The Route de Bourgogne from Dijon to Santanay is not only beautiful, but a wine fancier’s dream, a perfect place to tour the Burgundy wine region and and learn about wine making right in Burgundy, France. This is Burgundy country: rolling hills, lush valleys and vineyards as far as the eye can see. You can stop at many of the little “caves” along the route to sample the fine Burgundy wine. In France, wine cellars are called “caves” so where you see a sign for Caves, you will find wine tasting and wines for sale.
Be sure to spend some time in Dijon (famous for the mustard of the same name). It is a lovely city, with a very charming “center ville”, that is considered a gastronomic center in France. The Offices de Tourisme are located on 34 Rue des Forges and Place Darcy. (Follow the signs)
From Dijon, take Highway N74 south branching off to follow the signs for “The Route des Grande Crus” to Chateau de Marsannay where you will find a lovely chateau tasting room.
This area is called the Cote de Nuits, higher up the hill is the Haut Cotes de Nuites.
Follow the road further to Couchy, Fixin, Morey St. Denis, etc. stopping where you wish. The next major town will be Nuits St. George, followed by Premeaux, Comblanchien, and finally Beaune.
Beaune is the center of the Cote de Beaune and Haut Cote de Beaune wine industry. While in Beaune, visit the museum of wine housed in the former residence of the Dukes of Burgundy. The Hotel Dieu, a former hospital for the poor, is gorgeous when you get inside the courtyard. The Marche Aux Vins, located in a former 13th century church, is the place to go for wine tasting. The Office de Tourisme is located at 1 Rue de l’hotel Dieu. The gourmet market is held every Wednesday morning and the large market, every Saturday morning.
From Beaune, take the road toward Pommard and you will then drive on to Volnay, Monthelie, and at La Rochepot look for signs to Corpeau, Santanay or Chagny, all interesting stops. At Corpeau, you can turn back toward Beaune or head south and on to the road toward Lyon.
Hint: Because of the new airline restrictions, it is not possible to bring wine that is not purchased at the duty-free shops, on the plane in your carry-on luggage. So, if you want to buy wine, have the merchant send it to you at home. You can pack it in your checked baggage wrapped well, and hope for the best. On my last trip to France, I had three bottles in my luggage and they made it home safe.