Holiday in Beaune
For a time, Beaune was the capital of the Dukes of Burgundy. This pretty Côte d'Or town has a significant architectural heritage from this prestigious period of history, as shown by the buildings of the old ducal palace, which can be seen in the town centre.
The town's most iconic building is surely the Hôtel-Dieu museum, which is housed in the former Hospices de Beaune. Founded in 1443 by Nicolas Rolin, chancellor to the Duke of Burgundy, and his wife, the Hospices de Beaune are as famous for their flamboyant Gothic buildings with glazed Burgundy tiles with colourful geometric patterns, as for their themed rooms. The best known is the "room of the poor" with its two rows of beds with crimson curtains, which appeared in the film "La Grande Vadrouille", starring the well-known French actors Bourvil and Louis de Funès. Two other rooms contain an old apothecary with its counter and shelves filled with bottles, earthenware jars and vials of all kinds. Yet another room houses an impressive altarpiece of the Last Judgement, commissioned by Nicolas Rodin and painted by the Flemish painter Rogier Van der Weyden.
Every year, on the third Sunday of November, an auction of wines from the 60 hectares of vineyards belonging to the Hospices de Beaune is held in the courtyard of the Hôtel-Dieu.
Near the Romanesque Notre-Dame collegiate church and the Hospices de Beaune, there's another site well worth a visit: the Musée du Vin de Bourgogne, housed in a 14th-century palace, the former Palace of the Dukes of Burgundy. There you can retrace the history of viticulture and wine from ancient times to the present day.
If you're a cinema fan, since April 2009 Beaune has held a police film festival, which was previously held in Cognac. More of a music lover? In the summer, Beaune hosts the international baroque opera festival, followed in the autumn by the Beaune jazz festival.
Getting to Beaune couldn't be simpler once you’ve reached France by plane, train or car. Situated around 30 miles south-west of Dijon and just over 90 miles north of Lyon, Beaune can be reached from Paris and Lyon via the A6 motorway. If you prefer to travel by train, two high-speed services stop at Beaune station, one that runs between Paris and Chalon-sur-Saône via Lyon and Dijon, and the Dijon-Nice 2 line, which also stops in Lyon and Marseille.