We head to the east of France to weigh up these neighbouring départements in Burgundy…
Named for the two rivers which track through it, Saône-et-Loire in Bourgogne-Franche-Compté is characterised by vineyards and hilly terrain close to the Alps. Its capital, Mâcon, is particularly popular, with its flower-bedecked streets, colourful riverside homes, abundance of nature and, of course, its wine. Properties here range from stone houses and villas to winegrowers’ houses.
This département is well connected to the UK; By air, there are direct flights from several London airports to Lyon-Saint-Exupéry, which is less than an hour’s drive from Mâcon. Geneva Airport, meanwhile, is under two hours away by car. There are plenty of hight-speed rail links for those journeying domestically, with stations based in Mâcon, Autun and Chalon-sure-Saône.
With comfortable highs of around 22°C in summer and bitter lows of -2]C in winter, Saône-et-Loire experiences a rather mixed bag when it comes to climate – but it’s still slightly warmer on average than its northern counterpart Côte-d’Or. The sunniest months span June until mid-September, which is the prime time for tourists.
Prices in this département vary from the €100,000 mark to just under €1.5m. Popular areas of Saône-et-Loire include the towns of Mâcon and Autun, where you’ll find country houses with plenty of land and renovated town-houses, respectively. Pricing will typically be higher here, but it’s an excellent rental market. There are attractive houses to be found in the surrounding villages and lower pricing in the smaller villages along the Canal du Centre. If you’re looking for traditional farmhouses, head just best of Autun to the Morvan Regional Nature Park.
The Mâconnais area is famed for its white wines, and there are plenty of cellar tours and tasting available to become well-acquainted. This is also a département known for its natural beauty, so why not hop onto the GR13 hiking trail at Signal de Mont if you want to witness some of the best views?
The most popular département of Bourgogne-Franche-Compté, Côte-d’Or is renowned for its prestigious wines ( like Meursault and Gevrey Chambertin) and access to the Burgundy Canal, attracting holidaymakers worldwide. Its capital is the lively university town of Dijon, whilst, Beaune is another sought after city with elegant, town-houses and converted apartment buildings.
Côte-d’Or is further from local major airports than Saône-et-Loire, at about two and a half hours from Geneva Airport and two hours from Lyon-Saint-Exupéry. If you’re stopping over at Paris, you can get on a TGV to Dijon which takes an hour and a half. There are also daily TGV’s from Lyon and Lille.
Much like its peer above, Côte-d’Or enjoys influences from Mediterranean, continental and oceanic climates – which in this département, translates as 20]C summers and winters flirting with 0]C and just below freezing.
Demand from property buyers is high here and pricing is at a premium. Along the Côte de Beaune, in the south of the département, prices decrease as the distance from Beaune and the vineyards increases. If you aren’t specifically looking to be close to the wine area, then the Auxois is an ideal place in which to search, whilst still offering easy access to cities like Dijon. Prices have risen in recent years but it would make an ideal investment with the growth of Dijon and rental market for commuters, as well as growing interest from holidaymakers.
The Hospices de Beaune make a fun and educational day out. You’ll notice the jazzy polychrome roof tiles first, but its past is equally colourful, dating back to the 15th century when it was built to take in the sick and poor following the Hundred Years’ War. Further north in Dijon, the Musée des Beaux-Arts is another must-see, based in the Palace of the Dukes of Burgundy. Of course, this is also a city known for its crowning condiment: mustard. A new museum, the Cité Internationale de la Gastronomie et du Vin, is set to open in 2019 and will be something of a temple for foodies.
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