Skip to content

Bourgogne is a region in the central east part of France, most famous for its wines. But it’s also a region with a rich history, home to gorgeous archeological sites, châteaux, abbeys, cities and lovely villages to visit. It’s rural, perfect for knitters looking for a peaceful place and for some amazing local yarns to discover. Not far from Paris, it’s a great destination if you want to spend a few days discovering some of the most beautiful French countryside. 

A good starting point is Auxerre, a two-hour train ride from Paris. 

Take a walk in the charming old town full of medieval houses, or follow the Yonne river. Don’t miss the Saint Etienne Cathedral built in the 13th century in gothic style with its gorgeous stained glass.

Inspiring archeological sites

Before it was colonized and integrated into the Roman empire, Bourgogne was first inhabited by groups of Celtic tribes known as the Gauls. They have a rich and fascinating culture that you can discover through the many archeological sites and museums in Bourgogne.

One of them is Alesia where the famous final battle between the Gauls led by Vercingetorix and the Romans commanded by Julius Caesar took place. Today a modern museum relates the history of the Roman conquest, and you can also visit the many archeological sites surrounding the city.

Another important place of Gallic culture is Bibracte, an hour and a half south. It used to be a great city on top of one of the highest mountains in Bourgogne, Mont Beuvray. 

When you climb up by foot or minibus through the magical forest of old trees, you can feel how special this place is. The ancient Gauls had a religion based on animism and druidism, and the trees here still seem to carry some of the spiritual power that was invested in them centuries ago. You can spend hours walking through the forest, admiring the intricacy of the trees’ roots and branches.

At the top, there is a gorgeous view where, on a good day, you can see as far as the Mont Blanc in the Alps. You can walk through archeological remains of a Roman villa, a fountain, a temple, a Gallic house, all in the peaceful atmosphere of the forest. There’s also a great museum where you can learn more about the history of the place.

Local yarn

If you go to Bibracte, don’t forget to stop at the next village of Glux en Glenne where you can meet Cécile from Plumes de Mouton, a local knitter, spinner, farmer, and yarn dyer. 

If you call or email beforehand, Cécile will welcome you at her farm where you can meet her flock of sheep and goats. She transforms their wool—along with the wool she collects from her neighbors—into gorgeous yarns that she hand-dyes in bright colors.

While you’re there, Joséphine the goat will probably ask you for a hug. She loves the attention, so she is always in a field close to the house. Even though she is the oldest goat at the farm, she is still in great shape! She can’t be in the same field as the mohair goats or she will chase them and make them run all day long.

Cécile is also a great spinning teacher; we had the chance to follow one of her spinning workshop at the latest retreat I hosted and it was really inspiring. She regularly offers spinning classes where you can learn about all the steps of transformation from wool to yarn and enjoy the slowness of the process.

A pause in nature

The region right in the center of Bourgogne is called the Morvan. It’s home to the smallest mountain in France and is a lot greener than the rest of Bourgogne, with forests, hills and lakes, where in the rest of Bourgogne you will find more fields and vineyard landscapes. If you’re looking for restful vacations in nature, then this is perfect for you. You can go hiking in the many available trails or simply relax by gorgeous lakes.

Beautiful abbeys and châteaux

A tour of Bourgogne wouldn’t be complete without seeing some of its châteaux and abbeys!

The most famous is probably the Abbey of Fontenay declared World Heritage by the UNESCO; it dates back to the 12th century and is well preserved. 

You can tour the church, the cloister, and the buildings where the monks lived and worked and feel the peaceful atmosphere of the place.

Another interesting abbey not far from Fontenay is Flavigny Abbey. Monks started making the famous Anise de Flavigny candy when they founded the abbey in the eighth century. The building is still used as a candy factory where you can visit and have a taste!

Underneath you can visit the Carolingian crypt from the ninth century.

In the same area, the Epoisse Château is worth a visit! It’s in the middle of the peaceful village of Epoisse, home of the famous cheese by the same name. If you want to taste it along with other delicious local food, I recommend a stop at the Auberge du Château.

You can visit the interior of the château only during summer season, but you can always tour the garden and maybe meet some of the sheep grazing in the moat.

Wine country

Bourgogne is well known for its wines, most of them being tied to their specific terroirs by appellation d’origine controlée which means that a specific wine can be produced only in a narrow designated location, often a village or group of villages. Depending on what part of Bourgogne you are visiting, you will discover many different types of wine. Most of them are made from Chardonnay grapes for white wines and Pinot Noir grapes for red wines, although there are a few other varieties used. 

In the northern part of Bourgogne, near Auxerre is the Chablis region where you will find delicious dry white wines (my personal favorites!). In the southeast you will find the Côte d’Or region, famous for its many grand crus and down south the Côte Chalonnaise and Maconnais for their good affordable wines. 

Whatever region you choose, I recommend touring a few vineyards. Many are small family businesses, and they will passionately tell you about their work, give you a tour of their winery and let you taste their wines.

I hope that you enjoyed this virtual tour! There are many more places to visit and things to see in Bourgogne, of course. If you know the region, I would love to know what your favorites are, so feel free to share them in the comments.

In the MDK Shop
Your guides to knitting that's fresh and engaging. At 20% savings when you bundle three or more! Thanks for your purchases. They keep everything on the move here at MDK.
By Kay Gardiner and Ann Shayne


Do you get Snippets, our Saturday morning roundup of posts? If not, sign up here

About The Author

Solène Le Roux is a knitwear designer who hosts knitting retreats in France. She grew up in Brittany, spent 10 years living in Paris and is now in the process of opening her own retreat center in southwest France.

Solène’s true passion is to help knitters pause, connect and grow within their craft and themselves. She loves gathering knitters from all over the world in beautiful European locations for peaceful, creative experiences, shared with small groups of passionate knitters. You can keep up with her at her website, Solène Knits.



  • Oh, this is wonderful. A travel article has been a long time coming. (Due to Covid, of course.). Thank you so much.

  • Omnia Gaulia est in tres partes divisa… Old memories…

    • Caesar’s Gallic Wars…….. I hesitate to say fond memories!

    • Nice article! Thank you!

  • Terrific! Escape to see another fiber happy space and place. Thank you!

  • Thank You! Long distance traveling is not possible for me any longer so this is a very welcome alternative.

  • Great reading and such wonderful places to knit, when we can travel again.

  • Beautiful country, beautiful pictures! Someday…

  • Many (and I do mean many) years ago I took a barge trip from Auxerre to Villiers. We did not se any yarn, but lots of beautiful churches and vineyards! Thank you for refreshing my memories.

  • Absolutely beautiful! My sister once brought me some gorgeous mohair yarn from that region – unfortunately she threw the balls in her luggage unprotected and by the time she got them to me they were so felted they couldn’t be used. So I have a promise of more next time she goes….
    And everything I know about the Gauls and Romans I learned from Asterix comics in my youth. If you’ve never seen them find some copies, even for adults they are very funny.

    • Asterix! Yes, I was thinking about those comics too. Someday I want to go to France. Lovely article.

  • After a bad day yesterday, and a sleepless night, this article was what I so needed this morning. Thank you!!

  • Thank you for this glimpse of a beautiful corner of the world. I’ve missed these articles from away – this was wonderful!

  • Well thank you for this lovely tour. I hope to someday visit this area of France!

  • Thank you for this lovely virtual visit. We visited the Beaune while on a river cruise. As enjoyable as river cruising can be, it has left me with a long list of places I want to return to and explore further, including Bourgogne. Hospices de Beaune had just held its annual wine charity auction when we were there, and looked like it had been quite an event, but we enjoyed touring the little town without all the commotion. Your tour shows me how much we missed in that region. One day…

  • Thank you for this lovely article. It gives me hope for a future when travel safely resumes and in the meantime gives me ideas. Merci.

  • What a feast for all your senses!

  • Any reference to Gauls automatically makes me think of the indomitable Asterix and friends. Such wonderful stories, humor and art by Goscinny and Uderzo, and wonderfully translated to English. The comics were wildly popular in India when I was a child, probably still are. On my bucket list is to acquire enough French to read the originals, here’s hoping.

    What a beautiful place. Merci d’avoir partagé, Solène.

  • Ah, this goes right to the top of my travel list. I’ve bookmarked this post and thank you for the virtual tour.

  • Thank you so Very much for this lovely piece about my favorite European country. I miss traveling there so much. I never get far enough into the countryside. I simply must make more effort!

  • Thanks for the virtual trip! It’s much-needed right now. I really appreciate your beautiful photography, too!

  • you’ve reactivated my very dormant interest in overseas travel!

  • Thank you! What a lovely trip!

  • I truly enjoy looking at on this website , it has got fantastic articles. “When a man’s willing and eager, the gods join in.” by Aeschylus.

  • You have remarked very interesting points! ps nice site.

My Cart0
There are no products in the cart!
Continue shopping