Burgundy, or Bourgogne as the French say, is a region that calls to wine enthusiasts and medieval historians. The vineyards and caves that dot the countryside are attractive and inviting; the historical villages and ancient monuments are a reminder of the wanton past in this land. Burgundy was its own independent state until 1477, and the most wealthy region of France then and now.
Within Burgundy there are four areas, each with their own contribution to the region. Cote d’Or is the most popular for oenophiles, but it is also a region that kids and their families can appreciate. So go. Enjoy the country; enjoy the wine. Rest easy knowing the kids will have a blast as well! Here are three towns with kid-friendly fun to get you started.
Flavigny is a walled medieval city of only about 300 residents. No cars are allowed within the walls, so the city has retained its old-time charm. As you walk the city you will notice several maps in strategic locations to help identify important houses and features. Adults will not want to miss the Abbey, founded in 717, which is free to tour. Wait! Can you smell that scent? It’s aniseed. The kids will love a tour of the aniseed candy factory, next to the Abby. One final note: the movie ‘Chocolat’ filmed primarily in this ancient fortress.
The prime attraction in this Burgundy town is Hotel-Dieu, a 15th century hospice, which has been lovingly preserved and renovated. Your kid’s imaginations will soar as they see the medieval medical tools on display. The wards, kitchen and pharmacy are also on exhibit. Once convinced of the marvels of modern medicine, head to a wine tasting in one of the large dark caves in this area. Children are welcome on tasting tours, and they will feel like Indiana Jones navigating the wine tunnels. Mom and Dad may also enjoy a stop at the Museum of Wine whose 15th century building was once a meeting place for the dukes of the Region.
Should you be staying in the region overnight, Dijon is a choice location for your hotel. It was one of the great European cities of the 14th century, and is still lively and bustling today. Owl’s Trail is a wonderful way to learn about the city while keeping the kiddos interested and entertained. In this self-guided tour, children can hunt for owls (carvings, plaques and such on buildings in the area) as you wander the streets discovering interesting facts of the town (like the house with no roof!) Don’t forget a stop at Amora Mustard Museum. You can also visit a cheese factory, a truffle farm, and more. Most museums are free, as well.
There are many more family-friendly excursions in Burgundy, but if time only allows for a short visit, Cote d’Or is the region to explore. Have you been to this medieval land? Tell us about it!