walk around, with old narrow streets and houses built in the local pale honey-coloured stone. The Palais des Ducs de Bourgogne, home to the Dukes of Burgundy, is a remarkably well-preserved architectural building. You can visit some parts of the palace such as the Museum of Art, and climb the stairs of the Tour Philippe le Bon for an impressive view over the town.
The Burgundy vineyards are some of the most prestigious in the world and Beaune, the wine capital of Burgundy, is one of the best places in France for wine tasting. The town is surrounded by medieval walls, with the Hôtel Dieu at its centre. Discover the stunning inner courtyard and colourful tiled roof. The autumn wine sale here is one of the high points of the wine year. There are many delicious looking shops to browse around. Buy homemade wild peach jam from Palais des Gourmets, and be lured into the many charcuteries and patisseries.
Hot air balloon rides are popular in Burgundy, and are an exciting way to discover the region. From the sky, the countryside is unforgettable, with flowing lines of vineyards and glazed tile roofs of majestic châteaux. The start of summer is marked each year when the sky fills with hot air balloons over Chalon-sur-Saône. It’s a magnificent spectacle; over 50 multi-coloured balloons drifting through the air.
34 miles from Beaune in Gigny-sur-Saône is Château de l’Epervière, an attractive campsite situated in mature woodland and an ideal base for exploring the region. This quiet haven is set in the grounds of a château, with a river nearby for fishing. After a day touring the vineyards, cool off with a refreshing swim in one of the two pools, or take a relaxing jacuzzi or sauna. Finish the evening in the delightful restaurant and cosy bar which hosts regular wine tasting sessions.
Rich in woodland, lakes and cascading waterfalls, the Jura is a serene, rugged paradise. Savour the natural beauty and explore mountain views by foot, bike or horseback. Lakes and rivers offer opportunities for canoeing, fishing or leisurely boat trips. For the best view, take to the air – ballooning, gliding, parachuting are all widely available.
For a great days walking, visit Cascades du Hérisson – a series of thundering waterfalls, which drop almost 2000ft in less than two miles. Explore the 31 waterfalls and torrents on a 3 hour hike (7.4km round trip) and prepare to be amazed by the magic of this unique valley.
Baume-les-Messieurs is a pretty village, lying between 3 valleys with a glaciated canyon leading to an amazing system of caves and underground lakes. The 10m waterfall and spectacular caves are well worth a visit.
Even more appealing than the simmering lakes, dramatic gorges, and the Grande Traversée (a 186-mile-long hiking and cross-country trail), is the food and wine – the Jura’s true secret. France’s smallest wine region, the Arbois, covers just 3,900 acres and produces the acclaimed Vin Jaune (yellow wine), a unique white wine similar to dry sherry. A tour of the vineyards will show its unique method of production. The Jura’s native cheeses – creamy Morbier and fruity comté – are the perfect complements. Try a delicious cheese fondue or local speciality ‘Brochette Jurassienne’ (cheese cubes wrapped in ham and fried on a skewer).
Both Canvas campsites in the Jura region, Domaine de Chalain and Camping la Pergola, border the Lac de Chalain – the largest natural lake in the Jura and well suited for windsurfing, canoeing and swimming and fishing. Both are family friendly; the unspoilt natural surroundings make the Jura a delightful place to visit for both adults and children.