Vézelay

Vézelay

Arriving at Vézelay, your first thought will invariably be that you will need to do some climbing! Then, taken in by the cobbled streets that have previously welcomed Bourvil and De Funès during their « Grande Vadrouille », you will finally arrive on foot at the basilica without even noticing. Once there…WOW! You could say that it is worth the effort! It is no surprise that this monument to Christianity is listed as World Heritage by UNESCO, not to mention the view across the Morvan that you are greeted with. Unforgettable!

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Vauban’s fortifications in Besançon

Let us travel back in time to the 17th Century, in search of Vauban, the illustrious military engineer and architect of the Sun King. Whilst across France his works include 160 fortified squares, it was in Besançon and its Citadel that he achieved one of his finest creations, nowadays renowned for its exceptional global significance. To enjoy a less stuffy and more vibrant version of this great builder’s life story, put away your history book and set out to storm the Citadel of Besançon, listed as World Heritage by UNESCO as part of Vauban’s fortifications (alongside 12 other sites spread right across France)! Stroll along the ramparts for breathtaking views, enjoy the immersive multi-media show and an interactive discovery of the site with a Smartphone in hand or even take a theatrical visit in the company of Mr. De Vauban himself!

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Citadelle de Besancon ©CRT Bourgogne Franche-Comte - Eric Chatelain

Fontenay Abbey

There are some sites that, without quite knowing why, exude a very particular feeling, such as a sense of solemnity or calm. Well, Fontenay Abbey is one of those places…In this case, however, we know exactly why! :o) Nearly 900 years of history have endowed it with true character. It has survived wars, crusades, revolutions…It has taken some blows and made its share of sacrifices (notably the destruction of the refectory by the monks, who were unable to maintain it), but it is still standing, waiting to welcome you, crowned with its UNESCO World heritage status! !

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Grande Saline salt works at Salins-les-Bains

Salins-les-Bains may be very far from the sea, but salt water still flows in its depths! This lies at the origins of an entire industry and a vast trade in White Gold that lasted for 1200 years. This industry left the town with a very well-seasoned heritage, which includes the Great Saltworks that was listed by UNESCO in 2009. Don’t forget to stroll through its immense underground gallery rounded off with a fascinating site that explains the techniques for capturing and producing salt. Most notably, watch out for the salt pan, which is the last one of its kind in France!

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Salins-les-Bains (Maxime COQUARD - Elisa DETREZ @Bestjobers CRT Bourgogne-Franche-Comté)
Saline-Royale d'Arc et Senans - UNESCO - ©Saline Royale-

The Royal Saltworks of Arc-et-Senans

Powerful and troubling, the atmosphere of the Royal Saltworks of Arc-et-Senans, built between 1775 and 1779, is unquestionably unique and makes a great impression on anyone who enters its walls for the very first time. Perhaps it is the arrangement of the 11 buildings in a semi-circle, their perfect symmetry or the light that brings to life the impressive reliefs sculpted onto the façades. It is surely a combination of all these factors. Here, the aim of Ledoux has been perfectly fulfilled: « design architecture capable of moving and speaking to the senses ». This exceptional architecture, listed as World Heritage since 1982, is nevertheless a factory that was employed in the production of salt. It is a temple of industry that supported the ultimate dream of Ledoux to create an ideal town. The museums, exhibitions and seasonal garden festival make it an essential visit.

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The priory church of La Charité sur Loire

If we can still enjoy this today, it is only because one man went against the plans of the King of France: Prosper Mérimée. In fact, the site was destined to be demolished because it lay directly on the path of a planned Royal road that stretched from Paris to Nevers! But that didn’t deter this famous and pugnacious writer. He fought so fiercely and so skilfully that the project was finally abandoned. Today, the church is listed as World Heritage by UNESCO as part of the Ways of St James. As for the priory that was recently restored, it houses the Cité du Mot where a desire to showcase heritage combines with culture, education, social aspects and tourism under the motto: « the word in all its forms »!

 

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The Climats of Burgundy

Bernard Pivot found the correct phrase to describe the climats of Burgundy: “In Burgundy, when you speak about the climats, you don’t raise your eyes to the heavens; you lower them to the earth”. But what exactly is the famous Burgundy “climat”? Well, it is not, as you may have imagined, something to do with the weather! The Climats of Burgundy are an ensemble of features like the wine-producing terroir, the plots, the grape varieties and even the savoir-that, when combined, create a “whole” that is unique in the world and is now recognised as World Heritage by UNESCO!

 

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The prehistoric pile dwelling site of Chalain and Clairvaux

A lake with waters teeming with fish, vast forests rich with game and wood for construction, a climate favourable to agriculture. The lakes of Chalain and Clairvaux undoubtedly brought together all the conditions required for our ancestors to have settled here. They used these resources to create villages on piles along the banks of these two bodies of water. What remains of this settlement that dates back to 5000 to 500 B.C? The vast majority of these materials (objects, textiles, posts, canoes and even the remains of grains and fruit!) ought to have naturally disappeared. But at Chalain and Clairvaux, and at 11 Palafittic sites (a clumsy word that means a prehistoric site built on piles) scattered right around the Alps, water has remarkably preserved this variety of archaeological remains. It is a (flooded) gold mine for archaeologists who can take advantage of rare evidence of life in the villages of the very first fishing and agricultural communities. That is what has earned these sites their richly deserved place on the World Heritage list.

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Le Corbusier: the chapel of Notre-Dame-Du-Haut

An immense vessel sitting on a hilltop surrounded by forest…That is the first impression you get when discovering the chapel of Notre-Dame-du-Haut. Taking more time to stroll around the site you explore all the features that make this edifice so original: the omnipresence of concrete, generous white contours, this religious building quite clearly does not resemble any other of its kind and astonishes its visitors. This revolutionary religious architecture was listed as World Heritage (alongside 16 other sites) in the context of the architectural oeuvre of Le Corbusier and his « exceptional contribution to the Modernist Movement »

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