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Your favorite art and architecture in Burgundy

I will be travelling in Burgundy in March to see art and architecture of the region. So far I have plans to see Hospices de Beaune, The Cathedral in Vezelay, the works of Gislebertus(my favorite) in Autun. We will be traveling by train or bus (no car) so some places, like the Abbey of Fontenay, will unfortunately be out of our reach. I would love your recommendations for art and architecture in this region. I especially enjoy Romanesque scupture, but also love Gothic, tapestries, stained glass, etc. Oh, and if you know of any budget (under 70 euros for a double) hotels/b & b's centrally located in the towns I'd appreciate that info too!

Posted by
3313 posts

Is there a reason you won't rent a car? Burgundy is a large, rural region with limited public transit. What is available is more oriented to the wine towns than abbeys or castles. You do seem to know what you want to see, so I'd urge you to consider renting a car. As far as places to say under 70 Euro (and thank you for being clear about your price range), you should check the Logis de France association of small, family-run, hotels. You're likely to find rooms in your price range in the smaller towns. In Beaune, you might check out the budget hotels closer to the Autoroute - the Kyradis is one. Again, having a car would help.

Posted by
435 posts

Thanks for the reply, Doug. We aren't getting a car because neither of us can drive. Also thanks for the tip about Logis de France -- I'll check it out. Happy new year!

Posted by
4132 posts

HS: You can see the Fontenay Abbey if you hire a cab from Montbard. I think it's about 4 miles. The walk to the Abbey from the train station (and/or back) is also featured in Foder's Short Escapes in France, but you'd probably want weather that is very good for that time of year. (It's more like 3 miles on foot, as I recall, along one of the randonnee tracks.) If you go to Dijon - I'm not saying you should, just if you go - pop into the Cour D'Appel and get a look at the ceiling. You might have to explain to the security guards that you just want a quick look.

Posted by
120 posts

"if you know of any budget (under 70 euros for a double) hotels/b & b's centrally located in the towns I'd appreciate that info too!" Le Jacquemart hotel will perfectly fit your budget and is located in the old part of Dijon.www.hotel-lejacquemart.fr or more recent and next to the Galeries Lafayette www.hotel-bb.com/reservation-hotel/home (check Dijoncentre). If you have a limited time in Dijon (IMO the best base for you since all buses and trains leave from there) don't miss the owl's trail. Ask for the brochure (2.50€) at one of the tourist offices and follow the small brass triangles with an owl inside that lead you to the main sites in Dijon. http://www.travelsignposts.com/Destination/v/France/Dijon/?g2page=3 Bon voyage and welcome to Burgundy!

Posted by
435 posts

Thanks so much, Adam and Coco. Yes, we certainly will visit Dijon and I appreciate the excellent tips!

Posted by
2349 posts

I just read a memoir by M.F.K. Fisher about her years spent in Dijon in the 1920's. It's called "Long Ago in France." It's more about food than art/architecture, but you may enjoy it.

Posted by
435 posts

Thanks KarenI'll check it out. Believe me, I love food as much as art and architecture, but in France it seems more difficult to fit into our budget. Fortunately, we've taken advantage of the many excellent markets and bakeries and have had many wonderful picnics.........

Posted by
893 posts

You're already seeing the Hospice of Beaune, which has the great Final Judgement work of art at the end. Definitely ask the guard to maneuver the giant magnifying glass around. That was our favorite part of the visit. Can you get up to Semur-en-Auxios? Lovely, quaint town and the architecture of most interest is how the towers/wall around the city haven't completely fallen apart or over! They also have a free museum with a Beaux-Arts section that is small, but nice. I would seriously recommend you look in to ways to get to Abbeye de Fontenay. This was my most pleasant surprise of my exploration of Burgundy. I was underwhelmed by the Cathedral in Vezelay. Dijon has some great architecture and many free museums. You can easily make a day trip out of walking the "owl trail" (stop in the TI to pick up the small brochure in English that tells you what you're seeing at each marker, or take one of the guided tours in English) and go in the museums along the way. The museums in Beaune are free. Have a great trip!

Posted by
893 posts

You're already seeing the Hospice of Beaune, which has the great Final Judgement work of art at the end. Definitely ask the guard to maneuver the giant magnifying glass around. That was our favorite part of the visit. Can you get up to Semur-en-Auxios? Lovely, quaint town and the architecture of most interest is how the towers/wall around the city haven't completely fallen apart or over! They also have a free museum with a Beaux-Arts section that is small, but nice. I would seriously recommend you look in to ways to get to Abbeye de Fontenay. This was my most pleasant surprise of my exploration of Burgundy. I was underwhelmed by the Cathedral in Vezelay. Dijon has some great architecture and many free museums. You can easily make a day trip out of walking the "owl trail" (stop in the TI to pick up the small brochure in English that tells you what you're seeing at each marker, or take one of the guided tours in English) and go in the museums along the way. The museums in Beaune are free. Have a great trip!

Posted by
435 posts

Hi Dina, Yes, I believe I have found a way to get to Semur-en-Auxios. For Abbeye de Fontenay, we may attempt to rent bikes from Montbard (weather permitting) or take a taxi. Thanks!

Posted by
10170 posts

Central Dijon has the widest range from very early church crypts (7-9C), restored medieval houses and other buildings, to 14th and 15thC palace and more. The Renaissance religious carvings are unbelievably magnificent. We've stayed in the Dijon hotel mentioned above. It was very good for the price.

Posted by
435 posts

Yes--we were lucky and booked the last room at Le Jacquemart! I can't wait to see the wonderful carvings.

Posted by
10170 posts

There is also an amazing museum of the Celtic culture in Dijon. Because they didn't have a written language, history books tend to begin with the Romans, but this museum is filled with amazing objects in gold, statues of the gods and goddesses, ex-votos thrown into waters with prayers. You can discern the difference between the carvings and tombstones influenced by the Romans and the ones more purely Celtic. Bon voyage.