||Vacations in Burgundy, Alsace and the Rhône-Alpes offer a
chance to explore some of France's most beautiful countryside, as
well as an opportunity to tour the some of the country's
internationally famous wine regions.
Alsace and the Rhône-Alpes are cultural mixing zones between
France and its neighbors to the east. Both areas are scenic and
overflow with key locations in the history of Europe. The influences
of German, Swiss and Italian cultures adds a unique flavor to the
Alsace and Rhône-Alpes regions. The food is heavenly, the
people are warm and friendly and visiting is a treat.
Burgundy, on the other hand, is quintessentially French, has always been
at the heart of France's history and there is an interesting tale to be told
in every village. And even if you can't find the "local story", you
will find the local wine and, chances are, it will be an excellent vintage.
You are currently reading our section on Burgundy, Alsace and the
Rhône-Alpes. We also provide two additional sections describing
more of our Best Places to Visit in France.
Paris, Ile de France and Normandy
The Loire Valley, Provence, Languedoc-Roussillon, the Pyrenees, and Côte d'Azur
Names in Teal are regions
of the country.
Beaune, a charming, modestly sized county town, is known for
its wineries and the Hotel-Dieu (France's opulent and fascinating
charity hospital that had its origins in the Middle Ages). The
hospital has been preserved in a museum-like setting and displays an
interesting collection of the barbaric instruments used for
surgery during Medieval times. In addition, the hospital's
kitchen and apothecary draw the attention of many visitors.
The multicolored, geometric patterned roof of the
Hotel-Dieu has become better known than its hospital function.
The impressive roof is only visible from the interior courtyard and
is a thing of beauty. Click the camera symbol above to see of
photograph of this interesting roof.
Finally, the Hotel-Dieu houses the polyptych (polyptychs are
hinged, paneled paintings that were used as altarpieces) of the Last
Judgment by Rogier van der Weyden. The Last Judgment,
regarded by many as one of the greatest of Gothic paintings,
is an enormous composition that includes multiple framed panels of
different sizes. The total image is beautiful and intriguing,
as each panel contains imagery of great interest.
More information on the Hotel-Dieu can be found
The website in is French, but Google translator can help.
- Dijon, a large city, is the historic capital of the Dukes of
Burgundy. The city is favored with interesting architecture
(historic townhouses and mansions) great food and fantastic wine.
- Focus your visit on the town's historic center. See the Place
des Ducs (Musee des Beaux Arts) the churches Eglise Notre Dame and
Eglise St. Michel. Notre Dame has a spectacular clock (the Jaquemart)
featuring a man, woman and 2 children who strike the bells with hammers
to ring the time.
The Musée des Beaux Arts is one of the oldest museums in France
and draws attention because of its fine collections and the fact the
building was the palace of the Dukes of Burgundy.
- Don't forget to buy some mustard for the folks at home (it can
be fairly spicy, so read the labels or ask).
More information about visiting Dijon can be found at its
Colmar is the capital of the Rhin-Haut province and an important hub
for the wine growing industry in Alsace. A delightful stop,
Colmar's scenic canal is draped with colorful houses that are
picture-postcard perfect. Good food and good times abound.
The city's old town (its historic center) is where you will find the
attractions that draw tourists to Colmar.
Colmar's center has several interesting churches (St. Martin's
(13th century) and the Dominican Church) and you can feel the
tentacles of the Middle Ages on this delightful city.
Visit the Unterlinden Museum, (1 rue d'Unterlindin) renowned for
the Isenheim Altarpiece by Matthis
Grunewald and other interesting art from the Middle Ages.
The city also houses the Bartholdi Museum (30 Rue des Marchands).
The creator of the Statue of Liberty and noted sculptor was born in
Colmar and his family donated most of his important works to this
Stop at a cafe along the canal for a drink or try the Choucroute
Garni (sauerkraut, sausage and pork) for a heart stopping regional
Take some time to stroll the city' streets to see the historic,
delightfully decorated, half-timbered buildings. Be sure to look at
the second-floor facades for some striking balconies and humorous
plaques/decorations that were added to the building exteriors
over the centuries.
Colmar's official tourist website can be found
The Wine Road - Kaysersberg and
Alsace's Wine Road, sometime called the Wine Route, stretches
between Mulhouse and Strasbourg, is approximately 100 miles in length
and connects numerous enchanting villages known for wine production and
sales. The countryside in this area is beautiful and the wine
towns add to the atmosphere. Visit this tourism website for
detailed information about potential towns to visit along the
Kaysersberg and Riquewihr are two touristy but scenic stops along
Alsace's famous Wine Road.
Stop in either village for great wine, good food and a festive
atmosphere. Each city has a beautiful setting (Kayserberg has the
edge here) and make nice lunch stops on the way to Strasbourg or Colmar.
Of course, the wine merchants will graciously ship your purchase back
home (for a modest fee).
Strasbourg offers a wealth of delights, but its Grand Isle (Grand Île) is
the major attraction for most tourists. The Grand Île,
surrounded by the River Ill, is the historic center of the city and Alsace.
The Grand Isle is home to the city's famous cathedral (Notre Dame de
Strasbourg), which has sections dating from the 12th century. The
cathedral was once the world's tallest building and is famous for its
height, Gothic design, stained glass windows and interesting
astronomical clock. See the Cathedral's official website for more
visiting. If you have time, ascend the tower for a great view of
A small section of the Grand Ile, known as Petite-France, offers canals,
historic half-timbered buildings and great shopping (at high prices).
It's a great place to wander, so plan to spend some time here.
For more information of the many delights of Strasbourg, visit its
Situated near the Alps and the oldest wine growing areas of France,
Lyon offers a unique culture and fine cuisine. Lyon's is a city
descended from a Roman settlement and the city bears the imprint of
several cultures. Lovers of silk will find a visit to Lyon very
rewarding and, perhaps, expensive.
Lyon has a long and interesting history that is still visible when
touring the city, As you explore, you will notice that
Lyon is filled with glorious mansions and fine architecture. Many
travelers consider it a suitable rival to Paris. You will find a tour
of the city's Old Town (a UNESCO World Heritage Site) to be well worth your
Be sure to see the Gallo Roman Museum of Lyon Fourviere that
contains unique displays from the city's Roman past.
The Fine Arts Museum contains numerous treasures by famous artists
and is not to be missed.
The Historical Museum of Textiles provides details of the silk
industry in Lyon, which dates from the Renaissance.
Lyon is, also, an antique center, so you might want to spend a little
extra time here to find that "just perfect" memento of your visit to
Finally, taking a river cruise is good way to see and appreciate the
beauty of Lyon's architecture and setting. See this
for details on a popular dinner and sightseeing cruise in Lyon.
Click here for Lyon's official
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France we cover.
If you need information about another travel destination, try our
Destination Guide Index
or Googling ThereArePlaces.