Spain Guide

France Guide

Beaune France Beaune

Beaune France

Try pronouncing 'bone' in a French accent and you will be somewhere near the pronunciation of Beaune, the main town amongst the sleepy villages of the Cote d'Or region. As the principal focus of the celebrated wine region's commercial and tourist trade, Beaune manages to retain its air of ancient French town whilst catering to the influx of tourists who come to buy the wine.

The old city is enclosed by ramparts and a stream, around which runs the one way boulevard known by seven different names. There is a small pedestrianized area in the old city (rues Carnot and Monge), and the main attraction is the Hotel Dieu, an old hospital.

Beaune

Nicolas Rolin, chancellor to Philippe the Good, and his wife Guigone de Salins founded the Hotel Dieu des Hospices de Beaune (€5.50) on place de la Halle in 1443. Some say it was to make up for having deprived so many people of their wealth by creating a sanctuary for them when they were ill. The best bits are the roof covered in multicoloured tiles over the wooden gallery around the cobbled courtyard and the very literal 15th century depiction of the Last Judgement on an altarpiece by Rogier van der Weyden.

Map of Beaune

To organise your wine tours go to the tourist office at 1 rue de l'Hotel Dieu (03 80 26 21 30) where they will happily furnish you with information. In town you can go to wine tastings at numerous cellars, such as the Marché aux Vins on rue Nicolas Rolin near the tourist office. Here you can taste about 18 wines for a fiver in the cellars of a desanctified 13th century church.

All of this makes Beaune a good day trip out from Dijon, but if you do decide to stay the night in Beaune be prepared for high prices. You will definitely need to book in advance during September and October due to the grape harvests. There are five hotels within the city walls, all of them rather expensive, but the out of the way Hotel des Remparts, 48 rue Thiers (03 80 24 94 94) has large beamed double rooms from €70 85. Most other hotels are near the rue Faubourg Madeleine and place Madeleine on the southeast outside the walls.

Going out for dinner is an expensive business too, with places like the upmarket Bernard Morillon at 31 rue Maufoux (03 80 24 12 06) serving €26 to €76 menus. Le Carnot brasserie at 18 rue Carnot is reasonably priced, as is the Bistrot Bourguignon at 8 rue Monge, both with steaks, salads and wines by the glass.