Beaune is the heart of the wine country of Burgundy. The old town is a walled village approximately 3km by 3km. We stayed inside the walled area in a modern “old” hotel – Via Mokis. The weather was overcast, and raining off and on. We got to the town late morning, and managed to get to the Patriche winery for the last wine tour of the morning. This fairly modest building had an amazing network of underground cellars over 5km long, which stored 3 million bottles of wine. Turns out the owners had bought the cellars of the neighbouring buildings and joined them together. The wine tour was self guided, and cost 13 euros each, which seemed expensive, except that you could try 13 wines and pour your own tastings! We learned that the terroir was the most important aspect of the wine, and was the featured name on the bottle. This was a bit confusing as we saw bottles which appeared to have the same name, but very different prices, and thought that we could get some hidden bargains.
We explored the town checking out the various markets, wine shops and other craft stores. The main historic attraction is the Hotel-Dieu de Beaune – which was an infirmary for the poor built in the 15th century. The architecture was typical of that time period, and had amazing tile work. Today it is a museum and hosts a charity wine auction every November.
One of the most unexpected items for sale that we found was a bottle of Beau Frere wine from Oregon. Burgundy and Oregon are both known for Pinot Noir, and we were told that there has been a history of wine makers from Burgundy working in Oregon.
Although we only spent one night there, we felt that Beaune was a must see on any trip to Eastern France, and especially for wine lovers. We bought a few bottles of wine there to complement the ones we bought in Lyon.