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This page is about the region of France known as "Burgundy". For information on the wine, see the page on Burgundy wine.

Burgundy (French Bourgogne) is a historic region of France, inhabited in turn by Celts, Gauls, Romans and Gallo-Romans, and various Germanic peoples, most importantly the Burgundians and the Franks.

Burgundy was a province of France until 1790. It is now an administrative région of France.

Région Bourgogne

 - Total
 - Density

1 610 067 (1999)
51 /km²
Area31 582 km²
Communes2 045
President of the
regional council
François Patriat
Yonne (89)
Côte-d'Or (21)
Nièvre (58)
Saône-et-Loire (71)


Its modern existence is rooted in the division of the kingdom of Lotharingia upon the death of Lothar (855) into the smaller kingdoms of Burgundy, Lotharingia (Fr. Lorraine), and Italy. Further divisions over the years resulted in the Early Modern duchy of Burgundy, bounded by Franche-Comté to the east and Nevers to the west.

During the Middle Ages, Burgundy was the seat of some of the most important Western churches and monasteries, among them Cluny, Citeaux, and Vézelay.

During the Hundred Years' War, King Jean II of France gave the duchy to his younger son, rather than leaving it to his successor on the throne. The duchy soon became a major rival to the French throne, because the Dukes of Burgundy succeeded in assembling an empire stretching from Switzerland to the North Sea, mostly by marriage. The Burgundian Empire consisted of a number of fiefdoms on both sides of the (then largely symbolical) border between the French kingdom and the German Empire. Its economic heartland was in the Low Countries, particularly Flanders and Brabant. The court in Dijon outshone the French court by far both economically and culturally.

In the late 15th and early 16th centuries, Burgundy provided a power base for the rise of the Habsburgs, after Maximilian of Austria had married into the ducal family. In 1477 the last duke Charles the Bold was killed in battle and Burgundy itself taken back by France. His daughter Mary and her husband Maximillian moved the court to Brussels and ruled the remnants of the empire (the Low Countries and Franche-Comté, then still a German fief) from there.

See also: Duke of Burgundy


Burgundy produces famous winess of the same name. Administratively but not viticulturally part of Burgundy are Beaujolais, Chablis, and the Mâcon.


Highest point: Haut-Folin (901m) in the Morvan.

The Canal of Burgundy joins the Rivers Yonne and Saône, allowing barges to navigate from the north to south of France. Construction began in 1765 and was completed in 1832. At the summit there is a tunnel 3.333 kilometer long in a straight line. The canal is 242 kilomtres long, with a total 209 locks and crosses two counties of Burgundy, the Yonne and Cote d'Or. The canal is now mostly used for riverboat tourism; Dijon, the most important city along the canal, has a harbor for leisure boats.

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Regions of France
Alsace | Aquitaine | Auvergne | Lower Normandy | Burgundy | Brittany | Centre | Champagne-Ardenne | Corsica | Franche-Comté | Upper Normandy | Île-de-France | Languedoc-Roussillon | Limousin | Lorraine | Midi-Pyrénées | Nord-Pas-de-Calais | Loire Region | Picardy | Poitou-Charentes | Provence-Alpes-Côte-d'Azur | Rhône-Alpes
Overseas Departments
Guadeloupe | Martinique | French Guiana | Réunion