Bourgogne Franche-Comté – Centre-Loire Valley

In January 2022, The French presidency committee decided to highlight two french regions: Bourgogne Franche-Comté and Centre-Val de Loire regions.
(the regions are highlighted in the map above).

Full of outstanding natural heritage, Bourgogne-Franche-Comté is a destination of choice for lovers of rural tourism and unspoilt landscapes.

Known all over the world for its prestigious vineyards and authentic cuisine, this lovely, rustic region will delight you with its peaceful hedged farmland, expansive vineyards, mysterious forests, mountainous massifs, rivers, big lakes and countless ponds. For those looking to rest and recuperate, nothing beats a hike in the Ballons des Vosges, Morvan or Haut-Jura Regional nature parks, a romantic stroll on the peaceful Mille Étangs Plateau or a cycle ride along the pleasant Saône-et-Loire Greenway. And if you want to unwind amid lush greenery while enjoying the water, head to Lake Les Settons in Nièvre, Lake Saint-Point in Doubs, or the lakes of Chalain and Vouglans in Jura!

As well as these natural treasures, the area has some very interesting architectural heritage. Cities of Art and History with remarkable buildings, like Dijon and its palace of the Dukes of Burgundy, Besançon and its Vauban citadel, Auxerre and its Gothic cathedral, Belfort and its majestic Lion, Dole and its old houses, La Charité-sur-Loire and its Clunisian priory, Nevers and its ducal palace, or Montbéliard and its castle of the Dukes of Württemberg, all testify to the region’s glorious past. Equally unmissable are the famous Beaune Hospices, the magnificent Vézelay Basilica, the incredible medieval construction site of Guédelon, the Royal Saltworks at Arc-et-Senans, Mont Beuvray with its marvellous panoramic views and its Bibracte Museum, the site of Alésia with its Gallo-Roman remains and MuséoParc, as well as the abbeys of Cluny, Fontenay and Pontigny, and the castles of Ancy-le-Franc, Bazoches, Berzé-le-Châtel, Cormatin and Tanlay.

As well as being popular with lovers of nature and old buildings, Burgundy-Franche-Comté also delights food and wine connoisseurs. Its authentic and flavoursome gastronomy is a treat for the taste buds, with famous specialities and dishes such as the famous wines of Burgundy and Jura, crème de cassis liqueur, Comté, Époisses and Cancoillotte cheese, Morteau sausage, eggs meurette, coq au vin jaune, potée comtoise stew and gingerbread.

Rock fans won’t want to miss the famous Eurockéennes de Belfort, festival that takes place in early July on the shores of Lake Malsaucy.

A territory steeped in history and heritage, once enjoyed by the Kings of France, today Centre-Loire Valley is highly prized by visitors who go there for its famous Renaissance castles, charming villages and gastronomic specialities.

It’s also a very green destination where nature and the forest have pride of place, making it ideal for walking holidays. Examples include the mysterious Sologne with its countless ponds, Berry with its pastoral landscapes, the immense Orleans forest and the banks of the famous wild River Loire, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The many splendid French and English-style gardens in the region are sure to delight lovers of extensive plant collections!

Famed all over the world, the Loire Valley castles have made their mark on the history of France. Chambord and its prestigious estate, Chenonceau and its magnificent arches over the Cher, Azay-le-Rideau and its romantic park, Amboise and its unforgettable views over the Loire, and Villandry with its remarkable gardens are all among the magical sites for visitors to enjoy on a weekend or longer trip… In Berry, heritage enthusiasts can enjoy the wonderful castles of Ainay-le-Vieil, Argy, Bouges, Meillant and Valençay, as well as charming villages like Apremont-sur-Allier, Gargilesse-Dampierre and Saint-Benoît-du-Sault. When it comes to outings in the Berry countryside, you’ll be spoilt for choice, with the Brenne Regional Nature Park and its thousands of ponds, Châteauroux forest, the Berry canal towpath and the vineyards of Sancerrois. Everything you need for a very pleasant country holiday!

Not to be outdone, the towns of Centre-Loire Valley are brimming with architectural treasures from the medieval era and the Renaissance. Lovers of culture and old buildings will be delighted by Blois and its royal castle, Bourges and its Jacques Cœur Palace, Tours and its museums, Chartres and its Gothic cathedral, Orleans and its Place du Martroi, to name but a few.

You can also take advantage of the region’s mild climate by treating yourself to a walk around the famous Loire Valley vineyard. It’s a great opportunity to stop by one of the many wine cellars and enjoy a little glass of wine from Anjou or Touraine!