• France edition
 
My France - Burgundy
'Burgundy is about much more than just wine'
Tracey Thurling with an ouvrier (worker) from one of Burgundy's famous vineyard's on horseback behind her. Photo: Tracey Thurling

'Burgundy is about much more than just wine'

Published: 15 Feb 2013 15:11 GMT+01:00
Updated: 15 Feb 2013 15:11 GMT+01:00

How did you end up living in Burgundy?

I first worked in Burgundy back in 1991 on board a hotel barge. Since then I have worked all over France, including other parts of Burgundy but kept coming back here to work. When I met my husband we moved to Chamonix where the children were born but moved back here six years ago to raise our family.

What's so special about Burgundy that kept bringing you back?

I just really love the area and I would not be able to afford my wine habit back in the UK. I love the countryside. It really is super rural here. You can drive for miles without passing through a village and people live in the villages here. There's also the history of Burgundy and the fact there is so much to do here, all the old castles and the museums etc.

You live in the town of Beaune, where do you always take your visitors?

We would always go to the Hospices de Beaune, a 15th century charity hospital that was used as the town's main hospital until 1971.  It was built as a magnificent palace for the poor, supported by donations from the wealthy. These donations included vineyards and today Les Hospices is one of the major landowners of the region, owning 61 hectares of Burgundy’s finest vineyards. 

And what about the rest of the region?

If I were to choose from the whole of Burgundy and the Franche Comte it would be the Citadel of Besançon, fortified by Vauban in the 17th century.  A UNESCO World Heritage site, it not only has well-preserved fortifications but houses a museum to the French Resistance and Deportation, a local history museum, a natural history museum and a zoo. Another favourite family attraction is the medieval chateau of Guédelon they are building in the Yonne, using traditional methods and materials. It is great to visit as each year they have built a little more and added something different.

Which Burgundy wine do you always recommend to people?

It's impossible to choose a favourite. The wine of Burgundy is so varied and never constant, each tiny parcel of vines has a different taste to discover.  Because the parcels also have different owners, the way the winegrower makes the wine influences the taste. Then each vintage is different depending on the weather.  A typical aperitif of Burgundy is a ‘kir’ named after Canon Kir of Dijon, hero of the resistance and Mayor of Dijon for 23 years.  This is made of Aligote wine, (from the Aligote grape) and mixed with Crème de Cassis, a blackcurrant liqueur also made in the region.

What is your favourite restaurant in the region?

Clos de Napoleon in the town of Fixin serves traditional regional dishes, presented beautifully. I take many of my guests there and they always love it especially when I tell them it was featured in the recent BBC series 'Raymond Blanc – A Very Hungry Frenchman'.  The service is brilliant, not too fast, not too slow and the surroundings are brilliant, in front of the fire in an old vaulted cellar in winter, out on the terrace surrounded by vines in the summer. 

Also very popular in Burgundy now are tasting lunches. These take place at the winery, a simple meal accompanied by a selection of the winegrowers wines, with commentaries from the sommeliers on the different wines and how they are made. My favourites are La Table d’Olivier Leflaive in Puligny Montrachet and La Table de Conte Senard in Aloxe Corton.

Everyone has heard of Burgundy but are there any secrets left? 

That there is so much to see and do here besides the wine.  The area has such a rich heritage, so many UNESCO sites, medieval churches, beautiful villages – the film ‘Chocolat’ was filmed in Flavigny sur Ozerain - that there is always something new to discover. So many of my guests come for just one or two days and are so disappointed that they don’t have time to see much, even the guests that come for a week realize that they are barely scraping the surface.

What would you advise to someone thinking of moving to the region?

Understand why the houses are cheap. Outside the Côte d’Or there is very high unemployment and it is necessary not just to speak French but to have an excellent command of the language to find a job.

Has your French life turned out the way you imagined?

No!  I never imagined I would spend the rest of my life in France nor have two bilingual kids.

Tracey Thurlling runs the tour guide company Burgundy by Request which offers bespoke tours tailored to individual needs.

Ben McPartland (ben.mcpartland@thelocal.com)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
French unemployment hits new record high
Photo: AFP

French unemployment hits new record high

Unemployment in France hit a new record in September, with official statistics published Friday showing 3.43 million people claimed jobless benefits. READ  

French claim success in Isis air raids
Photo: AFP/ECPAD/EMA/ARMEE DE L'AIR

French claim success in Isis air raids

France's Chief of the Defense Staff Pierre de Villiers has claimed that air strikes on Thursday and Friday by French, US and allied aircraft "hurt" Islamic State forces. READ  

French website exposes EU budget letter
French President Francois Hollande. Photo: AFP

French website exposes EU budget letter

A confidential letter sent to France by the EU Commission demanding clarifications on its 2015 budget, which will break EU spending rules, was unveiled Friday by a French news website. READ  

Le Pen: France needs to take control of borders
Front National president Marine Le Pen speaks to the press during a visit in the city of Calais, northern France. Photo: Philippe Huguen/AFP

Le Pen: France needs to take control of borders

National Front leader Marine Le Pen visited the northern port city of Calais on Friday where tensions are high as authorities under increasing pressure to control the influx of illegal migrants trying to get to Britain. READ  

Burglar in the buff snared by French police
A burglar in the buff was snared red handed and bare-bottomed by French police this week. Photo: Shutterstock

Burglar in the buff snared by French police

French police were called out to a bizarre incident this week when they received calls from scared residents in villages in central France alerting them to the presence of a burglar who was targeting homes in the buff. READ  

France to bring in Ebola checks 'on all transport'
A passenger arriving at Charles de Gaulle airport is checked for Ebola. Photo: Kenzo Tribouillard/AFP

France to bring in Ebola checks 'on all transport'

French president François Hollande said on Friday that measures to counter the risk of Ebola reaching France will be increased with tests to be carried out on people arriving in France on “all forms of transport”, meaning boats as well as planes. READ  

French military chief: 'It's safe to say we hurt Isis'
France and its allies "hurt" Isis forces in Iraq, French military chief has said. Photo: AFP

French military chief: 'It's safe to say we hurt Isis'

The leader of France's armed forces said his country's military "hurt" Isis forces in a recent raid led by the international coalition battling the extremists in Iraq. READ  

What's on in France
What's on in France: 11 things to do in November
The annual cider festival in Le Sap Normandy, just one of the many things to do in France in November. Photo: JCMayzaud

What's on in France: 11 things to do in November

If you're short of ideas for what to do in France in November, we've gathered together a list of 11 events that are well worth checking out, especially if you're into art, wine, music or just can't wait to get in the Christmas spirit. READ  

Paris: Saudi robbed of €15k cash while dining
Relations between France and Saudi Arabia could soon be strained if Paris thieves are not stopped. Photo: Dominic Faget/AFP

Paris: Saudi robbed of €15k cash while dining

A man working for the Saudi Arabian embassy in Paris had a whopping €15,000 in cash stolen while dining out in the city on Tuesday afternoon. He’s just the latest Saudi national to be targeted by thieves in France. READ  

Budget row: EU asks France for more details
Hollande and his PM Manuel Valls will have to convince Brussels their 2015 budget is in order. Photo: AFP

Budget row: EU asks France for more details

French President Francois Hollande said his country had received an EU Commission letter asking for clarifications over its 2015 budget, which forecasts that France will miss the deficit targets laid by Brussels by a wide margin. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Gallery
IN PICTURES: Nowhere combines sex and art quite like France
National
Why you should never turn down an invitation to a French wedding
Sport
Discover the route of the 2015 Tour de France. There are a few surprises
Gallery
Ten changes that would make learning French so much easier
Culture
IN PICTURES: 'Glass ship' Vuitton ready to set sail in Paris
International
How a giant 'sex toy' earned an American artist a slap in Paris
National
'Unlike in the US the French don't put the blame on the poor'
Gallery
Cover up and don't be too Latin: French travel warnings for the US
Society
Macholand: The online uprising against sexism in France
Gallery
In pictures: The daily life of the 2,000 migrants in Calais
Culture
Erotic promo video earns the Musée d'Orsay our "Only in France" award
International
'I love the UK, but I could die getting there': Struggles of Calais migrants
National
Seven reasons why everyone should work in a bar in France
National
The cost of expat home comforts: How France compares to Europe
International
Why don't Calais migrants stay in France? The Local went to find out
National
What are the pros and cons of working as an au pair in France?
Society
Is France's generous welfare state about to get a little stingier?
Gallery
Extraordinary images of ordinary life in the poor Paris suburbs
Gallery
10 things expats love and loathe about life in France
National
So why don't many women in France breastfeed?
National
'Stop bashing La Belle France' - French PM tells UK press
International
UK warns Brits of 'high threat' from terrorism' in France
National
VIDEO: 'The Kama Sutra is not a dirty little text'
National
What Rome could teach Paris and vice versa
Gallery
What do foreign countries warn their citizens about when visiting France?
Gallery
IN IMAGES: Eiffel Tower opens new glass floor above Paris
Society
Is it really better to grow old in the UK and the US rather than France?
Gallery
It's that time if the year again: French sportsmen reveal (almost) all
Gallery
So what do the French find really weird about Anglos?
Travel
Paris museums to open seven days a week but unions are not happy
Culture
Caption contest: What happened when Jay Z met Sark O?
International
This explains why the French never seem to get a sense of déjà vu?
National
VIDEO: Here's a view from the Eiffel Tower you haven't seen before
Travel
Do Paris's iconic rooftops deserve Unesco World Heritage status?
Opinion
'France cannot reform, the pilots' strike showed us this'
National
'We just don’t work hard enough in France.' Is that true?
International
France has moved to beef up security in various public places
National
Hiking naked in France does not come risk-free
Culture
10 French customs that confuse Anglos
National
IN PICTURES: A look inside France's 'most notorious' prison
International
Isis urges killing of 'spiteful, dirty' French
National
Paris installs new device to stop 'love lock' craze
National
Paris cabby dies in vicious high-heel attack
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se