Planning a French vacation? Are you looking for a destination that is off the beaten path? A place that is brimming with culture, history, and natural beauty?
If so, you must put Beaune, France, on your travel list! This lovely town is one of the best places to visit in Burgundy, an area known for its world-renowned wine.
The town of Beaune offers tourists a wealth of activities to enjoy. Wine lovers will appreciate exploring the local vineyards, where they can enjoy wine tastings from some of the best wineries in the world. Those passionate about history will want to explore the many time-honored landmarks in town, including the Hôtel-Dieu and Notre Dame churches.
Nature enthusiasts can enjoy a hike or bike ride through the picturesque countryside. And everyone will enjoy exploring the charming streets and squares of this beautiful town.
Burgundy is one of the most beautiful regions in France, and a bike tour of the area is the perfect way to admire its rolling hills, medieval villages, and towering châteaux. You will glide through vineyards on this memorable full-day tour, making stops at family-run wineries to sample regional wines and learn about the fine art of wine production. Lunch will be included (vegetarian meal option available), as well as entrance fees for guided tastings.
Beaune and Château de Pommard, located in the heart of Burgundy’s Côte d’Or, are home to some of the most celebrated vineyards in France. These UNESCO World Heritage Climats are also the source of amazing wines that have delighted palates for centuries. Join this wonderful wine tasting experience led by a professional sommelier and learn all about the diverse terroirs and techniques used to make Burgundy's renowned wines.
The 10-wine Grand Cru Tasting Day Trip is a full-day tour that begins in Beaune, the capital of Burgundy wines. You’ll taste Premiers crus such as Meursault and Corton Charlemagne Grands crus. Your wine specialist will then take you to Clos Vougeot and Nuits Saint Georges, where you’ll learn all about each vineyard, its history and its grapes.
Fun & Best Things to Do in Beaune, France
Let’s get into the best attractions and activities in Beaune, the wine capital of Burgundy.
1. Take pics at Grappe De Raisin De Puligny-Montrachet
If you have time for a quick stop for a unique photo op, the Grappe De Raisin De Puligny-Montrachet is a lovely spot, perfect for celebrating the beauty of Beaune and the deliciousness of French wine. The Grappe De Raisin De Puligny-Montrachet is an unmissable sculpture featuring a giant bundle of grapes at an intersection on one of the entrances to Beaune.
Go on, whip out the camera, and snap a few pics. This mighty, grapey marvel is one of the best possible representations of what this lovely village is all about!
2. Go on a Wine-Tasting Tour
Since you’re visiting the wine capital of Burgundy, it’s apparent that you need to indulge in some serious wine tasting. Wine enthusiasts have been coming to the region for years, making it one of France’s top locations for wine tourism.
Visitors can walk through the wine caves underneath town with a tour and tasting at Joseph Drouhin. Along with this, make sure to make a reservation at Bouchard Père & Fils to take a private tour of the cellars of the Château de Beaune and spend time learning from a stop at Maison Albert Bichot. Or book a tour of the stunning Château de Pommard and sample some exquisite vintages as you admire the beautiful countryside.
Frankly, there are tons of different wine-tasting tours you can enjoy, coming in all shapes and sizes. For a quintessentially French experience, you can book an all-day Burgundy wine tour from Beaune by bicycle. If you’re planning on enjoying multiple wines, you could try out this exclusive wine-tasting tour which provides private transportation from venue to venue.
No matter how you spend your time, a wine-tasting excursion in Beaune is an experience you won’t forget unless you have too much wine.
See Related: Best Paris Wine Tasting in Paris, France (+ Vineyards)
3. Learn about wine at the Burgundy Wine School
The Burgundy Wine School (sometimes called the Burgundy Wine Academy) will teach you about the wine industry and the different methods used to create wine. You will also learn about the different classifications of wine, such as dry, sweet, sparkling, and Auxerrois.
They offer many courses, and you can also taste a range of wine that differs in complexity depending on the producer’s vintage. The Burgundy Wine School also has a wine shop where you can buy bottles of wine and other products, such as glasses or books.
4. Explore the Historic Center of Beaune
Beaune is home to a well-preserved historical center that is full of character. Walk through the streets and take in the sights of medieval architecture. Make sure to visit the Hotel Dieu de Beaune, a 15th Century hospital that now houses a museum.
You can also walk along the city’s ramparts for gorgeous vistas of Beaune and the surrounding countryside. And no trip is complete without a stop at some of the aforementioned Beaune vineyards. If you’re struggling to figure out where to start, book a ticket for this private walking tour of the town, featuring some of Beaune’s hotspots.
5. Admire the Hospices de Beaune
One of many things to do in Beaune is the Hospices de Beaune, a historic hospital in the town of Beaune in Burgundy, France. Nicolas Rolin built this 15th Century masterpiece to care for the poor and sick.
Today, the Hospices is a museum and a major tourist attraction in Burgundy. Highlights include the stunning 15th Century tile-roofed buildings, the medieval hospital wards, and the world-famous painting The Last Judgement by Rogier van der Weyden.
The building is constructed around a central courtyard with covered walkways. The roofs are decorated with glazed tile patterns in the shape of flowers, animals, and Biblical scenes.
The Hôtel-Dieu is the main building, and it is a large building with two wings surrounding the courtyard. The main entrance is on Rue le Coffre, and there is also an entrance on Rue des Hospitaliers.
The building has three stories and is covered with a mesmerizing decorative tile roof. Today, it houses a museum with exhibits on the history of the Hospices de Beaune and its founder Nicolas Rolin.
The chapel is located in the middle of the Hôtel-Dieu building. It was consecrated in 1452 and is decorated with 15th Century paintings and stained glass windows. The Chapel of Notre Dame de Bon Secours is open to visitors year-round.
The pharmacy is located on Rue St-Jacques near the chapel. It was founded in 1450 and is one of the oldest pharmacies in France. The pharmacy has been restored to its original 15th Century appearance and houses a museum with exhibits on medieval medicine and pharmacy practice.
In addition to admiring the exterior architecture, several interior highlights are not missed when visiting the Hôtel-Dieu. These include:
The polychrome wood-carved altarpiece by Rogier van der Weyden depicting the Last Judgement (1445-1450)
The large tapestry L’Histoire de Saint Théodore (The Story of Saint Theodore) dates from 1485 and depicts the life of Saint Theodore of Amasea (fl. 310)
La Danse des Morts (The Dance of Death) was painted by an unknown artist in 1485 and depicts scenes from the Dance of Death motif.
Visitors can explore the buildings and grounds at their own pace with a self-guided or guided tour (available in multiple languages). Don’t miss out on this unique opportunity to step back in time!
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6. Take a Hot Air Balloon ride over Dijon
If you’re looking for a new perspective on the region, take a hot air balloon ride over Dijon. This is a great way to see the area from above, and it will allow you to get a bird’s eye view of the city and its surroundings. You’ll easily be able to spot some of Beaune and Dijon’s many vineyards!
The balloon rides occur throughout the year, but they are most common in spring and summer. If you’re interested in taking a ride, booking one in advance is best and ensuring you take a ride during sunset. The scenery is incredible.
See Related: Best Hot Air Balloon Rides from Around the World
7. Take a Walk on the Ramparts of Beaune, France
The ramparts of Beaune are one of the top attractions in this charming city in the Burgundy region of France. The ramparts are the well-preserved remnant of the medieval fortifications that once surrounded the city. Today, they provide a beautiful walking trail with great views of the city and its surrounding countryside.
The ramparts are open to the public and make for a great afternoon stroll. The route takes you along the top of the old city walls, past several towers, and through two gates. The walk takes about an hour at a leisurely pace.
Along the way, you’ll get sweeping views of Beaune and its red-tiled rooftops, as well as the vineyards that surround the city. You’ll also get a sense of what life was like in medieval times when this was an essential stop along trade routes between Switzerland and Italy.
There are several highlights not to be missed along the rampart walk, including:
The Porte Rue de Lorraine: This is one of only two remaining gates in the original fortifications. It’s now home to a museum on the history of Beaune’s fortifications.
The Tour Philippe le Bon: This 15th Century tower is named for Duke Philippe III who put a lot of money into strengthening Beaune’s fortifications. It’s now an events space and has a small cafe on the ground floor.
The Tour de l’Horloge: This is one of the most iconic buildings in Beaune with its giant clock face that dates back to 1443. The tower itself is now closed to the public, but it’s certainly worth a photo stop!
See Related: Burgundy Wine Tour & Itinerary: How to Plan the Perfect Trip
8. Musée du Vin de Bourgogne
The Musée du Vin de Bourgogne (or Burgundy Wine Museum) in Beaune, France is a must-see for any fan of wine. This charming wine museum is dedicated to the history of the wine industry and winemaking, with a special focus on the Burgundy region. Visitors can explore the Medieval building and discover how winemaking has developed over time.
The museum is fascinating, and entry is only €5. The museum is open daily from May until October, with a limited number of weekends and holidays. Don’t miss this unique opportunity to learn about one of France’s most beloved exports.
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9. Discover La Grande Cave de l’Hotel de Ville de Beaune
The La Grande Cave de l’Hotel de Ville de Beaune is a historic building located in Beaune. It was built in the 15th Century and has been home to many famous guests, including Marie Antoinette, Napoleon Bonaparte, and King Henry IV of France.
It is also known for its art collection, including works by Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, and Raphael. The La Grande Cave de l’Hotel de Ville de Beaune is one of the most popular tourist attractions in this part of France and is a must-see for anyone visiting the country.
It is situated in the heart of Beaune and is within walking distance of all the major tourist attractions. The La Grande Cave de l’Hotel de Ville de Beaune is a great place for history buffs, as well as those who appreciate fine art and architecture.
10. Peruse the Musée des Beaux Arts de Beaune
The Musée des Beaux-Arts de Beaune is a must-see for anyone visiting France. This world-renowned museum is home to an incredible collection of art and artifacts spanning centuries of European history. In addition to the art, the museum itself is a work of art with stunning architecture that is worth the price of admission alone.
This museum actually houses one of the best collections of fine art in all of Europe. From ancient Greek sculptures to medieval tapestries, there is something for everyone to enjoy.
Even if you’re not an art lover, you’ll be impressed by the sheer scale and scope of the collection. And if you are an art lover, you’ll be in awe of the many masterpieces on display.
As mentioned, the Musée des Beaux-Arts de Beaune is not only home to an impressive art collection, but it is also a beautiful piece of architecture in its own right. The museum features a neo-renaissance style that is sure to impress. Even if you’re not normally interested in architecture, you’ll want to take some time to admire the exterior of the building and marvel at the intricate detail.
In addition to housing a world-class art collection and being a beautiful building, the museum is also steeped in history, being founded in 1787 and has been open to the public ever since. It’s easy to spend an entire day exploring the museum and learning about its long and fascinating history.
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11. Wander the Collégiale Notre-Dame
You must not leave Beaune without a stop at this beautiful cathedral. It is a must-see for history, art, or architecture. Construction for the Collégiale Notre Dame (or the Basilica of Our Lady) began in the 13th Century on the site of an earlier church destroyed by fire in the 12th Century.
The current building is a Romanesque-style church with three naves and a transept. It underwent a major renovation in the 19th Century, and it has been well-preserved ever since. Today, it is a popular tourist destination and a designated Historical Monument of France.
When you step inside Collégiale Notre-Dame, you’ll be blown away by the beauty of the art and architecture. The church has numerous stained glass windows, some dating back to the 16th Century. The walls are decorated with frescoes and 15th Century tapestries, and beautiful sculptures are throughout the building.
Be sure to take some time to admire the church’s exterior as well; it’s covered in intricate carvings and fantastic stonework. My favorite aspect of the Basilica, inside and out, is the pipe organ, which is simply magnificent.
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12. Learn about Mustard at La Moutarderie Fallout
La Moutarderie Fallout is a must-visit for anyone interested in mustard. Located in Beaune, France, the Fallot Mustard Factory offers visitors a chance to see the world-famous Edmond Fallot mustard being made. The factory is located between Place Carnot and Place de La Halle, making it easy to find.
Inside, visitors can watch as the mustard is created, learning about the company’s process and history, and the condiment that made it famous. Afterward, guests can purchase mustard to take home with them.
13. Devour all of the Burgundy cuisines you can
Burgundy is world-renowned for its cuisine, and there are plenty of opportunities to sample the region’s culinary delights in Beaune. There are fourteen Michelin-starred restaurants in town (and just under 170 in Burgundy), with Maison Lameloise in neighboring Chagny being the most acclaimed in the area, having been awarded three stars.
Burgundy’s signature dish is bœuf bourguignon, a hearty, mouthwatering stew made with roasted beef and red wine. This dish can be found on the menu of most restaurants in Beaune, and while visiting, I ordered it at most restaurants in Beaune. It is that good.
Another regional specialty is pain d’epices, a spiced gingerbread made with cinnamon, cloves, and nuts. And, of course, no visit to Burgundy would be complete without trying some of the region’s famous mustard, made in the nearby town of Dijon. With so much delicious food, Beaune is the perfect place to experience Burgundy’s famous gastronomy.
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14. Stroll around the Parc de la Bouzaize
Parc de la Bouzaize is a small park a short walk from the ramparts in Beaune. The park is a popular destination for families and features a lake that is the source of the Bouzamize River.
The river runs for 20 kilometers before joining the Dheune and ending at the Saône. Parc de la Bouzaize is a great place to relax and enjoy the tranquil setting. The park is also home to a variety of birds and animals. The gardens are beautiful in the spring, summer, and fall, so don’t forget your camera!
See Related: South of France Itinerary
Is it better to stay in Beaune or Dijon?
We think it is better to stay in Beaune, hands down. Dijon is a nice, big town, but Beaune is an impressive small town with unique history and charm that doesn’t enjoy (nor suffer) the same attention from tourists.
It’s a bit harder to access, given that it’s a small town, whereas Dijon is easily accessible by car or train. However, you’ll be glad you made the trip to Beaune, the wine capital of Burgundy, as you’ll be closer to some of France’s best wine-tasting options as well as a plethora of incredible restaurants.
And if you’re looking for incredible places to stay in Beaune, you’re in luck. For the ideal location and the best in creature comforts (including those for pets), the appropriately named L’Hôtel (literally The Hotel) is a great place to start. If you’re seeking extra pampering, check out the Hostellerie Cèdre & Spa Beaune, which features a fantastic spa and beautiful grounds.
The rental game in Beaune isn’t lacking either and caters to all visitors. If you’re working on a budget but want to be in the heart of the town, this charming little apartment might be the one for you. If you’ve got a little more wiggle room and want a taste of history, this converted convent apartment is absolutely stunning and conveniently located.
But honestly, with Beaune being Beaune, this place has the potential for a once-in-a-lifetime vacation. Or perhaps you’re traveling with a group.
Either way, you’ll want to make the most of this wine country by staying in your chateau. Oh yeah, that’s right, your chateau. The rentable Chateau De Champ Carre is the real deal and has room for 20 guests to live in the lap of luxury just outside the town center. You have to check it out!
If you’re looking for a charming and unique destination, don’t forget to include Beaune, France, on your travel list! There are plenty of places to visit in Burgundy and top things to do in this beautiful town, from exploring the places steeped in history to admiring the countryside to sampling the delicious wines from this prosperous wine region.
Is Beaune, France, worth visiting?
Yes, Beaune is a great place to visit. It’s a beautiful town with an incredible amount of history.
And it’s home to the world-renowned wine region of Burgundy, along with some incredible restaurants. If you love a great culinary experience in a historical setting, Beaune is the place for you.
What is Beaune, France, known for?
Beaune is a beautifully preserved town, and its vines have been producing famous Burgundy wines since Roman times, making it known as the wine capital of Burgundy. The town is also home to the Hospices de Beaune, a historic hospital and charity that dates back to 1443.
The buildings are decorated with beautiful frescoes, and they’re open for tours during the summer months. There are also plenty of shopping opportunities in Beaune, especially if you like wine!
What are some fun things to do in Beaune, France?
When visiting Beaune, you need to check out the local vineyards for wine tastings from some of the best wineries in the world. In addition, tourists can enjoy experiencing the city’s architecture, shopping at its boutiques and markets, or walking through its picturesque streets.
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