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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 😁 Beaune is located 3 hours car drive or 2 hours train ride (the fastest route) from Paris.
I used several weeks to plan for our road trip – 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 were 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 the Palace of 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 stop 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 surrounding area consists of many famous wine villages and vineyards with great wine cellars. I am not the most prominent wine expert, but I do love good wine, and if I would visit some vineyards and learn about wine, this would probably be the right place.
Things to see and do in and around Beaune
The “old town” of Beaune is known for restaurants and small shops, and it has a focus on gourmet food. If you are a food lover, I would recommend you stroll around and eat as much as possible 🙂 If you ARE looking for a gourmet restaurant, I suggest you read further. 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 main 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.
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 the 12th century. You could book a tour through Beaune Tourism Board’s official site to explore the chateau but it seems that it is not possible anymore. You can, however, check Chateau’s official site for more information.
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 gourmet restaurants in Beaune, but we used TripAdvisor to give us some ideas. But let me tell you one thing – you don’t have to do that either. Just find a place where you see people eat and grab a table. And being in Beaune – the wine capital of Burgundy, you have got to drink red wine from the region – you will love it.
If you 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 three stars. Maison Lamoise is also a hotel in a real french style.
Where to stay 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 researched different sites for weeks trying to balance hotels and our budget. Some hotels we stayed at were excellent, 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; the bathroom had a bathtub. Our room price didn’t include breakfast, but you could add it on the spot for an extra charge. We had our breakfast in town on our way out – you can stop at any bakery and get a freshly baked baguette with butter and jam. We chose a bakery nearest to car parking. I love french bakeries serving newly 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.
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 a place at a crossroads between two famous cities, Beaune was a great surprise. The atmosphere was terrific – calm and relaxed. There were fewer tourists than in other places, 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.
Beaune was such a pleasant surprise that I will consider letting my husband help me plan our trips next time too 🙂
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