So how do you end up in such a small and unknown for tourists destination as Beaune, France? And did you know that Beaune is the wine capital of Burgundy? I sure didn’t, and I was super proud when I found out that I ended up in such a famous (for wine lovers) place without even knowing it 🙂
In my previous posts I wrote how I used several weeks to plan for where to stay and for how long. We knew we wanted to see the Alps,Provence, and Normandy. Some places were going to be just a stop along the road while others for several nights. I sat with a map over France, TripAdvisor, Google, and bookings.com for weeks, trying to adjust the route for our ten days road trip. In those “short” 10 days we were trying to see as much as possible and yet have some time to relax. And we were trying to avoid Tour de France 🙂
On our way from Paris , or Chateau de Versailles, to the French Alps, we had a choice of stopping at Dijon or Lyon. I love big cities, and I love mustard, so Dijon sounded like an excellent choice. However, I was not the only one who was going on this road trip, so I had to let my husband choose something. He suggested we stopped at the crossroad between Dijon and Lyon, in a small town called Beaune. I was, of course, very skeptical, but as a lesson to me, the place turned out to be incredibly charming with a fantastic atmosphere, food, and architecture.
Beaune is the wine capital of Burgundy in the Côte d’Or department – no wonder the wine we had at the restaurant tasted terrific. The surrounded area consists of many famous wine villages and vineyards with great wine cellars. I am not the most prominent wine expert – I do love good wine, and if I would visit some vineyards and learn about wine this would probably be the right place.
My first impression coming in was “What the h..? Are we in a Western movie? It looks like a ghost town” But from that point, it only got better and better. From being considered as a place at a crossroad between to famous cities, Beaune turned out to be a great surprise. The atmosphere was amazing – really calm and relaxed. There were hardly any tourists, which is one of the best parts of going on a vacation – not meeting your countrymen wherever you go. The central square and main street had many restaurants and small shops. Although I stopped meaningless shopping a few years ago I love walking into small shops while abroad.
Hotels in Beaune
France is expensive and as much as I love luxury we couldn’t afford to stay at 5* hotels for ten days. I searched different sites for weeks trying to balance hotels and our budget. Some hotels we stayed at were nice, like the one in Annecy, while some were cheap. In Beaune, we stayed at Novotel which was a cheap and clean hotel with an outdoor pool. What else do you need for a one night stay during the hottest season? Besides, there were not many hotels in Beaune to choose from for the time of our stay. Our room had a double bed and foldout couch, bathroom had a bathtub. Breakfast was not included in our room price, but you could add it on the spot for an extra charge. We had our breakfast in town on our way out – you can just stop at any bakery and get a freshly baked baguette with butter and jam. We chose a bakery nearest to a car parking. I love french bakeries serving freshly baked baguettes and bread, and all sorts of sweets 🙂
The Novotel chain has an extensive range of hotels from cheap to luxury, and we booked their hotels in several cities during our road trip.
Things to see and do in and around Beaune
The “old town” of Beaune is known for restaurants and small shops and is focused on gourmet food. If you are a food lover I would recommend you to just stroll around and eat as much as possible 🙂 Otherwice you can always search on TripAdvisor for best places to eat. Beaune hosts a food market as well, but unfortunately we didn’t know about it.
There are several architectonic landmarks in the city – such as Hospices de Beaune and the wine museum. Hospices de Beaune holds the annual wine auction which is the primary wine auction in France.
But the vineyards that surround Beaune are the main attractions. They are open to visitors and you can book wine tasting tours to several vineyards.
YOU CAN BOOK YOUR TRIPS HERE
Beautiful Chateau de La Rochepot is located just 11 miles (17km) south of the city. The Chateau is a medieval fortress that dates back to 12th century and you can book your tour through Beaune Tourism Board’s official site HERE
What and where to eat in Beaune
When I am in France I feel I can go to any restaurant or bistrot and get a good quality meal. In my mind I know it’s not true, but the French are so proud of their cuisine that I choose to believe it is true 🙂 We didn’t look for a gourmet restaurants in Beaune, but we used TripAdvisor to give us some idea. But let me tell you one thing – you really don’t have to do that either. Just find a place where you see people eat and grab a table. And being in Beaune – wine capital of Burgundy, you have got to drink red wine from the region – you will love it.
If you do want to have a gourmet meal there are no less than 10 restaurants with a Michelin star in the area of Beaune, Maison Lameloise being in the lead with 3 stars. Maison Lamoise is also a hotel in a real french style. You can book it here
Beaune was such a pleasant surprise that I will consider to let my husband help me planning our trips next time too 🙂
So, I guess, the lesson is, I don’t necessarily know better and not always need to be in control. I should accept suggestions and sometimes just go with the flow.
Judge for your self the charms of Beaune; I can recommend it with all my heart!
Our next stop was Valensole – you can read HERE if our experience in lavender fields was as pleasent as in Beaune
This post has been featured on Beaune Tourism Office official facebook page