Abbey du Fontine

France is just ridiculously charming. The vine-covered houses, stone walls, chipping paint, corner bakeries, family chateaus, all of this unabashed cuteness can leave you in a blur–but with a good guide, all the delicious details start to come into focus.
Throughout the five-day William Ethan Experiential Art tour (Part I here), Ethan took us to his favorite little villages and vistas–the places that resonated the most for him over his three years living in Burgundy.

Here are a few spots that will be hard to forget.

France travel guide William Ethan Dupree

Outside the Abbaye du Fontaine (here and above), Ethan takes us to the beginnings of Burgundy wine making: a Cistercian abbey. This hardworking sect of monks tamed the fields around 1100 AD and the wine has been delicious ever since.

For an entirely different abbey experience we went to L’Abbaye de la Bussière, which has been converted to one of the amazing Relais & Châteaux hotels. This little sitting area was where we relaxed after a lunch of escargot and other French delicacies.


When it came to shopping, the small city of Beaune completely delighted me with its Saturday market. Snacking on pastries, we shopped for antiques and ingredients for that night’s meal.

travel to burgundy's chateau-commarin

Don’t let the foreboding gates fool you, anyone can walk around the grounds of the Commarin family’s chateau. Pay 2 euros at the self-serve turn style of this private/public property and you can peer into their moat and take pictures with their statues. What a clever way for owners of historic homes to pay the landscaping bills.

travel to a Burgundy chateau

To add to the magical nature of Château Commarin, there were these tight little mushroom colonies all over the yard. This is one photo of many in Mike’s fungi series.

Old-world charm is a severe understatement for the town of Flavigny–from the Les Anis de Flavigny candy shop which has been using the same recipe since 1591 to La Grange restaurant, a farmer collective that only serves food grown on their neighboring properties.

French antique door

Whether Flavigny or near any little town in Burgundy, the antique doors with original hardware had me swooning!

French stone homes covered in leaves

And wobbly-looking stone houses covered in fall foliage…need I say more?

Sitting along the town walls of Chateauneuf, I take in the view of wine country and ponder my return to Burgundy.

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  1. Burgundy has given its name to the region’s most spectacular product, the local wines. But it has much more to offer than fine vintages. At its heart is Dijon, the one-time capital of the mighty dukes of Bourgogne. Many sights are within an hour’s drive from here: fortified medieval villages, Renaissance castles, the ruins of Cluny Abbey and the tranquil Canal de Nivernais. There’s also the unspoiled Morvan National Park, great for hiking, cycling and boating.

    1. Thanks for the awesome comment Meshack. You are so right on Burgundy being a multi-faceted destination. I think most people come for the wine, then quickly realize how beautiful and history the region is, and they fall in love. That’s why so many people come back for a second trip!

  2. OMG this Burgundy looks really lovely! I love visiting places and learning more about their history by visiting old structures and all.

    I initially loved France because of the Eiffel Tower. But to see places like Burgundy is more than a bonus. Hoping to visit this place too someday. 🙂

    1. Burgundy is such a gorgeous region and to have local access with Ethan’s wine connections made it a dream!

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