Travel Guides Crafted by Experienced Archaeologists & Historians

Art, History & Archaeology Sites & Museums

As one of France’s world-famous wine producing regions, the Burgundy region is internationally renowned for both its gastronomic traditions and its extensive historical heritage. During the Medieval period the city of Dijon was a European centre of arts and science, and still today has numerous museums. The departments in Burgundy are: Côte-d’Or, Nièvre, Saône-et-Loire, Yonne.

Archaeology & History Sites in Burgundy

Alesia Archaeological Site

Alesia is a significant historical site in France, for it was here that Vercingetorix took his last stand against Julius Caesar in 52 BC. On top of Mont Auxois was a Celtic oppidum, that following Caesar’s defeat of the Gauls became a Gallo-Roman town. There is very little evidence of this town today, but remains of the Roman town are visible, including the theatre and basilica. Nearby is the Vercingetorix Monument erected by Napoleon III.


There are two decorated caves at Ary-sur-Cure, but only one – la Grande Grotte – is open to the public. This is a large cave that has been visited for many centuries and is particularly well known for the geological limestone features. The prehistoric paintings were found in 1990 during the cleaning of the walls. Most of the paintings are depictions of mammoths. The other cave has engraved images, but these are considered too difficult for visitors to get to without potential damage. These cave paintings are amongst the oldest painted images in Europe.

Cluny Abbey

Cluny Abbey is a former Benedictine monastery, that at its height of power and influence is said to have controlled some 1,500 monasteries around Europe. Founded in 910 by Duke William I of Aquitaine, it was built in the Romanesque style, with three churches built in succession from the 4th to the 12th centuries. Much of the monastery was destroyed during the French Revolution, and only the bell tower of the church and a few other buildings remain intact. A fascinating tour through the various buildings that have survived, making use of different media and display techniques, is available and a must see for anyone with an interest in the history of France and religion in Europe.

Fontenay Abbey

Founded in 1118 by Saint Bernard, Fontenay Abbey is one of the oldest Cistercian monasteries in Europe; and is now a listed UNESCO World Heritage Site. The abbey has retained its Romanesque style, with the exception of the refectory which was destroyed in 1745. An optional guided tour or enables you to see the very well preserved church, dormitory, cloister, council room, heating room, abbot’s lodgings, and the forge.

Guédelon Castle

Neither a replica of a historic castle in Europe, nor a reconstruction of one. Guédelon Castle is a project that brings together a wide range of expertise to build a castle using medieval methods and techniques. In 1998 construction of this castle started in a disused quarry in rural France. Thousands of people come each year to watch the progress. Not only the building of the castle itself, but also the other related crafts. Such as baskets for carrying ceramic tiles, the firing of those tiles. A must for castle lovers.

Vézelay Abbey - Basilica of Vézelay

Constructed between 1120 and 1150 the Basilica of Sainte-Marie-Madeleine is one of the finest examples of Romanesque architectures in Burgundy. A Benedictine monastery was founded in the 9th century on the hill top of what is today the town of Vézelay. Soon after the monks acquired the relics of Mary of Magdalene, making this an important pilgrimage site, still today. The relics are on secure display in a crypt chapel. The church is well-known for its unique tympanum – thought to depict a spiritual defence of the Crusades. Today only the abbey church remains of the monastic buildings. The monastery was first attacked by the Huguenots and then again during the French Revolution.

Museums & Art Galleries in Burgundy

Alésia MuséoParc

Not far from Mont Auxois, the location of the Celtic oppidum of Alesia, is the Alésia MuséoParc. With a variety of display techniques and multimedia a circular exhibition space, designed by Bernard Tschumi, tells the Battle of Alesia in September 52 BC in extraordinary detail. Outside is a reconstruction of the system of fortifications built by Caesar to surround and lay siege to the Celtic settlement.