Burgundy is synonymous with its wines but there’s far more to the region than the famous grapes of places such as Chablis and Nuits-St-Georges. Burgundy has history at every turn, with Renaissance chateaux, medieval abbeys and even Romanesque structures dotting the landscape. At the heart of the region lies the Morvan National Park – 1000 square miles of unspoilt wilderness, complete with lakes and picturesque villages and perfect for a visit on the family camping trip.
Burgundy is also a foodie’s heaven, with scores of regional specialities and wonderful restaurants. The signature dish is boeuf bourguignon but for the more adventurous do make sure to check out the celebrated cheese, Epoisses. Be warned – it can be quite smelly!
Make sure you take some time to visit some of the magnificent castles found in Burgundy, such as Chateau d’Ancy le Franc (styled on the Italian Renaissance) and Chateau de Cormatin (a survivor from the days before the revolution). The abbey of Cluny and the abandoned Fontenay Abbey are also well worth a visit. The capital of Burgundy, Dijon, is also one of the region’s greatest draws.
Families will adore spending time in the Morvan National Park, with its lakes and peaks. In summer, these hillsides are also covered in a thick carpet of wild blueberries. For a more active experience travel to Givry and visit L’Aventure en Forêt. The park is home to a total of 24 tree-based obstacle courses, including 20 zip wires and, with a variety of difficulties, it’s suitable for those of age 3 up.
Animal loving youngsters will adore Touroparc, a small zoo covering only 10 acres but home to more than 700 animals. You’ll also find a water slide park; a fairground and sky train ride on site, making it a great family day out. Beaune Côté Plage in Montagny-Lès-Beaune is perfect for water babies, with four chemical free swimming pools, water slides, swings, climbing walls and 14,000 square metres of grassy beaches.
For something completely different, why not charter a penuche (a cross between a narrow boat and a Thames barge!) for a day trip? The trip begins in Auxerre and travels along the river Yonne and Canal de Nivernais, stopping at the beautiful riverside village of Vaux for lunch.
London to Paris on the Eurostar takes 2hr 15mins, with a further 2hr train journey to Northern Burgundy from Gare de Lyon and Gare de Bercy in Paris. You can fly to Dole-Jura airport (50km south-east of Dijon), although flights to Paris, Lyon or Geneva (followed by a train or hire car journey) may prove cheaper. Ryanair, Easyjet, Flybe and Air France all provide a variety of options.
Family friendly campsites
Saone-et-Loire, Gigny-sur-Saône, Château de l’Epervière
Chateau de l'Epervière is situated in mature woodlands in the grounds of a stunning 16th century chateau. A quiet haven, with emplacements set amongst ancient oaks, the site also has a beautiful lake that is home to many ducks. A short stroll away is the river, which is ideal for a spot of fishing. Kids will love the two swimming pools, one of which is covered and heated. There's a lovely restaurant in the chateau and the cosy bar hosts regular wine tasting sessions.