A Journey through Burgundy – Land of Wine and Natural Wonders

Located in the heart of France's verdant hinterland, midway between Paris and Lyon, Burgundy is a scenic wonderland synonymous with fine wine, delicious food and above all, a peaceful way of life.

Boasting everything from prehistoric caves to ancient abbeys and centuries-old châteaux, its name derives from the Burgondes, a people who moved westwards into the region from Germany in the 5th century.

With a car hire in Burgundy you can see and do everything in total comfort and entirely at your own pace. Auto Europe has the widest choice of vehicles available for your motoring tour of the region, from small, economical cars ideal for urban sightseeing to a good range of classy convertibles and sumptuous SUVs designed for visiting the vineyards and venturing further afield – and always at the best price!

Famed for its scenic lakes, fertile pastures and rolling hills, Burgundy's natural beauty is incredibly serene with many interesting places to visit, including more than 300 churches, many of which are considered masterpieces of Gothic architecture.

Its lush landscape of green meadows and deep forests is dotted with historic places and monuments, with dozens of well-preserved Romanesque chapels and medieval abbeys to see, as well as some of the most picturesque villages in the whole of France.

Covering more than 285,000 hectares, Morvan Regional Natural Park lies at the very heart of the region and provides plenty of exciting leisure opportunities such as hiking, bird-watching, mountain-biking and countless other popular outdoor pursuits.

Situated close to the centre of France, and easily accessible from Paris directly along the A6 motorway, Burgundy enjoys a temperate climate with moderate amounts of rainfall and plenty of sunny days, which greatly aids the local wine production and makes for a pleasant road-trip at any time of the year.

Wine, of course, is one of the region's most obvious attractions, with many famous vineyards to visit, most notably in and around the Côte d'Or region where some of the best Burgundy wines are made.

The name Cote d'Or comes from the golden leaves of the region’s vines and many of the local wine estates on the Burgundy Wine Route known as the Route des Grands Crus (just follow the signposts) are tourist-friendly with staff on hand to greet visitors and offer them tours of the premises and wine-tasting sessions on spec.

Burgundy's mouth-watering cuisine is also well-known around the world, most notably its two signature dishes – bœuf bourguignon and coq au vin. Other local delicacies include jambon persillé (parsley-flavoured ham), poulet à la moutarde (chicken in mustard sauce) and pôchouse, a tasty freshwater fish stew.

Many first-time visitors begin their tour of Burgundy in Auxerre, a picturesque and very historic town of narrow, cobblestone streets and lovely open squares where alfresco dining is the norm during the summer months. Its famous abbey (built well over a thousand years ago) has many unique features, including the tomb of St Germain, after whom the church is named.

Dijon, once the capital of the Duchy of Burgundy, is another suitable starting point for your Burgundy motoring holiday with many must-see monuments and tourist attractions to see, such as the elegant mansions known as 'hôtels particulier' that were built by the Dukes and still grace the city today with their fine façades. Chief among these is the Palais des Ducs which houses the magnificent Musée des Beaux-Arts, one of the best museums in France.

With an impressive Romanesque basilica, the enchanting village of Vézelay is another place you simply cannot miss when touring the area by car. One of the country's first UNESCO World Heritage Sites, the town is listed as a Plus Beaux Village (the name given to France’s most beautiful villages) and boasts breathtaking views of the Morvan mountain range situated close by.

Overflowing with medieval charm, Beaune is another charming place with an old historic centre and many old buildings to explore. Centre of the Burgundy wine trade since the 18th century, Beaune has one of the largest networks of cellars in the world and is a must for wine lovers visiting the region.

Burgundy's long list of other ‘not-to-be-missed’ places includes Noyers-sur-Serein, an unspoilt medieval town with its impressive art museum and the Roman town of Autun, famous for its Roman amphitheatre, ancient town gates and the imposing remains of the Temple of Janus built in the 1st century AD.

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