The region of Burgundy is located just southwest of Paris, easily accessible from the capital thanks to the high-speed TGV train, excellent highways, and a network of rivers and canals. The Saône River, the Canal de Bourgogne, and numerous other waterways provide a leisurely means for a traveling vacation. From behind the wheel of a rented boat you can glide along tree-lined canals, hardly faster than a brisk walk. Luxurious hotel-barges are also available which offer exquisite service, haute cuisine, and the best wines from Burgundy's vineyards. Regional cuisine includes the famous boeuf bourguignon, coq au vin, and garlicky snails. And don't forget that Dijon is synonymous with mustard!
Famous for its fine wines, Bourgogne is home to "the best wines in Christendom," including Chamberlain, Pommard, Meursault, Chablis, Pouilly-Fuissé, and a long list of other well-known names. In the medieval city of Beaune an annual three-day wine auction draws vinophiles from around the world. Called Les Trois Glorieuses, it is held in the Hospices de Beaune, a 15th-century charity hospital.
History buffs will thrill to the medieval city of Vézelay. The Ste-Madeleine Basilica was finished in 878. Three centuries later St. Bernard preached the Second Crusade from its pulpit, and in 1190 Richard the Lionheart, king of England, and Philippe-Auguste, king of France, met here to launch the Third Crusade.
In the center of Dijon is the Palais des Ducs, which today houses the Musée des Beaux-Arts. Sometimes called "Le Petit Louvre" because of its extraordinary collections, it houses works ranging from medieval to renaissance to impressionist.
For a view of Burgundy usually reserved for the birds, hop a ride with one of several hot-air balloon companies; you'll receive a fairy-tale view of this magical land.