A city of art and history, the capital of Burgundian wines, the town of Beaune is conveniently located forty-forty south of Dijon and 300 km from Paris. Beaune has an exceptional heritage: surrounded by ancient stone walls, it is considered the center of the Burgundy wine trade, as evidenced by the famous auction of Beaune hospices, held every third Sunday in November.
Last weekend, when the weather was nice, we went to explore one of the most interesting and beautiful cities in Burgundy.
Where to begin about the virtues of Burgundy? Wine? The most delicious and smelling cheeses? (Hello, epoisse! – by the way the village is only 40 km from my home). The bustling markets that fill the cobbled streets, or the way the sunlight illuminates the vineyards every evening at the golden hour? By the way, the “white Burgundy wines” are some of the most famous in the world.
Burgundy is a unique wine region even for France. The first settlement of Beaune dates back to Roman times in the 1st century AD, and by the 13th century it was already a thriving wine region.
When it comes to “climes” in Burgundy, climate and weather have nothing to do with it. It’s about the vineyards, the plots between Dijon and Santenay. It’s useless to look elsewhere – these vineyards are only in Burgundy! The vineyards of Burgundy (“climes”), listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2015, are the result of a model of winemaking that links wine to its precise geographical origin. Each of these clearly demarcated vineyard plots has specific geological and light characteristics that give the wine its unique flavor, which, however, also depends on human skill. There are 1247 of these vineyard plots, stretching in a narrow band for around 60 kilometers from Dijon southwards to Beaune, which I will be telling you about today.
Today Beaune seems like the setting for the movie Beauty and the Beast, but the truth is that it doesn’t try too hard to impress tourists. The historic town center is surrounded by well-preserved fortress walls, and the cobbled streets and stone buildings are home to a small community of 20,000 inhabitants, the famous hospital (Hospices de Beaune), and countless wineries and manufacturing plants. There are few hotels in Beaune, but there are some incredibly beautiful ones, which I will tell you about below.
It only takes two hours to walk the streets and alleys of Beaune, so on our journey through the city we walked to find the most interesting places. We highlighted a few antique stores (Quatre Faubourg Antique Shop is amazing and so well organized!) and small grocery stores (like The Cook’s Atelier). Unfortunately we couldn’t visit The Cook’s Atelier as it is closed on Saturday and Sunday. But it is a fine wine store that also has carefully selected kitchen utensils (brassware, books, knives, forks, and more).
Tastings are very common in Burgundy, and there are many wineries that offer wine tastings before you buy. Most wineries are not advertised on the Internet, so the best way to find out about these tastings is to drive through many charming towns and villages in search of “dégustation” signs.
If you come to Burgundy, you should definitely visit the Grand Cru wine road (just there are many places for tasting): its length is 60 kilometers, there are 37 villages on the route, the names of which are known all over the world. Gervais-Chambertin, Nuits-Saint-Georges, Pommard… and of course Bon… There is no better place to explore Burgundy, its wine-producing region and its specificities.
Two tastings I can recommend. Château de Pommard – they consider themselves ambassadors of Burgundy wines in the region and industry, which usually seem closed to visitors. And the second one at Sélier de la Cabiot – there you can meet the owner Emmanuel, a typical Burgundy wine enthusiast, proud to be the winemaker of the best wine region in the world, and happy to teach his visitors about the proper cultivation of grapes and wine production.
Hotels in Beaune
There are only a few hotels in Bona that I can recommend. But there are also several outside the city.
Le Cep (French for “the vine”), a small, family-run hotel in the center of town, just a few steps from the central market, the Hospices de Beaune and the good restaurant Le Dilettante. The central building of the hotel used to be an antique store and guest house where the owner invited potential buyers from all over the world to sleep in rooms furnished with antiques that could be purchased. The property has since expanded to include several neighboring buildings, allowing them to add a spa, an extensive wine cellar and more uniquely furnished rooms.
Hostellerie Cèdre & Spa Beaune – In the heart of Beaune, opposite the fortress walls and just a few steps from the famous hospices, Hostellerie Cèdre & Spa Beaune – opens the door to the French way of life. It is a charming combination of elegance and coziness. The hotel is located in a green garden, in a completely renovated building. You can dine at the gourmet restaurant Clos du Cèdre, which has 1 Michelin star. And relax in the Nuxe spa, in the gorgeous vaulted basement. The Hostellerie Cèdre & Spa, which has won several awards (Authentic Hotel & Cruises – Vignobles & Découvertes – Qualité Tourisme – Clef Verte), is the ideal place to discover the cultural and oenological heritage of Burgundy.
The Hôtel de la Poste, a family-run hotel, is the ideal place to relax in elegant surroundings. You can relax under the trees in the garden or over a game of billiards in the warm lounges of Le Stamp bar. With concern for the environment, the hotel has taken a number of measures to reduce energy and water consumption, sorting waste and thus limiting our impact on the environment. You can dine at Le Relais by HP, an elegantly decorated restaurant with exquisite traditional cuisine. The restaurant is located on the grounds of the Hôtel de la Poste de Beaune.
Hostellerie De Levernois – just a few kilometers from Beaune, in the town of Levernois, is the Cèdre & Spa. The hotel is set in a lush garden in the heart of the Burgundian vineyards. It is a small paradise with a warm atmosphere, where the tone is set by the art of living and well-being. The Hostellerie de Levernois is an authentic Burgundian stone residence with delicious cuisine (where the chef is the famous Philippe Auger) at La Table de Levernois restaurant and Le Bistrot du Bord de l’eau bistro.