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This Week...

News and events around the Burgundy region, Bourgogne Franche-Comté

february 17

Travellers' Choice

Here's our pick of where to stay in Burgundy this year. Depending whether you want an action break or a relaxing getaway, there's something for everyone in all price brackets.

For Luxury

Chateau de la Resle, L'Abbaye de la Bussiere, Chateau de Villette, Burgundy

Above left: Château de la Resle - bursting with contemporary design ideas, chill out at this boutique bed and breakfast in northern Burgundy and visit Chablis and Vézelay.

Centre: L'Abbaye de la Bussière - once a Cistercian monastery, the setting is now sumptuous, as is the food by the much acclaimed chef, Guillaume Royer. The Route des Grands Crus is closeby.

Right: Château de Villette - surrounded by lush countryside, the accent here is on food and wine. A good touring route takes in the Morvan Forest, Autun, and Bibracte.

For Touring

Marcs d'Or Dijon, Carpe Diem, Chateau de Flee Burgundy

Above left: Marcs d'Or - a well-priced bed and breakfast in Dijon with private parking. Explore the city and the Côte d'Or wine region at your leisure.

Centre: Carpe Diem - a boutique bed and breakfast with a fabulous garden. From here visit the medieval villages of Noyers-sur-Serein and Montréal, Vézelay and Chablis.

Right: Château de Flee - full of interest and character, from this château Semur-en-Auxois, the Abbey of Fontenay, Alésia and more of Burgundy's prizes are within easy reach.

Family Holidays

Desjardins Cottage, Village Toue, Canal Cruising with Canalous and Locaboat Burgundy

Above left: Desjardins Cottage - experience village life in a self-catering cottage. At Escamps St. Germain all home comforts are supplied with a certain French chic. More self-catering ideas

Centre: Village Toue - a wooden houseboat on a lake or a gypsy style caravan, either will be a memorable holiday for the adventurous. This is in a nature reserve in southern Burgundy.

Right: A Canal Cruiser - you don't need a licence to take these self-drive boats on the canals of Burgundy. Stop off en route and walk, cycle, and switch off from your everyday life.

See also: Accommodation for more ideas

february 10

Burn  the calories, enjoy the reward

On the idyllic Canal du Nivernais, Elisabeth and Steve Roberts invite you to stay at their chambres d'hôte, Villa Castel Danynou, on the canal bank. Walking, cycling along the canal and relaxing make this a perfect holiday choice for country lovers. To get to the house at Cercy la Tour, there are fairly frequent train services from Paris via Nevers, ideal if you want a drive-free break. Excursions with a driver can be arranged.

Themed weekends are also suggested from fishing to wine tasting. Cyclists will enjoy the weekend along the Voie Verte and sampling the local cuisine. The route along the canal is mainly flat, suitable for all cycling levels, the bikes are provided (price reduction for bringing your own bike) and there is assistance en route should it be needed. Elisabeth is an accomplished cook, and lunch in the local restaurants and dinner at the villa are included in the price of 550 euros per person.

star struck

La Montrachet in Puligny-Montrachet was the only casualty in the Michelin Guide stars announced on February 9 when they lost their one star rating. This was the only change across the Bourgogne Franche-Comté region. See full list

february 3

wine tourism

Wine Routes in Burgundy photo: BIVB

A much improved brochure published by the BIVB, the Burgundy wine board, is now available for 2017 listing the wineries, wine areas, wine events and general tourist information associated with it. The area wine maps are particularly good. En route vers les Bourgogne is in French and English and can be found online and at tourist offices.

Cooking up a treat

burgundy on a plate cooking classesImpress your friends by cooking a truly Burgundian meal. Next week, the Burgundy on a Plate cooking classes resume in English with a French chef. You will cook a three course meal of modern French cuisine with a Burgundian twist and, after you have eaten the spoils of your labour, Sue Boxell will take you to visit the famous vineyards with a cellar visit and tasting included. New for this year, pâtisserie and bread making classes with the experts. For full details, sue@burgundyonaplate.com

january 27

value, quality and style

The BIB Gourmand recommendations came out on January 13, ahead of the main, always much awaited, announcement of the starred chefs on February 9. The BIB Gourmand is the Michelin Guide selection of value for money establishments where you can get a menu with starter, main course and dessert for a maximum of 32 euros a head. In Burgundy five new restaurants have been added to the list: Le Chastellux near Avallon; Le Relais de Saulx, Beaune (below right); Le Bistrot des Moines at the Abbaye de la Bussière (below left); L'Auberge des Tilleuls, Messigny-et-Vantoux; Le Soufflot, Irancy.

january 20

Tracing the Constellations

Luxury barge for four The Randle by Edge Charter 'Once we left Auxerre' says Katharine Norbury, 'the lock-keepers and fellow barge dwellers were the only people we saw for hours at a time, although we enjoyed the companionship of grebes, mallards, herons, swans, Canada geese, butterflies and dragonflies.' Writing in the February edition of the Lonely Planet Traveller magazine, Katharine cruised down the Canal du Nivernais on the luxury barge, the Randle, run by Edge Charter. 'Days and nights on the canal expanded, slowed down. We swam in the river below the hilltop town of Mailly-le-Château. We traced the constellations. ..I saw school children waiting for a bus, attended by a family of geese.'

For anyone thinking of a trip on the Burgundy canals this summer, this is a charming snapshot of what you can expect. The article includes tips on where to eat along the route from Auxerre to Clamecy and where to visit too. The February edition of the magazine is onsale at newsagents. Also see Barge Hotels

the days of vines and Roses

Chateau de Rully, photo BIVB Armelle photographeBurgeoning rose bushes at the ends of the rows of vines used to be commonplace in the vineyards. Both roses and vines are susceptible to some of the same fungal diseases. Roses show signs of mildew earlier than vines and so in the old days they indicated to winegrowers an early warning of impending attack. Now of course, there are more sophisticated methods of detection and the roses in vineyards are merely cosmetic, it is all part of the romance of the vine.
Photo: Château de Rully, BIVB, Armelle Photographe

january 13

La Cloche Spa Hotel in DijonLuxuriate in the Vaults

The keyword is fitness, it's time to get the body in trim for the year ahead. The Grand Hotel La Cloche in the centre of Dijon is the latest establishment to open a spa. Situated in the vaulted cellar of the building, the mood is set for a relaxing few hours of pampering and self-indulgence, good for both the body and the mind.

The other spas in Burgundy can be found at Spa Le Richebourg, Vosne Romanée; Vertigo hotel Dijon; Relais Bernard Loiseau in Saulieu; Le Cep Beaune; Hostellerie du Chapeau Rouge Dijon; Château de Courban; Château de Citeaux, Meursault.

The ice challenge

Climb the ice wall at Metabief, Franche-Comte

If physical exercise is more your thing, our picture of the week is a climber's challenge - an artificial cascade of ice at the ski station Métabief in Franche-Comté, opened this week, open all winter.  

A prestigious purchase

Bonneau du Martray, photo 365 jours en bourgogne, Laurent Gotti 'Considered one of the most prestigious estates on Corton Hill, the owning family of Domaine Bonneau du Martray has announced the sale of the majority of its shares to American businessman Enos Stanley Kroenke' reports Decanter.com. Kroenke owns Screaming Eagle winery in Napa Valley and is the majority owner of Arsenal football club. Located on the hillsides of Aloxe-Corton and Pernand-Vergelesses, the 11 hectares produce only Grands Crus from Corton and Corton-Charlemagne.

restaurant review

Le Pré aux Clercs is one of the most famous restaurants in Dijon, owned by Jean-Pierre Billoux. He is hanging up his chef's apron and Georges Blanc is set to take over the reins. It is hoped that the restaurant will reopen in June.

New Year, New Skills

You've gone as far as you can with your pastime but to reach the next level, you need some help. Call in the experts - here in Burgundy are our suggestions:

brush strokes

Stacy Kamin oilA still life or a landscape is one thing but painting a portrait from life to get a realistic result is a different matter entirely. Artist and teacher in California, Stacy Kamin, has honed her skills in this discipline and now offers a workshop at La Porte Peinte Centre pour les Arts in Noyers-sur-Serein. She works in oils but says that any paint medium is acceptable.The course will be running from May 13-20 and is open to ten students; the price is 600 euros, materials and accommodation not included. More...   

know your Grands Crus

Ecole des Vins BeauneYou know your Burgundy wines but would like to become more conversant with the Grands Crus - let's face it, who wouldn't? The Ecole des Vins in Beaune runs a course in English over three days where you can expand your knowledge. They advise that you do need to have wine tasting skills to get the best out of this experience. Time will be spent in the professional tasting room, you will visit wine domaines and study the Grands Crus of Chablis, the Côte de Beaune and Côte de Nuits. Visits to local restaurants with matched wines included. The Saga of the Grands Crus is planned for June 28-July 1, price on request. A gourmet's delight. ecoledesvins@bivb.com.

wallow in chocolate

Bernard Defoux Chocolate Course La ClayetteIt is fair to say that Bernard Dufoux has devoted his life to chocolate. He will be 80 this year but still he is expanding his business (his sixth shop opened last September in Dijon), and continues to pass on his enthusiasm for this passion from his headquarters in La Clayette. One afternoon at the beginning of each month, he or one of his team give a masterclass for four hours in the afternoon. Be prepared to wallow in the silky chocolate to make the mouth watering delights such as orangettes, griottes and ganaches. The class, Atelier Gourmand, is in French, unfortunately probably not, they say, advisable for non-French speakers, and runs from 14.00-18.00 in La Clayette, price 80 euros. Wednesday February 1 is the first class of the year. More...

Tracing the past

The prehistoric site Solutré in southern Burgundy was discovered 150 years ago. To mark the occasion, an important exhibition of finds has been brought together from museums, towns and universities across the region. There are four major sites where traces of the Neanderthals have been found: Arcy-sur-Cure (Yonne), Solutré (Saône-et-Loire), l’aven de Romain-la Roche (Doubs) and La Baume de Gigny (Jura). The exhibition at the Solutré museum runs until October 1, 2017.

User friendly wineries to visit with Rue des Vignerons

Domaine Famille Picard Chassagne-Montrachet BurgundyHere's a new website for visitors to Burgundy or Beaujolais who would like to visit a cellar for a tasting along the famous wine routes in the region but are not looking for a full blown guided tour. In Burgundy the wine grower may be a one man band or a family affair and as Jancis Robinson points out in her article on visiting Burgundy's wineries, it is not easy to find them in their cellars to pay them a visit, often they are out in the vineyard tending their plants. In Beaune and Chablis the tourist is well provided for with tastings on offer but drive out to Gevrey-Chambertin or Aloxe-Corton and where do you start? Now help is at hand. Rue des Vignerons is a website which tells you of the user-friendly winegrowers offering tastings and cellar visits. There is no fee for their services, book online, preferably ahead of time but a minimum of 30 minutes before you want to go. Some of the tastings are free of charge, and the website gives full details of tours on offer and the prices plus a map and directions. The domaines' wines are often available at a reduced rate too. This certainly simplifies life and assures you of a warm welcome. Above, Domaine Famille Picard, Chassagne-Montrachet.

Internet connection wherever you are

Hippocketwifi, mobile internet connection in France

Being connected to the internet seems to be an essential of everyday life, no matter how much we try to resist it. Most hotels now offer a WiFi connection as do some self-catering holiday homes but a far easier option is to rent a mobile hotspot and receive the internet as and when you need it, securely, wherever you are in France or Europe. Take a look at hippocketwifi, a simple system from a young progressive company based in Lyon offering mobile connection. More...

Crossword Solutions

Burgundy Today Cryptic Crossword Solutions


1. Nevers, 4. Tenant, 9. Noël, 10. Prodigious, 11. Bateau, 12&23 down Burgundy Today, 13. Kilometer, 15. Père, 16. Acts, 17. Reveillon, 21. Exported, 22. Petite, 24. A Rare Error, 25. Dope, 26. Events, 27. Troyes


1. Neo Nazi, 2. Valse, 3. Rupture, 5. Emigré, 6 .Adieu Nell, 7. Trundle, 8. Double headers, 14. Outsource, 16. Auxerre, 18. Emperor, 19. Octopus, 20. Street. 23. See 12 across