Beaune and the area

During your stay in Beaune
Our space is limited so we cannot include the vast variety of things available to do, in Beaune and the surrounding regions. We have listed some suggestions and details with links to some web sites which we may be of help. An extensive manual is available in the property giving more detailed ideas and information at your finger tips when you arrive
 
The Town of Beaune
 
Beaune's origins go back to pre Roman times. During the medieval period it was a stronghold of the Burgundian Empire and played a strong part in the economy of the local area as well as contributing to the Burgundian treasury. It is now of course famous for one major export - WINE. Beaune still retains it's charm as a picturesque market town, medieval elements, cobbled streets and a number of historic monuments. Beaune is criss crossed with winding alleys and is dotted with historic buildings and squares. The centre piece is the Hospice de Beaune, or Hotel Dieu as it is also known. A 15c hospital whose construction was funded by the Rolin family to assure it's patrons safe passage to heaven and to help the sick and poor of the area. This is a must see building/museum and it is made all the more impressive when you discover that it was a functioning hospital until the early 1970s. One of the greatest paintings of the 15th century, Roger van der Weyden's Christ of the Last Judgement, is housed in a gallery in the building. This is a true master piece.
Originally this polyptych was hung in the main hospital ward as a preview of the fate of deathly ill patients: on one side, the blessed are welcomed to heaven, while the opposite side depicts horrific scenes of Purgatory and Hell.
 
Activities and Sites in Beaune
 The Market - no holiday would be complete without sampling one of the marvels of France - the market. The markets start in early morning and are much more than just grocery shopping. They are a combination of social outing and carnival. They sell almost anything, from fruit and vegetables, local specialities, cheese eggs, meat and fish, to flowers and plants, clothing linens, hardware and crafts. A walk through the streets is an essential experience in any visit to Beaune. The main market day is Saturday and it starts around 7.30am and finishes around midday. There is also a small market on Wednesday morning. Other markets in the area worth visiting are in Chagny with a good Sunday market, Autun with a Friday morning market. Nolay on Monday and Nuits St Georges also have markets on Friday mornings.
 
Hospice de Beaune -
also known as Hotel Dieu, situated in the centre of Beaune and open everyday for visitors. It is also famous for it's annual wine auction and the Hospice de Beaune wines.
 
La Moutarderie - a museum on the famous mustard maker with a hands on approach to learning about mustard making!
 
The Church of Notre Dame- The most important church in Beaune started in the 12th century and completed almost 600 years later. It has a beautiful and rare collection of 15th century tapistries which depict the life of the Virgin Mary
 
Shopping - There is a wide variety of shops in Beaune from childrens toys, wine shops of course, gift, clothing, shoes food etc. Some shops worth a visit
 
For wine La Vinotheque. www.bourgogne-vinotheque.com. For exceptional kitchen and cooking equipment - Maison Laronze www.lamaisonlaronze.fr. For soft furnishings Laronze Decor. For bathroom accessories and toiletries etc Sani Boutique. For chlidrens toys- Guigone. For gifts books and wine accessories- Atheneum. For exceptional gifts Fairfax Decoration. These are just some of the varied shops in Beaune and they are all situated around the main square Place Carnot. There are of course many cafes, restaurants and wine shops.
 
Other activities around Beaune
 
Biking- A popular and relaxing way to see the countryside and vineyards. Bike trails and rentals are available around the town as well as around the villages taking you through vineyards and wonderful countryside on quiet roads. 
 
Walking - there are a number o well sign posted walks through the countryside and through and around vineyards
 
Golf- there are anumber of courses in the surrounding area, Beaune has an 18 hole course and a 9 hole par 3 course, driving range, clubhouse with bar and restaurant.
 
Toursist railway steam and diesel- located in Bligny sur Ouche, a small village around 15 minutes from Beaune. The second oldest railway line in France founded in 1832 this is now a tourist railway, operating both steam and diesel trains. The railway meanders through the beautiful burgundy country side along the River Ouche. The round trip of around 15 kms takes around 75 minutes. Running from the original station of Bligny Sur Ouche the line goes to Pont D'Ouche near to the Burgundy canal. The train can also be boarded at Pont D'Ouche station. For full information visit www.cfvoblogspot.com
Steam services run every Sunday and local bank holidays from May to Septrember. Diesel service run everyday from 1st July to 31st Aug.
 
Private Tours- are available for visits to the town, Hospices de Beaune and vineyard tours. Contact www.detours-in-france.com who will be pleased to arrange things for you.
 
The local villages around Beaune are all worth a visit. These are often small villages but the names are familiar to wine lovers. The main wine producing villages of the Cote de Beaune are all closely situated around the town of Beaune. Such names as Volnay, Meurault, Pommard, Chassagne Montrachet, Piligny Montrachet, Aloxe Corton to name a few.
Other notable places
 
Nolay -A small town with Gallo Roman origins and has an exceptional timber framed market building
 
The Chalonnais region-south of the Cote D'Or, has many small villages and towns to see. It is known for its museums, vineyards- Rully, Mercurey, Givry, Montagny,Bouzeron,Bourgognr Cote Chalonnaise. Some of the local dishes include Saone river perch, poached eggs in a red wine sauce poultry in a wine sauce and of course bouef bourgignon.
 
Chalon sur Soane - another town that owes its importance to being on the Gallo Roman road. It was chosen by the initial settlers because of the proximity to the river, which was used for commerece. Most recently Chalon's claim to fame became centred around photography and film, as it was here that Niepce took the world's first photograph in 1816. The fascination with the reproduction of images was carried on by others after him, including Etienne Jules Mary who was from Beaune (a statue of him is in Beaune in Place Marey a square named sfter him). He invented the first chronophotograph, leading eventually to the first films by the Lumiere brothers.. Be sure to visit the museum devoted to Niepce and the evolution of photography in the town.
 
Autun- a town founded by the Roman Emporer Augustus is over 2000 years old and has a wonderful heritage of art and history was once known as the ''sister and rival to Rome''.
 
Dijon- One of the most beautiful and architecturally interesting cities in France. It was founded in the 3rd century AD in an exceptional environment of parks and gardens, just off the main Roman route of the Via Aggripa and the Amber and Tin roads. Vestiges of this first chapter in the town's history can be seen in the Archaeological museum and in the court yard of the Hotel de Vesvrotte. The medieval town , which grew up around the 3rd century military settlement, all but vanished in a major fire in1137. Dijon has a rich heritage of architecture and art from many epochs, including half timbered houses, many parish churches with towers, the Ducal Palace and the grand Renaissance buildings where the Museum des Beux Arts is located.
 
Chateauneuf-en-Auxois- This tiny medieval village aited on the top of a large hill, is worth a visit for an afternoon detour. The impressive chateau, now empty of furnishings is witness to centuries of history and turbulent times. The chateau was built by Jehan de Chaudenay for his younger son, as his older son would naturally inherit the family chateau in Chaudenay after his fathers death. The new chateau was finished in 1175 and Jehan moved in and took on the new family name of Chateauneuf. His heirs continued to reign for the following 9 generations until the final branch of the family was eradicated in a scandal. On March 13 1456 Catherine de Chateuneuf the last heiress was burned alive in Paris, for having poisened her husband. She had no children. The Chateau was taken over by the Pot family, rich and powerful politicians (Phillipe was the Chancellor of Burgundy) and then over the centuries changed hands several times.
The village at its height was never large with a population in 1826 of only 524. Now it has a population of around 83. You can drive along the River Ouche and Canal which can be seen from the hill top location of the village and see the many locks, house boats and barges moored along the canal.
 
The Wines of Burgundy- Wine routes and tastings
Burgundy wine is renowned all over the world for it's consistently high quality. Along with Bordeaux, it is recognised as one of the classic wine growing regions of France. The vineyards of Burgundy extend from Chablis in the north to Lyon in the south and are famous for producing excellent quality red and white wines.
 
A wine's origin can often be rather obscure. Merlot-Sheraz never appears on a map and even those who appreciate Italian wines, for instance, would find it hard to identify the location of vineyards renowned for Baraberabesco, Barolo or Brunello
 
Not so in Burgundy, where suddenly names we recognise from the shelves of our local wine shops or from wine guide books, spring to life. You can follow the signposts along the back roads of the gently sloping Cote D'Or. Meursault, Nuits St Georges, Pommard, Volnay, Corton, Vosne Romanee, Puligny Montrachet etc. You can literally drive, walk or bike between villages as though you were travelling down the very best wine list at one the world's top restaurants!
 
Though their reputations precede them, these villages and towns picturesque as they are really only have one focus- wine- and some tend to be sleepy little places. But none of this should discourage you from making a full day's itinerary of the Cote D'Or and the Cote de Nuits. 
 
There are hundreds of small producers to choose from. Not all require appointments but it is wise to phone in advance to make sure they are open. Burgundy wine makers take their profession very seriously and will welcome anyone generously who shows a sincere interest including tours of their caves and wineries. It is also approriate to purchase at least one bottle unless you are genuinely unimpressed!
 
Perhaps the least intimidating wine tastings can be found in Beaune. As you wander through the very pretty town, keep on mind that beneath your feet is a network of cellars as extensive as the street plan itself. Several of the large negotiants open their doors for less serious tastings  and self guided experiences, but they should not be dismissed as tourist traps-the wine is still well made and often the visit of some of the impressive medieval cellars is worth it just for that.
 
Restaurants - Beaune has many restaurants in the town and surrounding villages. There are restaurants from the traditional to the experimental, and prices to suit all budgets. It is never easy to recommend restaurants, but we have selected a few that we have enjoyed. For full details see the house manual.
 
Restaurant La Bouzerrotte is a small restaurant situated in the small village of Bouze Les Beaune a few minutes drive from Beaune and is well worth a visit, see their web site www.labouzerotte.com for more information
 
ENJOY YOUR VISIT TO BEAUNE!
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
  
 
 
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