The simple, forward-thinking idea of a wine trail was created in 1937 by the Conseil Départemental of Côte-d’Or at at the same time as paid holidays were introduced nationally. The Route des Grands Crus is the oldest wine trail in France and was the first to pave the way for tourists to discover vineyards. The Route invented wine tourism, a new way of travel which quickly acquired a reputation that soon went far beyond the borders of France thanks to increased car ownership and leisure outings.
The 60km long route, nicknamed the « Champs-Elysées de la Bourgogne », runs through 37 legendary villages and two towns, Dijon and Beaune, a region with an immensely rich heritage. Just saying the name of some of the stopovers on this mythical trail is enough to tickle the taste buds of fine wine connoisseurs :
Dijon, regional capital of the Dukes of Burgundy
Marsannay, a unique AOC (PDO) producing red, white and rosé.
Fixin, where the veteran soldier, Noisot, paid a stirring tribute to Napoleon
Gevrey-Chambertin, village with 9 ‘grands crus’ and 26 ‘premiers crus’
Le Clos Vougeot, a splendid château, seat of the ‘Confrérie des Tastevins’
Vosne-Romanée, the most-highly prized wine-growing plots in the world
Nuits Saint Georges
Aloxe-Corton and its legendary hillside
Beaune, capital of Burgundy wines and its Hospices
Pommard, favourite wine of Flaubert
Saint Romain and its cliffs overlooking Côtes de Beaune
Meursault and its Mairie (town hall), where the La Grande Vadrouille was filmed.
Chassagne and Puligny-Montrachet, partners and rivals for white wines of exceptional quality
Santenay and its spa centre, and Maranges south of Côtes de Beaune