With family visiting from the States, it was the perfect opportunity to travel the French Wine Route in one of the best wine regions in the world : Burgundy or Bourgogne! As mentioned in my July Favorites, this road trip was the highlight of the month!
This was a two day road trip, and I’ll be focusing on Day 1 and my the review of our luxury chateau hotel & resort : Chateau Sainte Sabine in this first post.
We started off in Paris and enjoyed the scenic road trip down to the south and Burgundy region. It’s a little over a 2 hours and half drive. 3 hours if you’re into sight seeing and not in a hurry. The French country side is really gorgeous. But you may ask what is the Burgundy wine route?
What is the Wine Route ?
It’s a narrow strip that stretches out on a north-south axis, whose width does not exceed 2 km. The route is marked with brown-background signs showing a white grape cluster, from Dijon to Santenay via Nuits-Saint-Georges and Beaune.
“Doing” the Route des Grands Crus also means visiting prestigious and more humble sites, well known or off the beaten track. That’s the fun of it, you can pick and choose according to your tastes and budget!
The Dukes of Burgundy from the 14th century claimed that their wine presses were the best wines of Christendom. There are so many vineyards to visit and we had limited time, so we decided to focus on the Côte de Beaune. This road trip will have you drive by a few towers and châteaux with their glazed tile roofs are a foretaste of the splendour of the roofs of the Hospices of Beaune. Walking through the Côte de Beaune, the châteaux of Corton André, Pommard, Meursault and Chassagne Montrachet perfectly illustrate the concept of “Clos” (enclosed vineyards).
Burgundy Route des Grands Crus.
Côte de Beaune: between Corgoloin and Beaune on to Santenay
The Route des Grands Crus (Wine Route) passes through the most prestigious part of Burgundy’s vineyards, between Dijon and Beaune then on to Santenay. You can discover up to 38 picturesque wine villages of the Côte de Nuits and Côte de Beaune, wineries, and beautiful countryside over a length of 60 km.
After Corgoloin, it’s the Côte de Beaune region as far as the slopes of Maranges. The blessed land of Chardonnay producing the greatest dry white wines in the world, with Corton Charlemagne, the wines of Meursault, Montrachet…
With that cleared up, let’s get back to my road trip.
Chateau Sainte Sabine
Chateau Sainte Sabine is located in the village by the same name in the heart of Burgundy. This village is a typical French village with quaint little houses all sporting red brick roof tops clustered around the village Church. As soon as I spotted the church steeple from the car, I knew I just had to go and visit it.
We had booked our hotel through the Booking.com app (I am an unrepenting geek after all). This way you can enjoy great rates and get cash back on it (check out my Ebates/iGraal post on how you can make money back with any purchase). It has a grade of 9.3 out of 10, and I totally agree with the rating.
Set on an 8-hectare park, this hotel is a 17th century castle built in an old monastery. When we got to the entrance gates to the park, we were so happy to finally reach our destination and get a chance to relax and enjoy the castle life!
We parked our car in the parking lot to the side of castle in the park grounds. Then we headed for the inner court yard.
Just walking through the huge inner courtyard door brought me back in time. I felt like I was stepping over an invisible barrier and brought back a few centuries. The door itself is piece of art work. Don’t you think so?
We discovered a nice stately fountain and lovely seating area on the side of the Chateau.
We were ready to explore the park, but mostly after a long hot drive, I was dying to take a refreshing dip in the outdoor swimming pool !
How ever, checking in came first of course. We walked up the couple or steps into the reception area. The staff were very professional and kind. They gave us extra towels for the pool along with our room keys. We were each escorted into our respective rooms. The rooms opened the old-fashioned way with a real key and lock.
Located in the main building or in the tower next to the castle, the spacious rooms at Château Sainte-Sabine feature carpeted floors, a TV and air conditioning (which is a must for me in summer! but that you won’t necessarily find everywhere in France). They also include a private bathroom with a bath or shower.
Most rooms enjoy a garden view, here is mine :
My room was located on the second floor, so here are pictures of the cute staircase, the hall ways and the view from the hall way windows.
Very important for all the geeks out there the Chateau has free Wi-Fi access in public areas.
We changed into our swimsuits, donned our cover ups, grabbed our Pool bags and made a bee line for the pool ! If you wonder what to bring don’t forget to check out my What’s in my pool bag post.
The water temp was just perfect, and there was a row of cypress trees to shield the pool from the wind. I loved how the pool was slightly elevated so that you could enjoy views of the lovely gardens.
After a few laps we felt revitalized and wandered around the Chateau park. A nice pond with a few ducks could be found in the park. Then we just laid on the grass to enjoy the peace and quiet.
We just felt suspended in time, no worries, no rush…
It was high time for a drink, we had come to the wine route after all ! So we all went to our rooms changed for the evening and met back at the Chateau terrace. The Chateau bar next to the terrace, has a nice cosy fire place, to relax in front of during the colder months, but we of course preferred to be outside.
We ordered the Sainte Sabine cocktail made from a local crément wine. Delicous ! We had a few apéritifs to nibble on as well.
The terrace provides a wonderful panoramic view of the medieval village of Châteauneuf en Auxois and the valley.
With a little alcohol it wasn’t too hard to imagine a love story between the princess of Chateau Sainte Sabine and her star crossed lover the prince of Chateau neuf en Auxois. The marriage was not to be because the princess wasn’t as high born as the prince…
Sadly the sun was setting, and it was time to leave the terrace and our fanciful romantic daydreams and go to the Chateau’s restaurant and Chef Sebastien Henry’s authentic burgundy cuisine.
The restaurant was downstairs on the ground level, and gave onto a patio looking into the gardens.
Our table was nicely made and candle lit. The food was delicious made with local produce.
Before the food was served, we tried out the amuse-bouche which literately means to amuse your mouth in French. It’s supposed to open up your appetite and boy were we going to need a big one!
We chose the following menu :
Menu Gourmand 59 €
Pressé of goose foie gras, raspberry and rhubarb cooked in wine chutney, toasted black bread
Or Gaec du Pontot egg cooked at 63°, Brittany in a fine marinière jelly
Butter- roasted blue lobster, beefsteak tomato roasted in tandoori spices and cilantro-flavoured broth
Or Mackerel fillet candied in olive oil, southern vegetables brunoise and poivrade artichokes, basquaise juice
Auxois beef fillet in marrow crust, large fresh fries, spinach shoots Chanterelle and pearl onions pinot noir juice
Or Roasted milk lamb from the Ferme Lemoine, summer vegetable tatin, Fresh cheese and thyme juice
Selection of fresh and ripe cheeses
We naturally had a fine bottle of Burgundy wine premier cru : Pernaud Ile des Vergelesse, and enjoyed some of the best Burgundy cheese. Sorry if it’s not your cup of tea, but smelly cheese is the best!
We were stuffed full by the end of the meal. But I find that with good cuisine you’re less likely to actually fall into a food coma or have a hard time going to sleep. We thought it was over but it wasn’t, with coffee came these little miniardises :
Unfortunately I really didn’t have any place left to properly enjoy them! Our evening filled with laughter, good wine and fine food, was the best way to end the day. We all headed to our rooms for a goods night sleep. We had so much to do the next day!
We woke up well rested and went to the restaurant’s patio to enjoy the buffet breakfast. I wanted to sit there with my coffee and the view and laze away but so many more experiences were waiting for us on the wine route.
With such gorgeous weather, we didn’t really take advantage of the rooms in the Chateau, even though they were quite nice and even had a pool table.
The location of this chateau Sainte Sabine is ideal as nearby there is the Burgundy Canal, Fontenay Abbey and Alesia Park Museum. I definitely recommend this hotel if you are stopping in Burgundy and want an elegant but laid back hotel.
We decided to visit the Church of the village that we had spotted the day before upon arrival.
Unfortunately maybe because of the recent attack on a French Catholic priest, it was closed.
Then we were off on the wine route towards Beaune. Watch out for the next post to come for the rest of my adventures!
I have to add on more thing about this hotel. I managed to forget my Victoria’s Secret Cover up in my room. By the time I noticed I was already far away. I called the hotel up and they very graciously sent it back to me in Paris free of charge. Now that is some outstanding service!
Have you ever been to Burgundy? If so where did you stay and what did you see? I’d love to hear your experience.
I’d love to chat with you on :