South of Dijon, the attractive countryside of the Côte d’Or is characterized by the steep scarp of the côte, wooded along the top and cut by sheer little valleys called combes, where local rock climbers hone their skills. Spring is a good time to visit this region; you can avoid the crowds and the landscape is a dramatic symphony of browns – trees, earth and vines – punctuated by millions of bone-coloured vine stakes, standing like crosses in a vast war cemetery. The main administrative and shopping centre is the beautiful city of Beaune, south of which the Great Wine Route checks off the big names in Burgundy winemaking.

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