A few hours removed from the bustling avenues of Paris, the pace slows significantly. High-speed trains whisk passengers from the City of Light into the countryside, where the quiet rhythm of Burgundy awaits. Take in the bucolic delights of legendary destinations steeped in appreciation for life’s most humble pleasures.
Thoughtful renovations have returned Château de Besseuil, in the township of Clessé, to its sixteenth-century majesty. Set within the heart of a 7-acre vineyard, the luxury hotel encourages guests to immerse themselves in the region’s natural splendor, whether they navigate the terroir on horseback or float through crystalline skies in a hot-air balloon.
Lingering in the courtyard of Hotel Le Cep invites summertime bliss.
With its colorful, glazed-tile roof and Gothic facade a beacon of hope, the Hospices de Beaune was founded in the fifteenth century as a hospital for the destitute. Through the years, gifts from wealthier classes afforded expansion and an impressive art collection. The original structure, the Hôtel-Dieu, now functions as a museum.
Roses outside the café—the casual counterpoint to gastronomic La Table de Levernois—welcome patrons to the mansion’s eighteenth-century kitchen.
In picturesque Cluny, a trio of spires draws the eye. Climbing to the top of the tallest—the Tour des Fromages, a tower once used for ripening cheese—yields panoramic views of the surrounding valley.
Above left: At Hostellerie le Potin Gourmand, in Cluny, berry sorbet topped with whipped cream offers a refreshing end to a meal at the onsite eatery. Above right: Built in 910, L’Abbaye de Cluny was the largest basilica in the world. The remains hearken to the Middle Ages, when the Benedictine monastery reached its pinnacle of influence across Europe.
Passengers travel in comfort aboard the hotel barge Wine & Water.
From one-day excursions to weeklong getaways, flexible charter cruise programs allow tourists to survey the wonders of Burgundy.
No trip to Burgundy would be complete without a visit to L’Abbaye de Fontenay, near Montbard. The Cistercian monastery remained self-sufficient until the sixteenth century—in its heyday boasting a community of more than two hundred monks. Converted to a paper mill in 1791, the abbey was returned to its former glory at the turn of the twentieth century.
Text Melissa Lester
Photography Jim Bathie
To learn more about Burgundy, see “Exploring the Pastoral Setting of Burgundy” on page 47 of the May/June 2016 issue of Victoria.