Beaune could be the culinary and wine capital of France. Located in the middle of Burgundy, Beaune is surrounded by some of the most coveted wine regions including Pommard, Chassagne-Montrachet, Meursault, and more. Beaune is tiny, and when you arrive, you can drive into the center of town. There is parking in the city, but you can park for free outside the city walls. The town is small enough that you will not break a sweat walking from your spot to the center of town. This will also save you the trouble of dodging pedestrians as you try to make your way.
You could do a hotel, but we’re big fans of AirBNB. We stayed at a lovely apartment in the center of town that cost us just over $200 per night. The apartment had a kitchen which allowed us to save money on breakfast & dinner (save money, most of the restaurants in Beaune and the surrounding areas have amazing lunch deals…even those with Michelin stars). It is also quite personal as we got some fantastic dining recommendations from our host Cristina. The apartment was warm (a luxury in France) and had an awesome shower head (another luxury in Europe). If you’re going, I would not recommend staying anywhere else.
You need to make sure that you set time aside to go to Beaune’s market (8-12am Saturdays & a smaller version on Wednesdays). It is located at the beginning of Paradise road. Local purveyors take over the town square with some amazing products. Prices are cheaper than at the local supermarket (Casino) and the products are of significantly higher quality. Get some eggs. They are some of the best I’ve had. Also, lots and lots of cheeses, fruits, breads, and incredibly inexpensive oysters. Did I mention the biggest artichokes I’ve ever seen? Click the link above to see some images of the foods we saw at the market. Go to the stand for the Gagnepain family (butchers). Their product is of amazing quality, and if you can guess the weight of your chicken correctly, it’s free!
So, there’s a Dalineum. What is it you ask? It is an amazing museum filled with works of Salvador Dali. The museum’s owner, Jean Amiot, collected them over 40 years. He’s all sorts of awesome, and, if you behave, he may let you play with a sculpture or two.
The Beaune wine auction takes place the 3rd Sunday in November. We missed out since our visit was in March, but I’ve added it to my list of things to do (we got to go in 2013 – click the link for more on the experience – it was AWESOME).
Walk the city at night. There are kiosks where you can reach the Beaune tourism website and it will launch a gorgeous light show for the building you are looking at. The Bell Tower has clocks that dance around it, and a cat that playfully hides in the windows. Each of Beaune’s landmarks is decorated in lights at night. It’s kinda gorgeous.
Once you’ve had your fill of French food, check out KoKi, a super cool, super young Japanese restaurant run by French chefs. The food is casual, yet refined and it won’t break the bank. The dumplings are outstanding there. Koki is located at Koki is located at 10 Place Félix Ziem, 21200 Beaune, France.
L’Oiseau des Vignes has gorgeous food, great service, and an amazing BTG program. The wall of the main dining room of the restaurant is clad with a machine that dispenses all the WBT for some amazing choices. Definitely make a reservation at this gorgeous (and delicious) restaurant.
If you are collecting Michelin stars, you cannot miss out on Maison Lameloise in the town of Chagny about 20 minutes from Beaune. It has 3 Michelin stars and will not disappoint (especially when 80 Euros gets you their 3 course tasting – which is really like 8 courses after all the amuse bouches & desserts). It is located at 36 Place d’Armes, 71150 Chagny, France
For an amazing yet fairly priced meal, check out Caves Madelein (8 Rue du Faubourg Madeleine – right outside the old walls). The restaurant is loved by locals and its owner/sommelier “Lolo” (Laurent Brelin) will set you up with perfect wines for your palate. We also were super lucky to sit next to Vincent Jouard who is a 5th generation owner/viticulturist at Chassagne-Montrachet Domaine Vincent & Francois Jouard. Incredibly small estate, lovely people, and incredible wines. (Read our review here)
Take a wine class, it is wine country after all. We recommend Taste Burgundy Wine School. Cristina is an amazing wine educator (with a killer palate) and makes it more than just a wine class. It becomes an experience.
Head out to Pommard, check out the wineries and grab lunch at Aupres du Clocher. They offer various tasting menus at prices to fit most budgets and they have a wonderful wine list. Antonio and I are split on this one, he hated it (it did not fit his flavor profile – although he recognizes that the technique is perfect)…and I quite enjoyed it. Located at 1 Rue de Nackenheim, 21630 Pommard, France
For another amazing (but this time affordable meal) check out La Ciboulette. They offer three tasting menus including one at just €19 for 3 courses. I had a gorgeous pumpkin soup, Volaille (a chicken dish with gratin potatoes) and a pear baked in red wine sauce. Wine by the glass was pretty affordable too at just €6 per glass. La Ciboulette is located at 69 Rue de Lorraine, 21200 Beaune, France
Le Pickwick’s is your spot if you are yearning for a British Pub. The owner, Jerome, purchased it 15 years ago from its British owners and has kept the place as it was. It is warm, comforting, and a beloved local hangout. Best part, when you order a round, Jerome’s daughter brings you salted peanuts, pate en croute, and salt & vinegar chips. This place is a total win and it is located at 2 Rue Notre Dame, 21200 Beaune, France.
Wineries…there are lots, but we fell in love with Domaine Vincent & Francois Jouard. If you have been drinking the “good” stuff from the larger houses, you’ve probably had his grapes. Think Premier Cru wines made from 50 year old vines. Gorgeous stuff (read more here).