Dijon, the historical capital of the Burgundy region, boasts an unusually large number of churches and cathedrals, as well as superb museums such as the Musee Magnin and Musee des Beaux-Arts de Dijon. Famous for its mustard, this university town is lively and majestic. Visit Autun, the Roman heart of Burgundy and a town rich in history and architecture, surrounded by the beautiful countryside. For sports fans, Auxerre is not to be missed, which is famous for its football team, as well as its timber-framed houses. And Beaune , the centre of the wine region, steeped in wine culture, is surrounded by sprawling vineyards. Wine connoisseurs will head straight to Chablis , the town known as the golden gate of Burgundy for its great wine, while foodies will venture to Joigny, home of one of France's best known restaurants, La Cote St-Jacques. History buffs will not forget Vezelay, a designated UNESCO World Heritage site with a historical basilica at the heart of the medieval town. Other notable cities include St Florentin , Semur-en-Auxois , Chatillon-sur-Seine and Saulieu .
Burgundy is one of France's main wine producing areas. It is well known for both its red and white wines, mostly made from Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes, respectively, although other grape varieties can be found, including Gamay, Aligote, Pinot Blanc, and Sauvignon Blanc. The region is divided into the Côte-d'Or, where the most expensive and prized Burgundies are found, and Beaujolais, Chablis, the Côte Chalonnaise and Mâcon. The reputation and quality of the top wines, together with the fact that they are often produced in small quantities, has led to high demand and high prices, with some Burgundies ranking among the most expensive wines in the world. Not surprisingly, famous Burgundian dishes include wine, notably coq au vin and beef bourguignon. Other mouth-watering specialties include poulet de bresse (Bresse chicken), escargot a l'ail (garlic snails with parsley) and poussin a la moutarde (hen with Dijon mustard).
Burgundy is easily accessible by all transports. For English tourists, crossing the channel is relatively cheap and fast. By train, visitors can visit the region via the TGV and TER, which run regularly from Paris or Lyon to Dijon. From nearby cities, motorways allow visitors to thoroughly explore the nooks and crannies of Burgundy. In addition, buses regularly cross the four departments. For cyclists, traveling the region via bicycle is quite simple.
During the middle ages the Dukes of Burgundy became so rich and so powerful that they rivaled the King of France who was both a blood relative and theoretically their feudal overlord. They maintained their more or less independant status by switching alliances between the King of France and the King of England (who also claimed the throne of France). Their actions helped prolong the battles between the French and English kings into what is known as the Hundred Years War.