A Rich Past
Burgundy (Bourgogne) is a peaceful rural region at the heart of France, which has a rich and unique history. The Dijon based duchy ran Burgundy for 600 years until 1477, when the region was jealously snatched by the kingdom of France. There is evidence of the duchy's wealth and power everywhere, such as the many beautiful chateaux and lovely towns and villages. Burgundy was also a place of important religious and spiritual influence. There are two great abbeys at Vézelay and Fontenay and the ruins of a monastery at Cluny where the abbots' influence was second only to the pope's. This monastic presence meant that during the Middle Ages Burgundy was a great church-building region. During the Industrial Revolution Burgundy prospered once again when, in 1838, the Schneider iron and steelworks based at Le Creusot made the first French locomotive at this time.
A Heterogeneous Property Market
Today much of Burgundy's prosperity is centered about the prestigious wine growing areas in the south and around Dijon. These small pockets have helped to uphold the region's reputation as land of great art and good living. Today people visit the area to try some of France's finest wines such as Nuits-Saint-Georges, Meursault and Beaune. Most of the vineyards are found in the attractive Côte d'Or area. It is divided into the Côtes de Nuits and Côtes de Beaune, the latter is known for its whites: Meursault, Montracet and Puligny. The reds of the Côtes de Nuits are considered superior as they are richer and better age. Once run by religious orders, these vines are now owned by wealthy people and are so lucrative that they almost never come up for sale.
A Region in Expansion
Many visitors come to Burgundy to enjoy canal boat holidays on its inland waterways. There are 1200km (750 miles) of rivers and canals. Cycling along the canals is also a popular pastime and there are plenty of gentle to moderately demanding walks. In the centre of the région is the Parc de Morvan, a wooded hilly area, with a number of nature trails, animal reserves and craft shops. At present Burgundy has little economic importance and few industries but on the whole the standard of living is good. Burgundy is surprisingly not a popular region with foreign second home-buyers although in recent years it has attracted more and more interest from Parisians looking for weekend retreats. Inexpensive village houses and farmhouses in need of restoration can be found. Burgundy is well connected both to the north and south by motorways and the TGV (high speed train). It's only 100km (65miles) south of Paris and 80km north of Lyon.
- Population: 1,610,067
- Pop.density (people per km2): 51