I’m sure that we have all had that inner debate on what the actual color of that dark red shirt is. Could it be maroon? Or possibly burgundy? Though Crayola does not even make the crayon color of Burgundy, this name happens to be one of the most interesting regions of France. Found on the western half of France, Burgundy is full of rich culture and history which makes its dual role as a color and location all the more interesting for three reasons.
1. Burgundy is Wine Country
The region of Burgundy, France is world-famous for its vast amounts of fine wine. Only two types of grapes grow here: white Chardonnay and red Pinot Noir. If you’re a grape and you are neither of these two varieties, you will not be allowed to grow here and you will not be able to call yourself a Burgundy. So many regulations exist here on how to classify your wine; my favorite is that a Burgundy can only be enclosed in bottles with wide angled shoulders.
2. More Cheese Please!
Alongside the great vineyards of Burgundy are areas of soil that are unsuitable for grapes to grow, but that does not mean they go to waste! Cows, sheep, and goats call many of these pastures home as France also produces more than 300 unique cheeses every year. Pictured at the left is my favorite cheese to date: Bouton de Culotte. It can be described as a semi-soft goat cheese made exclusively here in Burgundy. According to French legislature, if this same cheese was made across the road from Burgundy, it would not be allowed to share the same name! Though this cheese may look small, it is full of flavor which is exemplified by its creaminess.
3. Home of Cluny, France
In the year 910 (yes 910, as in over 1,100 years ago) Duke William of Aquitaine decreed for the construction of a monastery in Cluny, France which was to follow strict Benedictine Rule. This monastery was run by an Abbot which classified Cluny as an Abbey. What separated this Burgundian Monastery from the thousands of other monasteries in Europe was that there was no overseeing lord or king of the monastery; instead, the Abbey of Cluny was ruled only by the Pope. Because the Abbey of Cluny was free to do as it pleased, monks from across Europe traveled, stayed, and worshiped in Cluny which lead to the construction of the largest church in all of Europe at the time (only now second to Saint Peter’s Basilica in Rome and only by one meter)! Unfortunately, during the French Revolution, 90% of the original church still stands. In the picture on the right, the silver tower is all that remains of the original church, the rest of it was destroyed.
I am humbled to be able to live in Burgundy for only a short span of time. Everything from the culture to the food has been exquisite. Check-in next time to hear about the day-to-day life here in Cluny!