The finest Burgundy wines come from the Côte-d’Or (Golden Hillside) vineyards. These wines are the pride of the department as it is the birthplace of fine appellations from pretty Gevrey-Chambertin with its narrow streets, Clos de Vougeot, Meursault and Montrachet.

The Route des Grand Crus (Route of Great Wines) wine trail is just west of the A31 running for 60 kilometres along the base of the
Côte-d’Or escarpment from Dijon to Santenay and featuring over 37 stone villages with steeple-topped churches (some even with their own châteaux) and fields of flowers. The route is divided into the northern section, Côte de Nuits, between Dijon and Corgoloin and which specializes in subtle and sophisticated reds, particularly Pinot Niors; the southern section Côte de Beaune, between Ladoix-Serrigny and Santenay and which goes for whites; and Hautes-Côtes (back hills) consisting of vineyards betweeen the other routes and the escarpment.

 The vineyards are impeccable, as they are trimmed and maintained along beautiful slopes, each with their own name. While the lower sections of the trail are home to vast wine fields, the upper areas are home to forests and cliffs that offer great views of the lush surroundings.

FRANCE BURGUNDY COTE D'OR Dijon Route des Grand CrusThe Côte de Nuits section (closest to Djion- the usual point of arrival) starts just south of Marsannay-la-Côte and most of the Grand Cru vineyards lie in between the villages of Gevrey-Chambertin and Vosne-Romanée. These vineyards are known for producing the most prestigious Burgundy wines- Romanée-Conti. The village of Vougeot also lies within this stretch and is notable for its walled vineyard, Clos de Vougeot that is guarded by a magnificent château. The town of Nuits-St-Georges lies just a few kilometres from Vosnée Romanée and it acts as a great pit stop, as its offers all the basic necessities, from hotels to restaurants.

The Côte de Beaune section can be found right after this, and it covers hamlets like Aloxe-Corton (easy to spot thanks to its well-known Château Corton-André) and Pernand-Vergelesses (a small village that is tucked away in a valley, just off the N74). The trail continues past the town of Beaune all the way to Santenay, covering sights like the Château de Pommard [15 rue Marey Monge, +33 38021259, www.chateaudepommard.com] (a rosy hued, 18th century castle that was built by the Dukes of Bourgogne), the Volnay church (located in the quiet hillside village of the same name) and St-Romain (a pretty village that encompasses the beauty of the entire trail, by sitting snugly at a spot where the vineyards end and the forests begin). You can then follow the trail pass Orches to arrive at yet another castle- the Château de la Rocheport [+33 380217137 www.larochepot.com ad/ch €8/4] (identified by their conical towers).

If you have time, try hiking or biking through the trail- walkers can follow the GR76 from Djion to Beaune, then thread the Route des Grand Crus path, while bikers can take the D122, then D115C (known for its hilly locations). The Voie de Vignes is a special 20km bike trial that begins at Beaune’s Parc de la Bouzaize leading you to the end of the Route des Grand Crus, at Santenay.



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                                                   ROUTE DES GRAND CRUS

CÔTE DE NUITS ROUTE:   Villages include:  DIJON, Chenôve, Marsannay-la-Côte, Couchey Fixin, Brochon, Gevrey-Chambertin, Morey-St Denis, Chambolle-Musigny, Vougeot, Vosne Romanee, Nuits-Saint-Georges, Chaux, Premeaux-Prissey, Comblanchien, Villers-la-Faye, Magny-les-Villers, Corgoloin

CÔTE DE BEAUNE ROUTE:   Villages include:  Ladoix-Serrigny, Chorey-lès-Beaune, Échevronne, Pernand-Vergelesses, Savigny-lès-Beaune, BEAUNE, Pommard, Volnay, Monthelle, Meursault, Puligny-Montrachet, Auxey-Duresses, St Romain, Baubigny, Le Rochepot, St Aubin, Chassagne-Montrachet, Santenay