Just about 30 minutes from Dijon, Châteauneuf-en- Auxois sits high upon a hill looking over the green countryside of the Valley of the Burgundy Canal. Built in 1132 by Jean de Chaudenay, the castle has lived through the Hundred Years’ War-when strong fortifications were added, the end of the Chaudenay line-seeing Catherine of Châteauneuf burned alive for poisoning her husband, the reign of the Dukes of Burgundy- when the striking tomb of Phillipe Pot, advisor to the Duke Phillipe le Bon, was built, and the French Revolution- when it was passed from one owner to another finally being donated to the state and declared a protected historical monument.
Once a thriving village, today the village of Châteauneuf seems to have more visitors than inhabitants. The tiny streets are lined with gorgeous old stone houses with details of old coats of arms and turrets and in the summer flowers overflow from window boxes and the gardens.
We stopped by for a quick visit, taking the scenic route from Beaune past the endless Cote d’Or vineyards and through the village of Vandenesse, where you’ll want to have your camera ready to get a shot of the castle on the hill. A few hours are enough to take a tour of the castle and get lost in the village. Stop at one of the tiny terraces tucked between the stone houses for a coffee and crepe, check out the antique silverware, linens and ceramics in a brocante shop and make your way just past the old gate to see the breathtaking views over the valley.
A quick drive from either Beaune or Dijon, Châteauneuf is must see stop that will take you back into French history while you savor the calm of the present.