Burgundy Festivals

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There’s been much talk of food and wine. Essential as they are to any holiday in Burgundy.

Part of the art of good living and ‘richness’ of the region is the ambience and the festivals that make this such a colorful place to spend an entire vacation or a few days.

There are so many….

Burgundy moons

Ancient cathedrals, castles, silent abbeys, villages and towns throughout Burgundy come alive with music, theatre, dance and song from June until October at over a hundred locations.

Beaune vibrates to concerts of the very best in Baroque, andVezelay, concert in the Abbey Church noble château courtyards echo to symphony orchestras.

String quartets in rural Romanesque churches send their harmonies across the countryside beneath a benevolent Burgundy moon ;

jazz stars come to Couches and Nevers, the world’s folk groups celebrate annually at Dijon’s Fête de la Vigne – the region’s concert calendar is worthy of international capitals, for Burgundy attracts the best.

From Bach to Bacchus

Meursault’s music festival’s title sets the tone: a land of so many fine wines must logically enjoy letting its hair down, dressing up and having fine time.

Jousting tournament on the Saone

Whether it’s carnaval at Chalon, mediaeval festival at Semur-en-Auxois or Saulieu’s gourmet’s fair; jousting tournaments on the waters at Clamecy, Accolay or Auxonne; the French formula one Grand Prix at Magny-Cours, the hurdy-gurdy festival at Anost or the national blues festival at Le Creusot; the choice is endless but the theme remains the same:

mediaeval festival at Semur-en-Auxois

Burgundy’s parties are like its wines – rich and varied and there to be enjoyed. Hot air balloons congregate in bubbling, colourful high masses at Chalon-sur-Saône, while more down to earth concerns are catered for at the many regional food fairs like Beaune’s Wine, Bread and Cheese fair, Escolives-Sainte-Camille’s cherry fair, Saint-Léger-sous-Beuvray’s Chestnuts fair or Pluvet’s Onion fair.

French Formula 1 Grand Prix in Nevers/Magny-cours Hurdy-gurdy festival at Anost Jousting tournaments on the Saône Medieval Festival, Semur-en-Auxois Bussy-Rabutin

French Formula 1 Grand Prix in Nevers/Magny-cours

Wine events

The Saint Vincent Tournante, a procession through the streets of famous wine villages followed by a feast, celebrates the patron saint of winegrowers on the first weekend before or after January 22nd.

High point of the annual wine cycle comes after the vendanges, or grape harvest, with the Trois Glorieuses, three gloriously hedonistic days of wine-tasting, auctions, feasting and fête.

Festivities begin at Clos de Vougeot on the third Saturday of November with the Confrérie du Tastevin’s annual disnée, or grand dinner, the sort legends are made of. Sunday, from dawn to dusk, is taken up with the important business of tasting, pricing and selling the year’s harvest at the Beaune Hospice auction.

Selling the year’s wine harvest at the Beaune Hospice auction

At Meursault, La Paulée is celebrated on the Monday. Local winegrowers and their guests treat themselves to a generous banquet with some of their best vintages, each grower bringing his own bottles to compare, rival and consume with those of his neighbours. A literary prize of a hundred bottles of Meursault, is awarded to the author of a book on the countryside.

Other wine events are sprinkled throughout the calendar and include the auction at Nuits-Saint-Georges, the national wine fair at Mâcon, the wine fair at Pouilly-sur-Loire, the wine press festival at Chenôve,

Joigny’s vendanges festivities to celebrate the end of grapepicking, the celebration of newly pressed wine at Nuits-Saint-Georges and the Chablis and Auxerrois wines’ fairs.

Pageants in the four corners of Burgundy

Many memorable summer evening historical pageants are played out in the Roman Theatre of Autun, at the Château of Saint-Fargeau or in the collegiate church in Semur-en-Auxois. Great sound and light shows take place in the gothic cathedral at Auxerre, in Auxonne’s castle and in La Clayette Château.

Historical pageant played out at the Château of Saint-Fargeau

Information on all Burgundy’s festivities is available on request from the Comité Régional du Tourisme or from the four departments’ tourist committees. Consult the website :
credits : Burgundy Tourist Board

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