Known for its hearty red and dry white wines, the Burgundy region occupies a swath of territory southeast of Paris.

Dijon, a name synonymous worldwide with mustard, is the largest city in Burgundy and an easy 193-mi/311-km trip southeast of Paris. There is, of course, a mustard museum, and don't miss the Puits de Moise, an immense sculpture that dates from the 14th century. Climb the 15th-century Tower of Philippe le Bon for a great outlook over the city. Note the gold-patterned roofs, which you'll see only in Burgundy.

If you drive south about 25 mi/40 km, you'll reach the particularly charming town of Beaune. This is the heart of Burgundy's Cote d'Or wine-making region. Shop for wine in town or take an enjoyable ride through the region, visiting the wineries and sampling the wines along the way (arrange your visits in the morning or the day before).

In the northwest corner of Burgundy, Auxerre is about 94 mi/152 km from Dijon, a couple of hours' drive. This town, in the heart of Chablis country, has some interesting ancient architecture: the 13th-century Cathedral of St. Etienne; the Abbey of St. Germain (ninth-century frescoes—among the oldest in France); and a 13th-century clock tower. There is also a museum worth visiting: the Leblanc-Duvernoy, with its fine collection of porcelain, art and music.

Just outside of town is the tiny hilltop village of Vezelay. There you'll find the 13th-century basilica of Ste.-Madeleine (Mary Magdalene), which is an important site along the pilgrim road to Santiago de Compostela and was the launch site for two crusades.

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