One of our favourite things to do in Burgundy is to have picnics. There are so many stunning spots around Beaune, Magny-les-Villers, and Villers-la-Faye and something about the fresh air and sunlight make the already delicious french food taste even better.
It is so incredibly easy in France to pick up the makings of a succulent feast at the Beaune market on Wednesdays and Saturdays, or the little food shops like the charcutier and fromager in the pedestrian centre of Beaune. Even the - pourquoi pas? - local grocery store is a source of incredible picnic-makings. Have you seen the cheese section in a french grocery store?
Next, pick up a few bottles of wine from your favourite local winemaker (there are a myriad to choose from). A picnic in Burgundy without wine is frankly viewed as a bit of a travesty.
Don't forget to take your french market basket to carry everything. We leave one or more of these for our guests at our four vacation rentals , but you can buy extras at any market in France.
Next step is to meet up with family or friends (or better yet, both) and enjoy the pastoral splendour of Burgundy while you sip wine, nibble at delicious cheeses, baguette, charcuterie, and fruit in the most decadent, languid manner possible. The whole point of a french picnic is to lose complete track of time.
Actually, there is another point to a french picnic - the indulgent post-picnic nap in the grass or against a tree trunk.
Here are some of our favourite picnic spots in our magical corner of Burgundy:
- On Les Chaumes just above La Maison des Chaumes. There are two picnic tables and tons of space on Villers-la-Faye's grassy hilltop. Views down to the vineyards and, on a clear day, as far as Mont Blanc in the Alps are superb.
- On the field behind the Virgin Mary statue above the nearby village of Pernand-Vergelesses. This is where these photos were taken. If you have read my books, especially My Grape Year , you will know this statue holds such special significance for our family. The view down the valley towards Beaune of some of Burgundy's most valuable vineyards is not to be missed.
- Along the burbling river near the playground in the village of Bouilland. One cannot find a more bucolic environment and on a hot day everyone loves wading in the river to cool down a bit. An alternative in Bouilland is to go up to the top of the cliffs that surround the village and enjoy the views from up there (although those who suffer from vertigo need not apply).
These three suggestions are just to get you started - explore and find your own favourite spots. Most of all, take the time to relax into the simple, unadulterated pleasure of the french picnic. That is, après tout, what Burgundy is all about.