Beaune—A Jewel of Bourgogne

250

After much writing about Provence, it’s time to get back to Burgundy. After all, that’s where it all got started. Yes, Provence is intoxicating, and it has its hold for sure. But Burgundy, and really all of northern and central France, has the type of charm portrayed in fairy tales. Filled with sleepy villages, châteaux, rolling hills, vineyards, and canals, Bourgogne is the essence of charm.

015

The town of Beaune, a jewel amid the most dreamy of winemaking villages, is often considered the wine capital of Burgundy.  Though I usually prefer small, sleepy villages, the larger town of Beaune is one classy place, filled with fine restaurants, cafés, museums, wine cellars, and gourmet shops.

It’s an absolute must to sit at a café on the Place Carnot looking out at the charming carousel, medieval rooftops, and enchanting cobblestone streets.

003a

Wine tasting opportunities are endless. Though a bit touristy, the Marché aux Vins, right by the famous Hospices de Beaune, is a very fun, casual experience. The cellar offers a self-guided tasting tour, where you help yourself to the wine as you walk from barrel to barrel through a candlelit cellar. I can handle that!

224

Not to be forgotten is the outdoor market, held on Wednesday and Saturday morning. Filled with gastronomic specialties, this market is one of the most beautiful markets in France. The medieval village comes alive on market day. The regional delights abound. There is also a small section of brocante stands set up, where many treasures await—perhaps an old Dijon mustard jar or a vintage coffee grinder.

022

One can get lost for days with much to do in this town. Beaune is truly a Burgundian jewel of culture and elegance. A visit must also include a drive—or better yet a bike ride—on the Route des Grands Crus through the famous winemaking villages of Volnay, Pommard, Meursault, Puligny-Montrachet, Chassagne-Montrachet, and Santenay, all surrounded by gorgeous vineyards.

039a

À bientôt!

“Burgundy Healed Me”

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Funny story. A few years back, I was undergoing a bit of a stressful time, and we decided to take a last minute trip to Burgundy to help me “recover.” Escapism, I know.

So we arrive in Meursault exhausted after flying all night and pick up our “hidden” key to our adorable gite rental. We open the door and begin to explore our new home only to discover that it had not been prepared for us since the last guests checked out. I felt a little stressed. So we called the gite manager, and she sent someone right away to clean and prepare it for our arrival What to do?

051

We have a couple hours to kill, so we decide to sit in the center of the village and order a bottle of Meursault while we enjoy the fairy-tale-like view of the château. Being as I had been under a lot of stress as of lately, I say to my husband, “It’s amazing how well I am doing!” He responds, “It’s amazing how well you are doing? You are sitting in the most charming wine-making village in Bourgogne sipping a Meursault wine in front of a château, and it’s amazing how well you are doing? Yes. You deserve a medal for enduring such hardships!” Point well taken. We had a good laugh, and “It’s amazing how well I am doing!” became the saying of our trip.

I kept saying that I am going to write a book entitled “Burgundy Healed Me.” Yes, being amidst the vines is soothing, nurturing, healing.

027

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

There are so many beautiful, serene spots in this world to be discovered. But as any Francophile will tell you, there is something addicting, something intoxicating, about France that keeps one needing more.

À bientôt!