Chablis, Dijon, & Vezelay, France

Basilique Ste-Madeleine Vezelay France
Basilique Ste-Madeleine
- Vezelay, France
Palais des Ducset des Etats de Bourgogne Dijon France
Palais des Ducset des Etats de Bourgogne
- Dijon, France

Street Chablis Burgundy France
Street in Chablis - Burgundy, France
French Cheese Vendor Sunday Open Market Chablis France
French Cheese Vendor
at the Sunday Open Market - Chablis, France
Burgandy Wine Village Vezelay France
Burgandy Wine Village 
from Hilltop Vezelay, France
Place Francois Rude Dijon France
Place Francois Rude - Dijon, France
Chablis, Dijon, & Vezelay - Burgundy, France (6/15-19/2011)

We had a great time getting an introduction to the Chablis wine growing area in no other place than the town of Chablis. Also, visiting Dijon and Vezelay was a treat.

Chablis wine is made of Chardonnay grapes. It is made with great destination and the Chablis wines are wonderful! We came to Chablis during their Sunday market and put together a picnic of cheese, roosted chicken, bread, and wine. Having just too much fun, we had a picnic in the beautiful wine fields of Chablis. 

We started our visit to Burgundy in the large city of Dijon and ended in the small hilltop town of Vezelay with a visit to Chablis.

Dijon is known overseas for its mustard (named after the town). Dijon is also the capital of the eastern French region of Burgundy (Bourgogne). Having avoided being devastated by bombing in WWII, Dijon is one of France’s beautiful cities (see photos). 

Dijon was going through some upgrading at the time we visited (so much street construction is going on you couldn't drive through town), Dijon is a showcase of past greatness when for some time it was the capital of the Dukes of Burgundy from the 11th to 15th centuries. 

Burgundy rivaled France itself during the 14th and 15th centuries, when the dukes, who wielded more power than kings, controlled a large part of what is now northeastern France, western Germany, Belgium, and the Netherlands. The dukes were great patrons of the arts leaving a lasting mark on Dijon with sculptures and architecture. 

The owl (la chouette) is the icon of Dijon and we followed the trail of owls on the street on a historical walking tour and had lunch at Place Francois Rude, the center focus of Dijon's old town. We also had fun visiting Moutarde Maille, the makers of Grey Poupon, tasting mustards on tap and the Palais des Ducs et des Etats de Bourgogne (say that fast), where the Dukes ruled.  

Vezelay France
Vezelay, France
Vezelay, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a small pretty medieval village on top of a high hill. It makes for a nice visit. Vezelay's main claim to fame is the spectacular 11th-century Gothic basilica (Basilique Stainte Marie Madeleine - see photo), a masterpiece of light and space which is widely considered one of the greatest in Burgundy. 

We had a chance to listen to the monks singing prayers. Vezelay's Basilique Stainte Marie Madeleine was commonly believed to house bone fragments of Mary Magdalene and was a secred destination for religious travelers. Vezelay was the meet up place in 1190 for the Third Crusade.

Vezelay Main Street France
Vezelay's Main Street
Vezelay's main street leading up to the basilica is wonderful to wander with its beautifully restored, mossy-roofed stone houses, boutiques, art galleries, and restaurants. There is a large grassy area with trees behind the basilica where you can have a picnic. Be sure to check out the view from here of the gently sloping hills and valleys of Burgundy (see photo).

Please see our other 10 travel posts on beautiful France:

Paris, France 

Loire Valley, France

Mont Saint Michel & Saint Malo, France

Strasbourg - Alsace, France 

Alsace Wine Villages, France

Bordeaux, France

Bordeaux Wine Country, Saint Emilion, Paulliac, & Cognac, France 

Burgundy & Cote d'Or Wine Country, France

Champagne Route, France

Reims (Champagne Capital), France

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