The Route des Grands Crus (Wine Route) passes through the most prestigious part of Burgundy's vineyards, between Dijon and Beaune then on to Santenay. Discover 38 picturesque wine villages of the Côte de Nuits and Côte de Beaune, wineries, and beautiful countryside over a length of 60 km.
It’s a narrow strip that stretches out on a north-south axis, whose width does not exceed 2 km and altitude, 300 to 400 metres. The route is marked with brown-background signs showing a white grape cluster, from Dijon to Santenay via Nuits-Saint-Georges and Beaune.
The first part of the route follows an axis parallel to the former N74 road, newly renamed the D974. This prestigious Côte de Nuits contains a string of the greatest red wines in the world, including 24 of Burgundy’s 33 grands crus (Romanée-Conti, Clos de Vougeot, Chambertin...).
After Corgoloin, it’s the Côte de Beaune region as far as the slopes of Maranges. The blessed land of Chardonnay producing the greatest dry white wines in the world, with Corton Charlemagne, the wines of Meursault, Montrachet...
Throughout these gentle hills, the vineyards run in tight rows between each town, just a few miles from each other.
From Gevrey-Chambertin to Nuits Saint Georges or Aloxe-Corton to Santenay, they display a typical vineyard architecture of beautiful limestone houses with tiled roofs. Often organised between courtyards and gardens, these winegrowers’ houses almost all have old cellars, the centrepiece of the house that the owner will allow wine lovers to discover.
Traditional villages, often opulent with occasional wine merchants’ houses built in the 18th or 19th century. Gathered around their Gothic church, sometimes Romanesque, with their fountains and wash houses, these villages are places emblematic of life in the Burgundy vineyards.
Each village has its own vineyard and appellations, red (pinot noir) and/or white (Chardonnay), and along the route, a landscape that’s harmonious and full of charm. Gentle curves, vineyards organised into parcels, some of them surrounded by dry stone walls, a river or hedge. These are the "Clos" (enclosed plots), whose entrance is sometimes adorned with impressive gates or porches bearing the owner's name. Some plots have also retained their small limestone structures, called "Cabotes", which used to serve as tool stores, somewhere the winemaker could rest and stop for a bite to eat.
Don’t forget that Burgundy’s winegrowers have a great sense of fun and hospitality. Following the rhythm of the four seasons of vine and wine, they pay tribute to Bacchus (the god of wine) and St Vincent (patron saint of winemakers) and invite their friends and customers along to these authentic and friendly celebrations ... along with all wine lovers.
“Doing” the Route des Grands Crus also means visiting prestigious and more humble sites, well known or off the beaten track. At Chenôve, the wine presses of the Dukes of Burgundy (14th century) remind us that the Valois Dukes were the "Lords of the best wines in Christendom". In Vougeot, the Château is the eternal witness to the painstaking work of the Cistercian monks whose abbey is on the plain nearby. On the way, a few towers and châteaux with their glazed tile roofs are a foretaste of the splendour of the roofs of the Hôtel Dieu. Walking through the Côte de Beaune, the châteaux of Corton André, Pommard, Meursault and Chassagne Montrachet perfectly illustrate the concept of "Clos" (enclosed vineyards).
To explore the Côte de Beaune or Côte de Nuits vineyard on a day or half-day Wine Tour, we have selected a few vetted partners. Get a taste of Burgundy and visit wineries with a local English-speaking guide & driver. Availabilities, prices, and online booking is possible directly from our website:
Wind your way across the vineyards, lovely villages and sample Burgundy’s grands crus along the way. All you need is a bike !
You want to discover Burgundy by bike, have an afternoon’s ride, or several days of touring? Here are some tips and useful addresses, to explore the vineyards accompanied by a guide on a half-day or one day tour, find turnkey bike holidays or on your own (bike rentals in the Beaune region, maps...)