France’s Vallée de la Gastronomie is without a doubt one of the most relaxing and charming areas of the country that food-lovers will relish. Next time you’re in the region, consider taking a trip to places like Dijon and the countryside separating Lyon and Marseille for a truly unforgettable experience. Of all the France tours possible, a self-paced road trip through this mecca for connoisseurs will likely expand your mind... and waistline!
Here are just a few of the most renowned and impressive places you can visit.
1. Valrhona: The City of Chocolate
If you’re a fan of chocolate (who isn’t?), there’s literally no better reason to visit La Vallée de la Gastronomie than Valrhona. Offering chocolate tasting workshops as well as various tours and workshops that focus on wine as well as chocolate, this is a place worth exploring just for the sheer thrill of it. Whether you’re just passing through, or you’re actually a gourmet chef on a mission to find inspiration for pastries and chocolate products, Valrhona is definitely the right place to visit.
2. The Côte-d'Or Hotel and Restaurant
While visiting the Vallée de la Gastronomie, you simply cannot pass up the chance to stop by the Côte-d'Or hotel and restaurant. Here you can enjoy some of the most tranquil and refined rooms and decorations in the region, and the welcoming garden and spa will make you want to stay there forever. This timeless Burgundian residence even has a breakfast room listed as a genuine historical monument. The distinguished combination of traditional and new flavors combined with the relaxing and refined atmosphere of the restaurant have earned the Côte-d'Or hotel and restaurant a place in the closed circle of the Living Heritage Companies.
3. Mulot & Petitjean – A Historical Gingerbread Factory
Dijon is considered the French capital of gingerbread, and nowhere is this fact better represented than at Mulot & Petitjean, the historical gingerbread factory of Dijon that has been around since 1796. Remarkably faithful to tradition, the factory remains family-owned to this day and features an impressive museum space housed by a very large and very old building. The site itself is intimidating to behold, especially once you enter. Maison Mulot & Petitjean was awarded the label of “Entreprise du Patrimoine Vivant” in 2012 due to its ability to hold true to the historic heritage of Dijon and its rich history of gingerbread production.
4. The Cassissium
Since we’re in Dijon, we also can’t pass up the opportunity to get to the Cassissium, a distillery that has been producing high-quality, highly refined liquor since the early 1920s. With outlets in Dijon, Nuits-Saint-Georges and Beaune, this is a destination that will keep you interested throughout your trip spanning different locations in La Vallée de la Gastronomie, especially if you’re interested in rare French liquor, eaux-de-vie, as well as fruit juice and syrups.
5. Domaine de Montine – A Renowned Winery
Domaine de Montine is basically the essence of what France is all about. Featuring a quaint, traditional-looking cottage as its main location, being run by the same family for more than 4 generations and offering up some of the most unique French wine brands for tasting, this winery is worth visiting just for the sheer experience of it, even if you’re not a big fan of wine tasting. Aside from wine tasting, you’ll also be able to enjoy activities such as e-bike tours of the surrounding region, biathlon and of course, cheese and cold meat tasting.