Beaune in France had not been on my radar until I started researching places I wanted to visit on my European Road Trip.
Located on the beautiful wine route in Eastern France and a short 40km drive from Dijon, this medieval town sounded like the perfect place to stay for one night and to do some wine tasting; after all, Beaune is the wine capital of Burgundy!
We stayed in the Burgundy region for two nights on our way home from Switzerland. One night in Beaune Ibis Central and then at La Reserve des Pres Verts, an hour’s drive from Beaune in the sprawling Burgundy countryside in Mont-Saint-Jean.
If you want to visit Beaune from Paris, it takes 2 hours 30 minutes by train, and there are approximately 30 trains daily, or a 3-hour drive. A day trip from Paris is possible, but a one-night stay would be a good option with so many things to do in Beaune.
In this post, I highlight all the Beaune attractions so you can have fun sightseeing in Beaune and immersing yourself in the city’s cultural delights.
Beaune’s old town is compact and based around the medieval hospital complex, Hotel-Dieu. The historic city centre is a delight to wander around, with cobbled streets, traditional shops and timber-framed buildings surrounded by Beaune’s ancient ramparts.
Beaune is a gastronomy delight, with most shops selling French delicacies and wines. Cheese stores, cake stores and delis rub shoulders with wine merchants offering the finest foods and wines in the region.
10 Best Things to Do in Beaune
If you are wondering what to do in Beaune, you needn’t worry because there are plenty of Beaune tourist attractions to keep you occupied. From wine tasting to historical tours, there is something for everyone to enjoy; the only problem is you might not want to leave!
Experience the delights of Beaune Wine Tasting.
I must admit that even though I was in Burgundy, I don’t like red wine, but as one of the top things to do in Beaune is wine tasting, this was my chance to learn to love it.
I booked an evening session at La Cave De L’Ange Guardien to learn about legs, appellations and other vino-related words. Pierre (the owner) allowed us to taste a selection of Burgundy wines, but my conversion wasn’t to be.
My husband swirled his glass, identifying which varieties had stronger “legs and tears” and claiming to smell earthy, fruity and floral aromas. I, unfortunately, found all the varieties to taste like mulled wine, not a comment that went down well.
I fear Pierre was quite annoyed when I admitted to enjoying New World whites over his exquisite red varieties. Feeling I had let him and myself down, I invested in a crate of sparkling white wine and a bottle of creme de cassis, which he said would sweeten it up – it did!
Book a Beaune vineyard tour.
A tour from Beaune of 10 wines Grand Cru tasting day along the Burgundy Wine Route will appeal to wine enthusiasts.
Take a tour so you won’t miss out on sampling the wine varieties by driving yourself. The rolling countryside is a beautiful setting for some of the best vineyards in the world.
Book a Beaune wine-tasting tour.
Visit the historic Hotel Dieu Museum.
One of the best things to see in Beaune is the Hospices de Beaune. It was a hospital founded for the poor in the Middle Ages with the most impressive Gothic architecture you could wish to see.
Its colourful tiled roofs give it a jaunty edge, but step inside and discover a museum dedicated to the hospital’s history, complete with a reconstruction of the central ward and apothecary.
It is as fascinating as it is beautiful, and you will find out that the Hotel Dieu still retains many exceptional vineyards in Burgundy, so you may decide to come home with a souvenir of the liquid kind!
It is free to enter, and you can take an audio tour of the buildings. This is an excellent way to hear more about Hotel Dieu’s history and why this magnificent building sits in the centre of an unassuming small French town.
Explore the city ramparts.
A circle of 2.5 km of walls, towers, and eight different forms of bastions has ensured Beaune’s defence for centuries, and with around half of the ramparts still standing, visitors can explore them.
The Bastion Notre Dame, Square des Lions and the Rempart des Dames are particularly interesting.
Access onto the ramparts is from any road leading to the town centre marked with a wall and turret symbol – Amis des Remparts de Beaune.
Step inside the Church of Notre Dame
The Basilica is just around the corner from the Musée du Vin and the Hôtel-Dieu.
Best known for its collection of 15th-century tapestries, it is a delight to visit. While in Beaune, you will hear its bell chimes throughout the day.
Hire a bike and explore Beaune’s countryside.
With some of the best vineyards in the world located just outside of Beaune’s town centre, why not hire a bike and pedal your way around the rolling French countryside?
The Route de Grande Crus will allow you to discover the best vineyards in Burgundy.
Jump aboard the Beaune Visiotrain
A charming 40-minute train journey around the city centre will describe the old town’s history and monuments.
You will also get an insight into Beaune’s world-renowned vineyards. Bookings can be made online.
Learn about vinification at the Museum of Wine.
As Beaune is the wine capital of Burgundy, one would expect to find a wine museum within its city centre.
The Musée du Vin is housed in the Dukes of Burgundy’s former home, a spectacle in its own right, and explains the history of Burgundy’s wines through the centuries.
Exhibits show the process of winemaking from soil to bottle and have displays of wine presses from the 16th to 19th centuries.
Shop at the Beaune markets
Saturday is the Beaune market day, offering visitors the choice of two excellent markets.
The fresh produce market is located in Place de la Halle beside the famous hospital, Hotel Dieu. The second Beaune market, open only between March and November, is an antique market in Place Carnot.
Of course, there are cheese, wine and patisserie shops to wander inside, and you will surely come out ladened with goodies.
We bought creme de cassis, wines, cheeses and loads of marzipan sweets – well, we were on holiday!
Eat and drink at the best restaurants in Beaune.
Beaune has several Michelin-rated restaurants, and as the Burgundy region is famed for fine foods and superb wines, a meal here will be an enjoyable experience.
Check out some of the finest restaurants in Beaune.
- L’Hostellerie de Levernois is a five-star restaurant on the city’s outskirts offering a Michellin-rated menu, an indoor/outdoor bistro and a cocktail terrace. This is currently the best restaurant in Beaune, as listed on Trip Advisor.
- L’Ecusson offers fine dining in an exquisite setting.
- Le Cheval Noir offers a menu that will leave you drooling. This is Michelin-style dining at its finest.
- Olivier Leflaive is a restaurant run by one of the world’s leading wine families. You can be sure of a perfect meal matched with the most astounding wines.
Where to stay in Beaune
For a small town, Beaune packs a punch. It is a great place to discover France’s best food and wine.
Spend a day and squeeze in as much as possible, or spend a week and use Beaune as a base for trips to other towns in Burgundy, such as Dijon, Chablis or Châteauneuf-en-Auxois or as a starting point for other French wine-tasting regions.
Do you need to arrange travel insurance, car hire or accommodation? Please check out my resources page to help you plan your trip.
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