Most Beautiful Villages in Burgundy: Here is a list of the most beautiful cities and villages in Burgundy, sorted in order of decreasing popularity among tourists.
Of course, like / dislike is always individual. Someone will have a different sample of the most beautiful cities in Burgundy; someone will have a different sequence of decreasing “beauty”… But in general, I hope the information below will help you determine your travel priorities.
10 Most Beautiful Villages in Burgundy
- Dijon is the capital of Burgundy, a relatively small but very diverse town with many architectural attractions from different eras. From traditional half-timbered houses of the Middle Ages to exquisite Renaissance and classicist mansions. Very French and very famous for its beautiful mustard.
- Flavigny-sur-Ozerain is a small old village that has hardly changed since the Middle Ages. All the same stone houses, and all the same monastery, where they came up with anise sweets, are very popular in France. Flavigny is one of the ten most beautiful villages in France, so it was here that they decided to shoot the famous film “Chocolate”.
- Châteauneuf is a tiny medieval town, one of the most beautiful in France. The main decoration of Chateneuf is a sizeable ancient castle, after which it got its name.
- Beaune is a pretty old town, capital of Burgundy wines – it is here, in Beaune’s hospice with a characteristic multi-colored roof – Hôtel-Dieu de Beaune – that is the largest wine auction in France. There are numerous vineyards in the vicinity of Beaune: they make the best white wines in Burgundy.
- Noyers is a tiny old town that belongs to the Association of the Most Beautiful in France. Medieval streets are lined with houses from the 13th – 15th centuries, with half-timbered elements characteristic of Burgundy. Excellent white wines are made in the vicinity of Neue (Chablis region).
- Vézelay is an old town located on a hill. For a long time, it was an intermediate point on the pilgrimage route to Spain: here you can admire the Saint-Madeleine Basilica dating back to the 11th century, which is included in the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
- Chalon-sur-Saône is famous for its old civil buildings, among which the bishop’s palace is especially famous. The city’s main attraction is the old church, the construction of which began in the 8th century.
- Autun is a picturesque town, the main attraction of an old Romanesque church with impressive sculptural bas-reliefs that adorn the main entrance and the column capitals. Napoleon Bonaparte studied in Autun, having arrived from Corsica.
- Nolay is a tiny medieval market town, considered the most beautiful village on the south side of the Côte-d’Or department. You can only admire a beautiful central square, framed by the 14th century covered market and old wooden houses. Among the local attractions is the house where Lazar Carnot was born, a famous scientist and politician, “Organizer of victory” in the French revolutionary wars.
The Most Beautiful Towns in Burgundy
In every country in Europe, there are hidden medieval cities and towns that have survived to this day and are destinations the sea of picturesque.
For example, France concentrates beautiful places in the territory known as Burgundy or Bourgogne, in French. Summer is an ideal time to move around this part of the country, so I leave you a brief selection of Burgundy’s most beautiful towns.
It is a historical territory located in the central-eastern part of France, and today it is made up of four departments: the Gold Coast, Saône-et-Loire, Nièvre, and Yonne.
Formerly these French lands were occupied by Celtic tribes that in Roman times were incorporated into the Empire. In the fourth century, after the time of Roman glory, the Burgundians appeared on the scene, a Germanic tribe that arrived from the Baltic Sea.
The Burgundians settle in the western Alps and are later conquered by the Franks. Those were the times of the Kingdom of Burgoña, and in the end, these lands became duchies.
In medieval times Burgundy was filled with elegant and essential monasteries and was the scene of famous battles and political conflicts in the history of the kingdom of France. That is why a walk through these lands of pleasant oceanic climate is a journey through history.
Oh, and for the gastronomy too. After all, it is the birthplace of the famous French Burgundy.
This medieval village is a beautiful built-in high mountain. Look at the Burgundy Canal, and it looks like something out of a Grimm brothers’ fairy tale. It has a castle built at the time by Duke Philippe-le-Bon, partially in ruins today but with a 15th-century Gothic chapel.
Last year, just for the summer and after many works, a new visitor center was opened in the castle that is open throughout the year except for specific national or religious dates and a couple of hours on Mondays at noon.
Around and below, there are cafes, shops, and an unforgettable medieval spirit in the streets of the village.
Many believe that it is the best medieval village in Burgundy. It also has a castle, right at the entrance, and a stone path that leads to the church.
The village market dates from the 15th century and is covered, and if you go in summer, you will be able to enjoy the spectacle provided by the flowers in each window of each house in the village.
The best panoramic view is from the top of the hill where you can find the chapel, the Chapelle-sous-Brancion, a small but charming 14th-century Romanesque-style church surrounded by vineyards.
It is a beautiful medieval village hidden in the rocky mountains and knew how to be an excellent fortified town in medieval times. Everything is made of rock, and it is a perfectly preserved site because its inhabitants take it very seriously.
Did you see Juliet Binoche’s film, Chocolate (she arrives with her daughter in a town and opens a chocolate shop, scandalizing the mayor)? Well, it was filmed here.
Today there are many art galleries. If you like anise, there is an anise pellet factory in Abbaye de Flavigny, an 8th-century Benedictine abbey that has kept this old recipe ever since.
This medieval Burgundy village is also in the mountains, overlooking the Serein valley. It is a clear example of the fortified villages of this region as it is tucked in an arch known as Porte d’en Bas.
A bouquet of streets, medieval houses, walls, turrets, underground dungeons, stone stairs here and there, small hidden courtyards, and almost twenty springs that supply water. A marvel.
As you climb, you go deeper into Montrèal, and you pass a second door, the Porte d’en Haut, behind which there are a church and a cemetery and a viewpoint that allows you a view of the valley of the beautiful Serein river. This is where the castle from 1599 is built by a knight of
The Second Crusade
This castle is older than Notre Dame de Paris, and inside there are three-dimensional sculptures, with biblical and wooden motifs, given to the Duke of Burgundy by King Francis I of France.
Montrèal is a quiet place that many Parisians visit, although in summer, every Wednesday, there is a colorful market, artisan festivals, and music concerts. If you decide to go nearby, you can visit Vézelay, Avallon, the Grottos d’Arcy or the Ancy-le-Franc Castle.
Another fortified town with old houses with tile roofs and wooden shutters. Its squares, streets, and arcades date from the 13th to the 19th centuries and are adorned with churches and chapels.
It is a town that comes to life from April when the first visitors arrive, and the restaurants and cafes open in the sun. There is also a large community of artists dedicated to painting and running their pottery, handbag, and jewelry workshops.
If you have a car, you can go up from Marcigny to appreciate, as you get closer, the beauty of this old medieval town on the heights.
The village is dominated by castle t. Hugues, from the 9th century and therefore the oldest in the region. Here was born an important Abbot of the Monastery of Cluny, Hugues de Semur. The castle opens between March 1 and November 15 and there are many places to visit within the town and around.
These are some examples of the most beautiful towns in Burgundy. Still, of course, they are not the only towns or cities to visit: Dijon, the former capital of the duchy, is a fantastic city, and Beaune is still picturesque with its historic buildings and cobblestone streets.
There is also Cluny, with its rich and powerful abbey crushed by the French Revolution.
We can add the Chateau de Guedelon, a 1997 castle built by history enthusiasts where you can even dress up in period costume and play a bit, and two real villas, Ancy-le-Franc and Tanlay.
And I would not leave Autun out as it was founded by the Roman Emperor Augustus and still has treasures from that time. As you can see, it is impossible to review everything. My advice is that you rent a car, essential if you want to travel, and dedicate yourself to making a list of what you do not want to miss, always leaving a door open to discover new destinations.