en kilometres west of Chalon-sur-Saône you find the little town of Givry with its 3 596 inhabitants (1999 figures) and three hamlets – Cortiambles, Poncey and Russilly. The village dates back to Gallo-Roman times and the name comes from the Gaulish word gabros, meaning goat.
From a vinous perspective this is mainly red territory. Only around one sixth of the production is white wine. There are premier crus of both colours and the 27 climats classed as premier cru cover 40 percent of the Givry appellation, an appellation that covers Givry and its hamlets as well as the villages of Dracy-le-Fort and Jambles.
The village was granted its own appellation in 1946. The process was delayed by the Second World War. The grape varieties for Givry blanc and Givry rouge are chardonnay and pinot noir respectively.
From the 13th century until the 18th Givry was surrounded by a wall eight feet thick, with eight towers and four gates, and a moat. During the 18th century the fortifications became of no use and they were subsequently used as building materials elsewhere. It was during this period that many of the town's major buildings saw the light of day – the city hall in 1771, the Fontaine aux Dauphins in 1776 and the church in 1791. Part of the old 13th century wall can be seen next to the city hall.
Right in the town centre is the Halle Ronde, a circular corn exchange (15,60 metres in diameter) built between 1825 and 1830. This was designed by the Chalon architect Narjoux as a replacement for the medieval corn exchange. Towards the end of the 19th century the Halle Ronde ended its "professional" life. Today it is used for exhibitions and wine tasting.
Just north of Givry is Chateau de Germolles, the only of the Dukes of Burgundy's castles that still exists.
The old postcard above shows the church in Givry at the beginning of the 20th century.
© 2013 Ola Bergman