A traveler can scarcely tell where Burgundy begins. Is it the first sight of hilltop Vezelay's Basilica of Ste. Madeleine, or maybe it's that first sip of Montrachet that tells you that you've crossed into a magical province? Burgundy is a bouquet of good things to eat, to drink, to touch, see and feel. It's sensual countryside that has in its history ruled over portions of Holland, Luxembourg, Flanders, Picardie, Lorraine and the Franche-Comte. At one time it was larger than the kingdom of France. While its size has shrunk in modern times now bordered by the Loire, Marne and Soane rivers before turning into the Rhone valley to the south, it still commands the attention and hearts of travelers.
Burgundy's history is intertwined with the Caesars, pilgrims on their way to Santiago de Compostela and crusaders en route to Jerusalem. The magnificent Romanesque architecture of the churches and abbeys ~ Vezelay, Auxerre, Fontenay and Autun ~ the wine trade centered around Beaune and down to Beaujolais where you’ll find legendary Pinot Noirs, Chablis and Chardonnays as well as the peaceful, pastoral canals that crisscross the region form the visions modern day travelers conjure. Today’s pilgrims are those in search of food, wine and artistic sites.
Because of our nearly four decades of personal and professional partnerships with French providers, we are able to not only offer our clients premium value for these indelible Burgundy experiences but also the opportunity to savor them in a highly personalized luxury manner. Whether you are a budget minded traveler or one with Platinum travel tastes, let Endless Beginnings create a luxury custom journey to fulfill your dreams.
The cuisine of Burgundy, known for its richness, is influenced by the region's heavy red wines and its possession of one of the world's finest breeds of beef cattle, the Charollais. The wines, used in the preparation of the sauces which earn a dish the designation of à la bourguignonne, are cooked in a red wine sauce to which baby onions, mushrooms and lardons (pieces of bacon) are added. The classic Burgundian dishes include boeuf bourguignon and coq au vin. Also appearing on the menus is meurette, another red wine sauce made without mushrooms and flambéed with a touch of marc brandy, primarily used with eggs, fish and poultry as well as red meat.
Snails, escargots, are a also a popular Burgundian specialty, and the local style of cooking them involves stewing for several hours in the white wine of Chablis with shallots, carrots and onions, then stuffing them with a butter of garlic and parsley and finishing them off in the oven. You'll also find the parsley-flavored jambon persillé or ham or hams from the Morvan hills cooked in a cream saupiquet sauce; calf's head, tête de veau or sansiot, river fish poached in white wine with onions, butter, garlic and lardons, that marvellous chicken, poussin, from Bresse, saddle of hare, rable de lièvre à la Piron, and a vegetable soup, potée bourguignonne, cooked in the juices of long-simmered bacon and pork bits.
Like other regions of France, Burgundy produces a wide variety of cheeses of which the best-known are the creamy white Chaource, the soft St-Florentin from the Yonne valley, the orange-skinned Époisses and the delicious goat's cheeses from the Morvan. And don't forget gougère, a kind of cheesey cream puff, best eaten warm with a glass of Chablis.
Pinot Noir is the red grape of the great and good wines of Burgundy, while Gamay crops up primarily in the Mâconnais, producing quaffable bottlings — with a few exceptions. César is an ancient indigenous variety that brings body to some thin northern Burgundian wines. The region makes twice as much white as red, nearly all with the Chardonnay grape, also used in sparkling Crémant de Bourgogne, originally from the village of Rully. When too tart to drink straight, the second most common Burgundy white, Aligoté, is stirred with "cassis" black-currant syrup and served as Kir (add Champagne, and it's a Kir Royal).
The battle over oaky, high-tech wines has deeply affected Burgundy's winemaking. The big oak barrels and vats that were traditionally used are still around, but many more winemakers employ toasted new-oak casks to impart vanilla and other so-called "New World" flavors to wines. Luckily, the soil and climate mean Burgundy wines will never develop the fat of their American or Australian counterparts. The global market–chasing mania of fruit-forward bottlings hasn't really taken hold here. Burgundian Pinot Noirs are still subtle, complex, and lightly tannic, with an intense violet nose. Chardonnays range from nervy or mineral to rich and honeyed. Those with heavy vanilla overlays are usually made for export — or to please certain American critics who favor huge, flowery, fat wines. The biggest Burgundy whites and reds take time to develop, aging gracefully for 20 or 30 years.
Aqueduct, Briare, Burgundy
Auxerre, Yonne, Burgundy
Barging in Burgundy
Burgundy countryside wine cellar
Pinot Noir Grapes
Ballooning over Chateau
Tanlay Castle Burgundy
Vineyards near Fuisse
North façade of Château de Digoine
Classic boeuf Bourguignon
A gentle cruise on a hotel barge is the perfect way to discover the very soul of Europe, exploring its idyllic pastoral countryside and historical treasures, discovering unknown France experienced only from the intimate access a barge can offer. Far removed from the hustle and bustle of city life, hotel barge voyages allow you to travel in luxury without the strains of packing and unpacking all the while enjoying a blend of daily excursions, fascinating cruising, exceptional Cuisine and phenomenal wine.
Imagine a romantic hot air balloon flight in France. Floating majestically and effortlessly over the prettiest regions including Paris, Loire Valley, Provence, Burgundy, Auvergne. Hot air balloon flights can be enjoyed by everyone as there are no particular age or physical requirements. Take flight in the early hours just after dawn or later in the day just before sunset when the air is still and the light is perfect for drifting gently, gazing down at the countryside carpet below, including châteaux, medieval villages, and vineyards. Finishing up with the traditional Champagne "toast aux Aéronautes" at the landing