Burgundy's natural riches and colourful history have marked the region with some of the finest heritage of European art and architecture. It is a beautiful fertile land of undulating hills, woods and waterways whose wealth is nurtured by farmers, vine-growers and foresters. It has always been on the way to somewhere and is well worth a long stopover. Its strategic location, close to Germany, within easy reach of the Netherlands and a short distance from Switzerland has made its people particularly hospitable and friendly. The reputation of the local cuisine is famous throughout the world, while its wines are a byword for the very best. Some of the most important places of architectural interest are listed below:
Autun with its Roman theatre and gates from the Gallo-Roman period.
Vézelay was one of the most important places of pilgrimage in France on the way to Santiago de Compostela and is famous for its abbey, a masterpiece of Romanesque architecture.
Fontenay's 12th century abbey is one of the earliest and most impressive examples of Cistercian architecture.
Dijon has a wonderful palace and around it stretches the historical centre. The visitor can take a stroll down small streets past half-timbered houses and elegant mansions, through elegant squares and beneath the shadow of its church spires.
Beaune The brightly coloured tiled roofs of the Hôtel-Dieu in Beaune have come to symbolise Burgundy throughout the world. A maze of little streets make up the old town and no visit would be complete without a visit to the town's wine cellars.
Arnay-le-Duc is a charming little city and among its many attractions are its 15th -17th century houses and shaded walks.
Châlon-sur-Saône is a major commercial and industrial centre offering a wide range of tourist attractions.
Franche-Comté is one of the smallest regions in France and stretches between the Vosges and Jura mountains. It shares a border with Switzerland and consists of four départements including the Doubs and Jura. It is a region blessed with a wealth of lakes, fascinating caves and small villages. Eight out of ten villages have less than five hundred inhabitants. The Comté bell-towers à l'impériale, a sort of dome which tops more than 400 churches, are signs that religion is everywhere. It is also the centre of French clock-making and birthplace of Peugeot cars. The Doubs offers 1,500km of paths, many of them particularly suitable for mountain-biking and the Jura is best known for its wines and the Lac de Chalain. Places of interest to visit in the region include:
Villersexel with its château de Grammont, built at the end of the 19th century.
Baume-les-Messieurs Caves, near Lons-le-Saunier are 30 million years old. Visitors can explore galleries 120m underground with spectacular lighting effects, rock formations and a beautiful waterfall at the cave entrance.
Osselle Cave, near Quingey regarded as one the most wonderful caves in Europe is renowned for its outstanding natural colours varying from blue to translucent orange.
Three further caves to visit are,
Glacière Cave, nr Valdahons, and the Moidon Cave and Les Planches Cave both near Arbois.
Cascade du Saut du Doubs, near Villers-le-Lac on Swiss border is a 27m high waterfall.
Cascade du Hérisson - a magnificent waterfall near Clairvaux-les-Lacs.