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In the middle of the Côte d’Or, Beaune is the capital of the wine region. The town has a majesty about it rather like one of the good vintages it is famed for. At its centre is the Hôtel Dieu, the Hospices de Beaune, with its inner courtyard and colourful tiled roof. Radiating out are the cobbled streets with boutiques of all kinds from wine and food to avant-garde fashion.
There are so many delicious looking shops to browse around. Buy homemade wild peach jam from the tiny shop with a big name, Palais des Gourmets on Place Carnot and be tempted every step of the way by the charcuteries and patisseries. Bouché in Place Monge is famous for its chocolate and cakes, Alain Hess for cheeses and Boutique Vedrenne has a glorious array of fruit liqueurs and marcs.
Winelovers should visit L’Athenaeum de la Vigne et du Vin in Rue de l’Hôtel du Vin for books and accessories and Le Comptoir Viticole in Rue Samuel-Legay for more wine paraphernalia.
To sample the best of the region’s wine, visit the Marché aux Vins opposite the Hospice. The ‘dégustation des vins’ takes place in an ancient church, with its stone pillars and arches forming the perfect backdrop. For 10 Euros you can taste the famous wines of the region – 18 in all, with the best reds coming at the end. Open every day throughout the year from 9.00-11.30 and 14.00-17.30. July and August without lunch break.
Another very impressive cave to visit is that of Patriarche Père & Fils in Rue du Collège. The audio-guided visit through the labyrinth of Burgundy's most extensive cellars ends with a tasting of fine wine. Bouchard Aîné & Fils' headquarters are in the Hôtel du Conseiller du Roy on the ring road around Beaune. Their cellars are open seven days a week from 9.30 - 12.30 and 14.00 - 18.30 with an hour long tasting costing 9.5 euros (Jan and Feb, closed Mondays).
The town is famous for its Baroque Music Festival every weekend throughout July, the Festival, 'Cours, Eau, Jardins' throughout the summer, the Jazz Festival in September, the Hospice de Beaune Wine Auction in November and the colourful Festival of Saint-Vincent, the patron saint of wine each January.
On arrival, your first port-of-call should be the tourist office on the ring road at 6 Bd Perpreuil. There is a handy 'passport' with details of all the major places to visit, town maps, details of excursions and events. Tel: 00 33 (0)380 26 21 30
Saturday with over 150 stalls
Places to visit nearby
See Gourmet Tours and Tasting Lunches
Comparative, competitive prices, and you can book online with Auto Europe
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Hôpital de Beaune, Ave Guigone de Salins, 21200 Beaune tel: 00 33 (0)380 24 44 44
Pam Elson ©burgundytoday.com