Between Dijon and Chalon-sur-Soane lays the vineyard of Burgundy. I drove the highway through the region countless time. Never did I think about taking the time to drive through the backcountry. I finally made it 4 years ago driving back from visiting my brother in Nancy. We were on a tight schedule, but still took the time to stop on the way in Gevrey Chambertin and visit the “Caveau of Philippe Leclerc”.
We followed the “Route des Grands Crus”. If you are not familiar with wine, a “Grand Cru” is a term applied to classified vineyards. A Premier Cru is the second-highest classification, below the Grand Cru and above the village AOC. We passed villages with names that bring music to a wine lover’s ears. Gevrey Chambertin, Chambole Musigny, Clos de Vougeot, Vosne Romanee are some of the villages we visited. We only stopped at one winery. Drinking and driving is not a good combination.
Friends of ours did it right. They took a boat cruise through the “Canal du Centre”. It is a great way to avoid what I was referring above. They were able to enjoy a leisurely vacation enjoying what they like most about France: Food and Wine.
You can also discover the region bicycling. Ok, you may need to be in shape to do that and it is still consider drinking and driving, but so much fun. There are plenty of outfitter bicycle tours that offer guided day and half-day tours as well as full week tours. They take care of all the logistic for you, pick-you-up at the train station, fit you to your rental bike, and carry your luggage from one destination to the next one.
We did this trip in September, just before harvest. We ran into one little traffic jam. [If I dare to call it that], but I can imagine what it must be during harvest time.
Our next trip to a wine region of France is scheduled for May this year. We are planning to go to Tours and visit some of the vineyards and castles of the Loire Valley. Stay tune!