Our next stop in our European adventure… Beaune, France, the wine capital of Burgundy. Many of you have probably never heard of Beaune and neither had we until we started to plan out our trip. You see, we knew we’d start in Paris then we wanted to hit one smaller French town before passing over the Italian border toward Venice. As we looked at maps we found a few cities that seemed on-the-way so we started to do our research. Around the same time, my Park City wine friend, Kirsten, helped us out with a SLC mixer wine tasting. During the evening of tasting wine she mentioned that there is a region of France that produces Pinot Noir wines. Pinot Noir, being one of our favorites, drew us into further investigation to this region of France. Finally, we found a small town that sounded perfect for our few days in between Paris and Venice, Beaune.
As we stepped out of the small town train with mostly locals and their dogs, we walked into a fairy-tale. Literally. An old stone wall encircles the town which is covered in vines and perfectly groomed shrubbery. The cobblestone streets take you through a different era, passing by town squares and ancient buildings, old wine caves, and small bistros serving up Coq au Vin and Beef Bourguignon*, which both originated here as peasant meals.
After we put down our bags at our charming bed and breakfast we wandered the streets. I was agasp at the beauty of the town, quickly getting out my camera like a sappy tourist to make sure I didn’t miss a perfect shot. I found an ancient church that was stunning and right next to it a wine bar named, Sin Station. We walked around feeling as if we had entered a movie set or something, finally our tummies told us we needed to find a spot for dinner and quick. We grabbed a table at a nice little restaurant and sat down to try the food and wine we’d been dreaming of for months. And it was just as perfect as our dream.
This was basically how our next couple of days here went.
During our short time in Beaune we tasted wines, went to the Saturday open market (where I picked up the most crisp and flavorful Pink Lady apple I’ve ever had), dined, and sat outside at cafes for countless hours just chatting, reading, or watching the passers-by. More than anything we rested and took it all in… the sights, sounds, and smells of an old French village. Beaune is a great destination for a short wine tasting weekend or a day or two in between your European destinations. Or if you decide to stay a bit longer you can rent bikes and bike to the surrounding villages to see more vineyards and wineries. If you like Pinot Noir or Beef Bourginon you must add this town to your traveling list.
*Coq au Vin and Beef Bourguignon were peasant dishes of this region. Perhaps some of the best places to eat them are the casual cafe/bars around town not necessarily the expensive spots.