In a way you are lucky to get this post because I chose this destination in the last minute (just a day before I left Paris) also TGV train fare to Brussels was two times costlier than this destination travel price. Earlier I heard from my friends that Wine tour is something that is unique experience not to be missed. Sometimes when you change your plan you really have surprises in store for you. After visiting this region I felt how lucky I am to change my travel plan to make trip to this area. Reason being this was another rural area but rich in nature especially with its vineyard all around the hill ranges.
I booked my tickets two days in advance to make my way to this wonderful destination at SNCF station, (Luckily I didn’t have much of communication problem like the one I had for booking ticket to visit Switzerland.) You can check with SNCF site for latest train timings (sadly this site is in French but not difficult to understand about the info we need). I had also pre-booked for a wine tour with Bacchus Wine Tours to avoid missing a seat as the seats are limited for common trip.
I had started my journey from Paris early in the morning around 7AM (6.55) and reached Beaune around 9:30AM. I roughly got the location of tourist information office from the Beaune Web Page. So, I headed straight there to get the Pass for visiting local attraction and to pick up brochure on Beaune plan. I got Beaune pass that would give me free entry to Hôtel-Dieu, Musée du Vin de Bourgogne & Musée des Beaux-Arts et Musée Marey (Beaux-Arts Museum).
The wine tour was only at 2:30PM. So, I had decided to visit all the monuments in and around the town. First thing I noticed was the rampart around the town was literally similar to what I have seen in Provins. Later when I walked all around the town it was confirmed they too had similar kind of protection in here too.
If you are a person who doesn’t feel like walking you can rent a bicycle for the whole day with Bourgogne Randonnees. You can in fact take this nice bike for long distance riding too. Its good to go for such long distance ride to enjoy the sceneries around this Bourgogne region. There are cycle route maps are also available at TripAdvisor Forum for touring as well or you can join the bike tour organized by De tours where you can rent your bikes.
First place I visited was the Charity Hospital Hôtel Dieu (Hospices de Beaune) that was built in 15th century by Nicolas Rolin and envisioned it as palace for the poor. This is one of the town's most visible antique buildings. The inner furnishings were done with a polyptich attributed to Rogier van der Weyden. The multi coloured polychrome-tiled roofs of the Hôtel-Dieu have become one of the symbols of Burgundy. They used this place as a hospital for treating ill people. They have varieties of beds used during those days, medical equipments and pharmaceuticals all can be seen inside. There are collections of various objects brought from this area. There was a sacred room, it was dark and with the collection of few arts kept inside the room with low-light. Must have been the place where the saint lived? With that last room visit I came out of the Hôtel-Dieu.
Actually in the morning when I visited the tourism office, the girl at the reception told me that they have weekly market put up on the street today right after the Hôtel-Dieu. When I came out I could see that there was a huge market place happening with varieties of fresh items. Almost everything was available there namely vegetables, breads, butters, meat items, provisions, flowers & fruits. Everything you need for your cooking at sufficient enough for one week. The entire street was filled with colours and market was really happening place. Lots and lots of buyers from locals along with them tourists too joined to choose their pick. I walked along the street and I was lost twice towards finding my next visiting of Musée du Vin de Bourgogne (Wine Museum).
I managed to find the Wine Museum as it was way in through petty lanes. As the name suggests, this Musée du Vin de Bourgogne has collections on Wine Info in the region. There were also varieties of objects that symbolized wine cultures were stored in 15th- and 16th-century rooms. There were samples of tools used for wine making process right from vineyard preparation till packaging. It was nice to see the wine bottles and labels of famous wine brands that were dated centuries back.
After visiting the Wine Museum I took a long walk around the town through the rampart region. It was nice sight with few ceilings have multi coloured polychrome-tiled roofs done by specially prepared materials. It seems like these roofs can be stronger enough to stand out shining for many centuries. I spotted smaller Arch similar to what is constructed in Paris. On the way I was that there was a very old theatre building that was abandoned long time back looked like, not sure if this has any connection with physiologist Etienne Jules Marey, who discovered the principles of the cinema long before 1895. When I came back to the avenue where there was weekly market put up on sale in the morning was completely done winding up and they were washing the streets. There was no evidence to say that such a big open market was existed in the morning.
Since I had time to kill about 1 hour before the wine tour starting time I entered into the Beaux-Arts Museum. It had paintings belonging from 16th to 19th centuries. As usual there were sculptures from Middle Ages and the Renaissance on the display too. I found the sculpture attached quite interesting. Since time was nearing 2:30 to start the wine tour I just moved out of the art museum and at the exit is a tourist information office from where the wine tour was scheduled to start.
OMG!!! It was already 1.30 AM when I finished writing this article. Will write on the wine tour around this region in my next post with lot of information about the whole process of wine making along with interesting snap shots. Until then see you ya…