The Burgundy region in France is famed for its prestigious wine production, luring connoisseurs from around the globe. And at the heart of it all is the beautiful walled city of Beaune.
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Located in eastern France about three hours south of Paris, the town’s historic centre is surrounded by stone walls dating back centuries, and the Côte d’Or vineyards where Chardonnay and pinot noir grapes are famously harvested.
Modern conveniences like tasting rooms, boutiques, cafes and restaurants blend seamlessly into the picture-perfect, historic streetscape, making visitors feel like they’ve stumbled into some ancient village untouched by the hands of time.
From winemaking experiences to admiring architectural wonders, here’s what to do in Beaune, France.
Sample Beaune wine
Beaune is known as Burgundy’s wine capital, and more focused on wine production than tourism despite being a popular spot for day trippers from Paris. The Beaune wine region is one of the oldest wine regions in France, and considered to be among the finest in Burgundy.
There a number of vineyards nearby, and the town hosts an annual wine auction which draws international buyers.
Held during the third weekend of November, Christie’s organizes the event which sees top wines from area estates up for grabs, with proceeds going to heritage conservation and hospital upgrading.
There are tasting rooms right in town, including the 15th-century cellars of the Maison Champy which is the oldest wine company in Burgundy (dating back to 1720) and can be visited during this guided walking tour.
Another great option is this full day tour which starts at one of the Beaune wineries, continues with a walking tour of the town, then heads out to two other wineries in Burgundy including Clos Vougeot castle which was founded in 1098 by monks.
Book a Beaune wine tasting tour with GetYourGuide:
Another fun way to explore is by e-biking through the vineyards in the surrounding countryside, stopping to visit the castle, sample local wines and dine on a traditional Burgundian lunch.
Things to do in Beaune’s city centre
Strolling along the ancient ramparts that envelop the city centre is a great way to get a different perspective of Beaune. Access is marked by the symbol of Amis des Remparts de Beaune.
If you haven’t gotten your wine fill yet, head to Musée du Vin dedicated to the history of winemaking in the area. The wine museum showcases of wines primarily from Burgundy and Champagne, and highlights the unique character of the Climats du vignoble de Bourgogne, a UNESCO World Heritage site.
The museum is open from April to November, every day except Tuesdays.
In the historic centre, intricate wrought-iron bars and colourful flower boxes decorate windows, while narrow, winding streets suddenly reveal treasures such as the towering Notre Dame church.
Collégiale Notre-Dame dates back to the 13th century, with Gothic additions, a Renaissance bell tower, a 12th century statue of the Black Madonna and a collection of 15th century Tournai tapestries.
The church is open May to October, every day except Saturday.
Notre Dame’s roof features a traditional characteristic of the region: polychrome roofs.
Multi-coloured glazed tiles adorn many of Beaune’s buildings, with their dazzling patterns meant to demonstrate wealth and opulence. And nowhere else does it better than the Hospices de Beaune.
Admire Hospices de Beaune (Hôtel-Dieu)
Established in 1443, the Hôtel-Dieu (as it’s also known) was built as a place for nuns to care for the ill who were too poor to pay for the care they desperately needed.
Incredibly, health care continued at the Hospices de Beaune up until 1971, before being turned into what is now a museum.
After paying an entrance fee, visitors are given audio guides and can wander through the Hôtel-Dieu freely. The entrance leads straight into the courtyard, which is the piece de resistance thanks to its dramatic, vibrant tiled roof.
The cobblestone-covered courtyard features an old stone well, and is surrounded by pillars supporting the gothic-inspired, half-timber facades.
Inside, visitors can tour spots like The Great Hall of the Poors, a huge room with rows of beds draped in rich red velvet where the sick were tenderly cared for.
Next up is the chapel with its intricate stained glass windows, then the Saint-Nicolas room featuring massive fireplaces designed to heat the Hospices de Beaune.
Other notable rooms include the pharmacy, where shelves lined with huge glass bottles and scales demonstrate how medicine was once administered, as well as a hall lined with rich tapestries and other collectibles.
Best hotels in Beaune
Beaune is compact enough that its highlights can be seen in just a few hours; however, those wanting to indulge in wine experiences will want to stay overnight to allow enough time to visit the tasting rooms and vineyards. Some top-rated places to stay in Beaune are:
Villa Louise: This 17th century home on the outskirts of Beaune is surrounded by vineyards, and owned by local winemakers. Enjoy a glass of wine in the cellars or out on the sun-soaked terrace, go for a dip in the pool or relax in the sauna at this idyllic getaway in the French countryside. Click here to book
Hotel Les Nomades: This newly renovated hotel has a good location near the city centre with on-site parking. Rooms are modern, and amenities include an indoor pool, outdoor pool and sauna. Click here to book
Le Central Boutique Hotel: Guests love the central location of this hotel which is within easy walking distance of the main attractions. Rooms are basic but clean, and there’s an on-site restaurant. Click here to book
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