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Burgundy is the 13th French export region and trades mainly with Germany, Italy, Great Britain and the United States. Also important is the strategic location in France itself between the two most important French economic regions, Ile-de-France and Rhône-Alpes.


Burgundy Bresse ChickenBurgundy Bresse ChickenPhoto: Kweniston CC 3.0 Unported no changes made

Burgundy's economy is largely based on agriculture. In addition to arable farming (grain), animal husbandry (specializing in white Charolais cattle and spotted monbéliardes) and forestry, viticulture also plays an important role. Charolais cattle are exported to dozens of countries. The Bresse area is dominated by poultry farming, including special blue-legged chickens.

Of the 1.9 million hectares of agricultural land, 616,000 hectares are used for grain, 194,000 hectares for oilseed rape, 43,000 hectares for animal feed and 28,000 hectares for viticulture. The rest of the agricultural land is used for pastures or forestry.

Burgundy has four large, characteristic agricultural areas. A large area covers approximately the entire department of Yonne, a large part of the Côte d'Or, and the northern part of the Niève; mainly grain and rapeseed are grown and cattle are grown here. Charolais cattle and pigs are bred for meat in the Morvan and Charolais areas. The Saône region has a mixed character with dairy cows, poultry and agricultural products such as sugar beet, maize and grain. There is also the wine region, which is not that large, but of eminent importance for the region.

About a third of the working population was employed in the agricultural sector approximately 45 years ago, currently less than 10%.


Burgundy VinicultureBurgundy ViniculturePhoto: Megan Mallen CC 2.0 Generic no changes made

The combined surface area of all Burgundy vineyards is only one third of that of Bordeaux. Yet Burgundy wines have a big name all over the world.

Viniculture is limited to a long, narrow strip. It starts about 150 kilometers southeast of Paris and runs to about 60 kilometers north of Lyon. The strip is divided into five areas: Chablis, Côte d'Or, Chalonnais, Mâconnais and Beaujolais.


Burgundy Circuit de Magny-CoursBurgundy Circuit de Magny-CoursPhoto: Cjp24 CC 3.0 Unported no changes made

Most companies belong to the precision mechanical and metal processing industry, the car industry (around the Magny-Cours Formula 1 circuit), the packaging industry and the electronics industry. Also important is the pharmaceutical industry with several thousand employees.

Burgundy has been an important metalworking center since ancient times, thanks to the ore deposits that come to the surface and the large quantities of firewood that lay there for the taking. The Cistercians produced a lot of iron until the 14th century and played a major role in the development of the technique, partly through the invention of the camshaft.

From the 16th century, iron production grew thanks to the invention of the blast furnaces. In the 18th century, coke was first introduced as a fuel in England and the steam engine was also invented. English-style melters did not appear in France until 1819, and two years later the first melters appeared in Burgundy, including in Fourchambault and Le Creusot. In the late 18th-early 19th century, the development of the steel industry and the coal mines led to the founding of cities such as Le Creusot, Montchanin, Blanzy, La Machine, Decize and Imphy. In the 20th century, foreign competition and the use of energy sources other than coal led to a decline in the metal industry. Yet the metal industry still remains one of the corks on which the Burgundian industry thrives.



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Last updated June 2024
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