I don’t know how busy Beaune gets in the heat of tourist season, but when we visited it was very quiet and not at all crowded. In other words, it was wonderful. The restaurants were busy, but we were able to find a meal without reservations. It was possible to park.
Beaune is the center of Burgundy’s famed Côte d’Or and the pulse of the area’s wine trade. The town is surrounded by some of the world’s most famous wine villages and the facilities and cellars of many producers are located right in town.
Thick 13th-century ramparts enclose the old town. Underneath the grid of buildings and streets are wine cellars.
Until the 14th century, Beaune was home to the dukes of Burgundy. I can see why they would want to settle down in such a lovely little town.
Many of the buildings in town have a distinct Flemish-Burgundian patterned tile roofs. I first saw these arresting roofs in Dijon (half an hour north of Beaune), and was happy to see them again here.
We wandered the streets and stopped in a few tasting rooms. Most of the vinters here are clearly accustomed to catering to tourists and therefore offer transaction-based services – they offer fee-based tastings, talk minimally about the wines and the process and don’t anticipate substantial purchases – which makes it difficult to get a feel for the winery.