A family affair
For over a century, Burgundy was a region that was well known across the whole of Europe. Leading it were the following, from one generation to the next:
Philip the Bold (1342 - 1404)
He took over the Duchy of Burgundy from his father, the King of France, and married a wealthy heiress: Margaret III of Flanders. Thanks to this union, he also held power over Flanders!
Burgundy became a political power that had just as much authority as the Kingdom of France... and it was also a very wealthy province. Philip the Bold was a great benefactor and art enthusiast, and he had some very well-known painters and sculptors sent to Burgundy from the north.
John the Fearless (1371 - 1419)
He fought in battle with such bravery, during which he was taken prisoner, that it earned him the cognomen, "Fearless". Just like his father, he took the Duchy of Burgundy beyond the borders of the region thanks to a successful union with Margaret of Bavaria. But he was assassinated when he tried to negotiate with the King of France's son, his nephew!
Philip the Good (1396 - 1467)
He is undoubtedly the most well known, and he was the Duke of Burgundy who managed to make peace with the Kingdom of France, in 1435. During his reign, the duchy reached the apex of its prosperity and prestige: artists flocked here and Philip's library became famous across the whole of Europe.
Charles the Bold (1433-1477)
He dreamed of expanding the Burgundian territories and set his sights on Lorraine. But he died during his attempt to conquer the city of Nancy. The line of the Dukes of Burgundy ended here!
Dijon, former capital of the Dukes of Burgundy
Even though the dukes spent a lot of time in their Flemish residences, Dijon was still a favourite town for them. Philip the Bold renovated the entire château, turning it into a lavish palace for him and his family.
Today, the palace is the exceptional setting for one of France's most beautiful museums. Make sure you stop by for a visit! An unmissable sight there is the room that houses the tombs of Philip the Bold and John the Fearless.Visit Dijon and the museum
The Hôtel-Dieu of Beaune, a superb example of ducal patronage
This hospital was built in 1443 by Nicolas Rolin, Philip the Good's chancellor, and his wife Guigone de Salins. Why did they build it? To make life easier for the locals in periods of war and through epidemics. The result was a flamboyant and colourful, Gothic-style building.
Germolles, former ducal residence
In 1380, Philip the Bold gave his wife, Margaret of Flanders, a fortified house. She turned it into a palace that reflected the innovative Italian style, rather than an ancient medieval fortress. She entrusted the decoration to the very best artists working for the court.Visit the château
Journey back in time, all the way back to the Middle Ages
Burgundy at the time of the dukes is not only about their former palace in Dijon or the Hospices de Beaune. Dotted across the region, there are also medieval villages, châteaus and other examples of the powerful reign between the 13th and 15th centuries.