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Environment, Space, Place

Volume 3, Issue 1, Spring 2011

Philip Whalen
Pages 99-139
DOI: 10.7761/ESP.3.1.99

From ‘Bat-Filled Slimy Ruins’ to ‘Gastronomic Delights’
Geography and Gastronomic Tourism in Modern Burgundy

The modernization of Burgundy during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries drew on the coordinated efforts of numerous industrial and cultural sectors. Among these innovative developments, new tourism industries played a prominent role in providing new opportunities for the consumption of local products while redefining existing conceptions of Burgundian landscapes. This entailed collaboration of a variety of cultural intermediaries ranging from local boosters to politicians and from merchants to academics. Geographers contributed by incorporating symbolic, subjective, and performative practices into the existing regional concepts of terroir and genres-de-vie. The result was newly scripted roles for tourists and locals to participate in gastronomic activities that, by virtue of the experience, altered participants’ experience of time, space, and themselves. Rapidly institutionalized in Burgundy, these developments illustrate how contemporary commercial interests influenced geographic notions of place in the French provinces.

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