Enchanting scenery, impressive art treasures from a glorious past world-famous wines and gastronomic addresses revered both at home and abroad make Burgundy the region for connoisseurs and bons vivants.
In Burgundy, three of the most famous French wine regions can be found: Chablis deep in the northwest, Cote d'Or in the centre, divided into the northern Cote de Nuits and the southern Cote de Beaune, and the Chalonnais and Maconnais regions in the south. (Beaujolais lies almost completely in the departement of Rhone and is not included in Burgundy's wine region - the same goes for the region on the Loire around Pouilly). The four main grape varieties are Pinot Noir, Gamay, Chardonnay and Aligote, although red Burgundy is synonymous with Pinot Noir and the great white wines are made from Chardonnay. Aligote is cultivated in areas where the ground is not really suitable for Chardonnay. Passe-Tout-Grain (as the name says, anything goes here) is an uninspiring blend of Pinot Noir and Gamay.
The remote Jura region between Burgundy and Switzerland with its terrain of wide-ranging uplands and pretty rivers primarily attracts visitors who love nature and fine scenery. Its cultural and gastronomic delights are equally numerous.
The former French region of Franche-Comte, is situated between the tourist magnets of Grand Est in the north, Burgundy in the west and Switzerland in the east. Its own charms seem to have escaped all but a few connoisseurs. The rural scenery and natural beauties, including romantic waterfalls and streams, are integrated into an extensive network of paths and cycle routes, along with cross-country ski runs and other winter sport facilities.
The major feature of Franche-Comte is the French Jura, a 125 mile-long, 40 mile wide section of a hard limestone mountain system that stretches from the upper Rhone as far as the Czech Republic. The highest summit of the range is close to Geneva (Cret de la Neige, 1718m). The eastern part is dominated by rough, windswept plateaux and mountains with broad meadows and dark evergreen forests. Between the parallel-running mountain ridges (monts) there are wide valleys (vals), which are linked by narrower valleys running across the peaks (cluses). Towards the west the Jura range descends gently over rolling plateaux with woods, fields and lakes. Due to the mild climate of the upper Sadne valley, formerly known as Bon Pays, it has always been a scene of agriculture and cattle breeding. Life was easier there than in the mountains, where there was said to be, eight months of snow, two months of wind, but the rest of the year is wonderful. On the western slopes of the Jura, opposite Burgundy's Cote d'Or, wine is produced on a strip about 6 miles wide known as Cote or Vignoble.