Burgundy has always been a high priority on my to-go list because of the wines. You cant imagine how excited I was when I was planning my trip here. It was more of a dream that I didn’t think would be realised so soon.
In the heart of Burgundy lies the unofficial wine capital of the region, Beaune (pronounced as “Bone”) was the place that we spent a bit of time in during our trip here (we stayed in a small town, called Nantoux, just off Beaune).
Beaune certainly captured my heart from the moment I step foot in this town for lunch. It certainly did help that our first meal in Beaune (and Burgundy) was mouthwatering and delicious. We ate at a very good value-for-money, one-Michelin star restaurant, Les Jardin des Remparts. They spruced up the usual Burgundian specialities; you have your escargots, pain d’epices, and a slow-cooked beef chuck in red wine, but not in your standard bistro form.
The town is walkable but big enough to have variety. Being in the center of the all the wine of Côte d’Or, it is unsurprising of the quality of the restaurants and food in Beaune. It is definitely a good base for a trip in the Burgundy region.
Beaune’s Saturday market day
One of the highlights of my stay in Beaune is the Saturday farmer’s market. The streets at Place de la Halle come to live on Saturday mornings – they are many stalls that set up their stands and almost the whole town seem to be there as well.
Though smaller than the market in Dijon, I prefer Beaune’s market; it is so lively, colourful and there is just so much beautiful produce – from the fresh vegetables and fruits to the sauccison, and fromage. Being there in spring meant that the white and green asparagus were out in full force – they were so gorgeous, I wish that I wasn’t just looking.
It is difficult to leave such a market empty handed even if you aren’t intending to cook. There’s a shop specialising in local saucissons (cured sausages) that you can taste and buy. And another shop in the covered market selling cured beef, foie gras stuffed in dried figs, foie gras wrapped in cured beef – we tried and bought all three!You can also find local honey, fruit vinegars (for salads), tea leaves, mustard – all very good travel souvenirs to bring home.
Lastly, I do hope you don’t leave without trying the cheeses of Burgundy – my favourite is Brillat-Savarin, citeaux and Époisse and they also bring in cheese from the Jura region which meant Comté reserve, is there as well. The market is the best place to learn more about the delicious local cheeses and to taste some of them as well.
Hospices de Beaune stands erect in the middle of the town and is the town’s 15th century hospital for the poor. Its strikingly beautiful roof can be admired in the courtyard; the roof exhibits Flemish influence and the four-colour glazed tile roof is typical of Burgundian architecture of that period.
The charity hospital was set up by the Chancellor to the Duke of Burgundy, Nicholas Rolin and his wife, who are almost like modern-day philanthropists.
At the hospital (now a museum), you can understand how the patients are cared for by the hospital ran by nuns. One of the more interesting rooms was the apothecary room – where you see ceramic jars of medicinal ingredients are displayed. The nuns would pound the ingredients with the mortar and pestle and serve them to the patients.
Also, if you are an art lover, do not miss the 15th Century polyptych by the Flemish artist Roger van de Weyden, The Last Judgement. It has been removed from the chapel to be kept in a separate room so that it will be better preserved.
Basilique Notre-Dame, Beaune
The Basilique Notre-Dame of Beaune may not be striking at first glance, or even the second glance. It is a church built in the 12th Century based on the model of the Abbey of Cluny that is typical of the Burgundian Romanesque period with a couple of gothic elements such as the bell tower, courtyard added on later.
Some of the church’s stained glass windows are in in yellow and white with gray outlines. They are pretty interesting and I wish there was more explanation on the church.
The church is also known for its 15th century tapestries that are housed separately but it was not open when we went. The basilique opens up to a pretty courtyard area with gothic arches that makes for pretty photographs.
One of my favourite shops in town is Alain Hess. It was recommended to us by a winemaker that we visited in Corton.
Alain Hess shop is a fromagerie – the family has been making their own cheeses for three generations. It is also a delicatessen that houses artisanal products made in Burgundy. The cheese that you have to try is one of Hess’s own creation – Délice de Pommard which is soft and creamy triple cream cheese covered with brown mustard seeds. The delicatessen is a haven for food lovers. It was at this place that I bought my J.Leblanc huille de noisette ( hazelnut oil), cassis vinegar for salads, and Bonnat chocolate
I love this town and you think would too if you love food and wine. You can almost not eat better and not drink better anywhere else.
Beaune Farmer’s Market
held every Saturday morning from March to November. Also on Wednesdays on a smaller scale.
Outdoor market at Place de la Halle and Place Fleury (Just across Hospices). Also, a covered market in Les Halles
Hospices de Beaune (L’hôtel Dieu)
Rue de l’Hotel-Dieu, F-21200 Beaune, France
Opening hrs: 9am to 6:30pm but shorter hours during winter
Ticket: 7.50 Euros for adult, price comes with an audio guide
Basilique Notre-Dame, Beaune
Place Général Leclerc
Around the corner from Museé du vins
A fine example of a Burgundian Romanesque style church
Les Jardins des Remparts
10 Rue de l’Hôtel Dieu, 21200 Beaune, France
Phone:+33 3 80 24 79 41
Alain Hess (Fromagerie Hess)
Both a fromagerie and epicerie. I can’t emphasize how much I love this shop. First, buy the cheese. They make their own. They also housed all of Beaune and Burgundy specialities here – mustards, cassis liquers, and the artisanal J.Leblanc hazelnut oils
7, place Carnot
Tél : 03 80 24 73 51
Opens: 9am to 12:15pm and 2:30 pm to 7:15pm (Mon to Sat)
and 10am – 1pm (Sun)