Beaune: The Complete Guide

Complete Guide To Beaune

Nestled amidst the picturesque landscapes of the Côte d’Or department in eastern France, Beaune stands as the quintessential wine capital of Burgundy. Positioned strategically between Lyon and Dijon, this enchanting town is steeped in centuries of winemaking tradition and is celebrated as the epicenter of Burgundy’s wine production and commerce. For wine aficionados, Beaune is a veritable paradise. The town is surrounded by some of the world’s most renowned wine villages, each contributing to Burgundy’s esteemed winemaking legacy. Visitors can explore the facilities and cellars of numerous producers, both large and small, tracing a tradition that dates back to Roman times. Each year, Beaune takes center stage with the prestigious Hospices de Beaune wine auction, a highlight on France’s wine calendar. Despite its status as a magnet for wine enthusiasts from around the globe, Beaune retains its timeless allure, characterized by its narrow cobblestone streets and sunlit squares adorned with charming cafes.

Immersing oneself in Beaune’s rich history is an experience not to be missed. The town’s historic center, adorned with remnants from pre-Roman, Roman, medieval, and Renaissance periods, offers a captivating journey through time. From its ancient walls to its timber-framed buildings and vibrant, patterned roofs, Beaune exudes medieval charm at every turn. To truly immerse oneself in Burgundy’s wine culture, a visit to the Hôtel-Dieu Hospices is essential. Here, amidst the historic halls of this charitable institution, visitors can witness the renowned charity wine auction and sample the region’s finest wines. For a deeper insight into Burgundy’s winemaking heritage, a tour and tasting at Domaine Chanson offer an unforgettable experience.

In Beaune, the beauty of Burgundy’s wines is not just in the taste but also in the captivating scenery, rich history, and timeless charm that permeate every corner of this enchanting town. Whether strolling through its medieval streets or indulging in a wine tasting, a visit to Beaune promises a truly unforgettable journey into the heart of Burgundy’s wine country.

TIP: If you are visiting Beaune in search of a fine burgandy wine, to make the most of your visit, you may want to consider taking a guided tour. This is one of the most complete and best-rated wine tasting tours with a specialist to take you through the vineyards near Beaune and Nuits Saint Georges, the tour takes about 8 hours! For the more energetic, you can combine the wine tour with a bike tour around the vineyards, half day, full day or even 2 day tours are available! If you prefer walking at your own pace read our Self-Guided Walking Tour of Beaune.

History of Beaune

Beaune, has a rich and fascinating history that spans over many centuries. Here’s an overview:

  1. Ancient Origins: The area around Beaune has been inhabited since ancient times, with evidence of Celtic and Roman settlements dating back thousands of years. The Romans established vineyards in the region, laying the foundation for Burgundy’s reputation as a premier wine-producing area.
  2. Medieval Period: Beaune flourished during the medieval period, becoming an important trading hub due to its strategic location along the route between Paris and Lyon. The town became known for its bustling markets, especially for wine trade, which played a significant role in its economy.
  3. The Hundred Years’ War: Like much of France, Beaune was affected by the Hundred Years’ War between England and France in the 14th and 15th centuries. The town saw periods of conflict and occupation during this time, but it managed to maintain its importance as a commercial center.
  4. The Renaissance: Beaune experienced a period of prosperity and cultural growth during the Renaissance. Wealthy merchants and nobles constructed impressive mansions and public buildings, many of which still stand today and contribute to the town’s architectural charm.
  5. The Hospices de Beaune: One of the most famous landmarks in Beaune is the Hospices de Beaune, also known as the Hôtel-Dieu. Founded in 1443 by Nicolas Rolin, the chancellor of Burgundy, and his wife, Guigone de Salins, the Hospices de Beaune was a hospital for the poor and needy. It is renowned for its distinctive Burgundian-Flemish architecture and its colorful tiled roof. Today, it houses a museum and still operates as a charitable institution.
  6. Modern Era: Beaune continued to thrive in the modern era, despite facing challenges such as wars, revolutions, and economic fluctuations. Its wine industry remained a vital part of its identity, with Beaune becoming synonymous with Burgundy’s prestigious wines.
  7. Cultural and Touristic Center: In recent decades, Beaune has emerged as a popular destination for tourists interested in wine, history, and French culture. Its well-preserved medieval streets, historic sites, and renowned vineyards attract visitors from around the world.

Throughout its history, Beaune has evolved from a medieval trading town to a charming cultural center, while maintaining its deep connections to Burgundy’s winemaking heritage. Today, it stands as a testament to the enduring legacy of the region’s past.

Visiting Beaune for the first time and wondering what are the top places to see in the city? In this complete guide, I share the best things to do in Beaune on the first visit. To help you plan your trip, I have also included an interactive map and practical tips for visiting!

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13 Best places to See in Beaune

This complete guide to Beaune not only tells you about the very best sights and tourist attractions for first-time visitors to the city but also provide insights into a few of our personal favorite things to do.

This is a practical guide to visiting the best places to see in Beaune and is filled with tips and info that should answer all your questions!

Hospices de Beaune

Côte-d’Or - Beaune - Hospices De Beaune
CC BY-SA 4.0 / Johan Allard
The primary attraction of Beaune is the Hôtel-Dieu, a hospital established in 1443 by the chancellor of Burgundy, Nicholas Rolin. The hospital received vineyard donations from grateful former patients and their families, rapidly boosting Beaune’s prosperity as a hub of the local wine trade. The hospital features a cobblestone courtyard enclosed by a wooden gallery, […]
Location: Hôtel Dieu, Rue de l'Hôtel Dieu, Beaune, France | Hours: 30/03/24 to 17/11/24 of 09:00 to 19:30 18/11/24 to 31/12/24 of 09:00 to 12:30 - of 14:00 to 18:30 | Price: Adults: €12, Children: €5 | Website | Beaune - Private walking tour | Distance: 0.00km
Visiting Hospices de Beaune

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Athenaeum de la Vigne et du Vin

Athenaeum De La Vigne Et Du Vin
CC BY-SA 2.0 / Elliott Brown
Since its establishment in 1989, the Athenaeum has become a globally renowned bookstore specializing in oenology, boasting an extensive collection of 3,000 wine-related titles. Situated directly across from the Hospices de Beaune, the Athenaeum is not only a bookstore but also a wine cellar featuring over 1,000 different wines from Burgundy and beyond. In addition […]
Location: Athenaeum - Beaune, Rue de l'Hôtel Dieu, Beaune, France | Hours: Daily 10:00-19:00 | Website | Distance: 0.10km
Visiting Athenaeum de la Vigne et du Vin

Explore Beaune yourself with our self-guided walking tour!

Marché de Beaune

Beaune - Halle
CC BY-SA 4.0 / Marianne Casamance
Originally, Les Halles de Beaune was owned by the Dukes of Burgundy. However, following the annexation of the Duchy to the French Crown in 1477, the markets came under the ownership of the Kings of France. Historical records suggest that the “Grande Halle” or “Halle de Monsieur le Duc” might date back to the same […]
Location: Halle de Beaune, Place de la Halle, Beaune, France | Hours: Saturday 07:00 - 13:00 | Distance: 0.10km
Visiting Marché de Beaune

Collégiale Notre-Dame

Beaune - Notre-Dame
CC BY-SA 4.0 / Johan Allard
The Collegiate Church of Notre-Dame, a basilica inspired by Cluniac architecture, stands as a significant historical and religious landmark in the Burgundy region. Constructed in the twelfth century under the patronage of the Dukes of Burgundy, who held their parliament in the city, this church was dedicated to the Virgin Mary. It is now classified […]
Location: Collégiale Notre-Dame de Beaune, Place du Général Leclerc, Beaune, France | Hours: April to October: Monday-Tuesday-Wednesday-Thursday-Friday and Sunday: 2.30pm-5.30pm - except during religious ceremonies / no admission on Saturdays. | Distance: 0.20km
Visiting Collégiale Notre-Dame

Hôtel des Ducs de Bourgogne

Beaune Musée Du Vin
CC BY-SA 2.5 / Christophe.Finot
Since its installation in the Hôtel des Ducs de Bourgogne in 1946, the Burgundy Wine Museum has stood as France’s first ethnological museum dedicated exclusively to wine heritage. Situated in the heart of Beaune, the museum covers nearly 1000 m² over two levels, offering a comprehensive and engaging exploration of wine and its associated trades. […]
Location: Musée du Vin - Hôtel des Ducs de Bourgogne, Rue d'Enfer, Beaune, France | Hours: Open every day from March 29 to November 4, 2024, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. except Tuesday Ticket office closes 30 minutes before the museum | Price: €6 | Distance: 0.20km
Visiting Hôtel des Ducs de Bourgogne

Maison Du Colombier

Maison Du Colombier,Beaune
CC BY-SA 3.0 / Arnaud 25
This historical building, constructed in 1572, showcases a 16th-century medieval style, characterized by a prominent octagonal turret and watchtower. Positioned in the town’s center, it faces the Collegiate Church of Notre-Dame. On the ground floor, the building features a delightful mix of Burgundian stone, terracotta tiles, oak beams, and a series of three vaulted cellars.
Location: Maison du Colombier, Rue Charles Cloutier, Beaune, France | Hours: Monday to Friday from 6 P.M. | Distance: 0.20km
Visiting Maison Du Colombier

La Maison des Climats

Beaune-walking-tour

Location: Maison des Climats, Porte Marie de Bourgogne, Beaune, France | Hours: Open every day (except December 25, January 1 and winter Sundays) Summer (March to Oct): Monday to Sunday, 10 a.m. - 5:30 p.m. Winter (Oct to March): Monday to Saturday, 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and 2 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. | Price: Free | Website | Distance: 0.20km
Visiting La Maison des Climats

La Moutarderie Fallot (Beaune)

La Moutarderie Fallot
CC BY-SA 4.0 / Hugo4wiki
Operating since 1840, the last family-owned stone-ground mustard mill in Burgundy offers engaging tours through its mustard museum. These tours highlight the history, folklore, and traditional methods of mustard production, including interactive, child-friendly experiences where participants can hand-mill mustard seeds. Another aspect of the tour showcases Fallot’s contemporary mustard-production facilities. It’s recommended to book these […]
Location: La Moutarderie Fallot, Rue du Faubourg Bretonnière, Beaune, France | Hours: Monday: 12pm to 7pm Tuesday to Saturday: 10am to 7pm Sunday: 10am to 1pm Tours are at set imtes during the day. | Price: Adult €10.00 | Website | Distance: 0.30km
Visiting La Moutarderie Fallot (Beaune)

Tour de l'horloge de Beaune

Tour De L’horloge De Beaune
CC BY-SA 2.5 / A.C. Koelewijn
The Clock Tower, located in the heart of downtown Beaune on Rue Marey, is a magnificent belfry originally constructed in the 13th century atop the foundations of an older 12th-century structure. Known locally as the Clock Tower, this historic building was designated a historical monument on August 27, 1885. Its impressive rectangular form is crowned […]
Location: Beffroi de Beaune, Place Monge, Beaune, France | Distance: 0.30km
Visiting Tour de l'horloge de Beaune

Les Remparts de Beaune

Remparts De Beaune
CC BY-SA 4.0 / Arnaud 25
During the tumultuous year of 259, the relative security behind the limes Germanicus barrier was shattered by invasions from the Alamanni and the Franks. Easily breaching this fortified line, these groups swiftly overran Gaul from the east, and then advanced southward to Spain. By 355, the relentless incursions of these “barbarians” had wreaked widespread destruction, […]
| Hours: 24 Hours | Price: Free | Website | Distance: 0.40km
Visiting Les Remparts de Beaune

Sainte-Trinité de Beaune Hospital

Beaune Hospice De La Charité Extérieur
CC BY-SA 4.0 / GO69
The Sainte-Trinité Hospital, also known as the Hospice de la Charité de Beaune, is a historical former hospital located at 3 rue Rousseau Deslandes and 20 rue Marie Favart in Beaune. Constructed in 1645 by Antoine Rousseau and Barbe Deslandes, it has undergone numerous modifications and expansions over the centuries. On December 12, 1975, the […]
Location: 3 Rue Rousseau Deslandes, 21200 Beaune, France | Distance: 0.40km
Visiting Sainte-Trinité de Beaune Hospital

Hôtel de Ville, Beaune

Beaune Hotel De Ville
CC BY-SA 2.0 / ~Pyb
In 1626, the Ursuline sisters from Autun, part of a congregation founded in Paris in 1611 with a teaching mission, decided to establish a presence in Beaune. They acquired the hotels of Bernard de Montessus and Damas de Marcilly, which they transformed into their convent. The foundation stone of the convent church was laid on […]
Location: Hôtel de Ville de Beaune, Rue de l'Hôtel de ville, Beaune, France | Distance: 0.50km
Visiting Hôtel de Ville, Beaune

Porte Saint Nicolas, Beaune

Beaune Porte Saint-Nicolas
CC BY-SA 3.0 / GFreihalter
The historic Porte du Bourgneuf in Beaune, is an old fortified gate complete with a drawbridge, has been the entry point for numerous distinguished guests throughout its history. Notable visits include Henry II with Catherine de Medici in 1548, who were greeted by canons under a freshly painted triumphal arch accompanied by tambourine music. Charles […]
Location: Porte Saint-Nicolas, Rue de Lorraine, Beaune, France | Hours: 24 Hours | Price: Free | Distance: 0.60km
Visiting Porte Saint Nicolas, Beaune

Best Time to Visit Beaune

The best time to visit Beaune largely depends on what you want to experience during your trip. Each season offers a unique charm and set of activities:

  1. Summer (July and August): This is a great time if you enjoy warm weather and outdoor activities. You can rent bikes and explore the scenic vineyards and the countryside. The town is vibrant, with many tourists and numerous wine-related events.
  2. Autumn (September to November): Autumn is particularly special in Beaune due to the grape harvest season. The vineyards transform into stunning shades of gold and russet. It’s also an excellent time for wine enthusiasts to experience the bustling activity in the vineyards and perhaps participate in wine tastings and festivals, including the famous Hospices de Beaune wine auction in November.
  3. Winter (December to February): Winter is quieter but no less charming, with fewer tourists. This season is ideal for visiting wineries and enjoying wine tastings in a more intimate setting. The cold weather makes the cozy wine cellars particularly inviting.
  4. Spring (March to June): Spring is a lovely time as the vineyards burst into life with new growth, and the weather is generally mild. It’s less crowded than summer and a beautiful season for enjoying the fresh air and verdant landscapes.

Each season offers a distinct experience, so the best time to visit Beaune really depends on your personal interests and what you hope to get out of the trip. If you are a wine lover, planning your visit during the harvest season or for specific wine events would be ideal.

Average Temperatures in Beaune

  • January 9°C 9
  • February 11°C 9
  • March 14°C 8
  • April 19°C 9
  • May 23°C 12
  • June 27°C 11
  • July 30°C 9
  • August 31°C 8
  • September 27°C 9
  • October 21°C 11
  • November 12°C 13
  • December 10°C 12

How to get to Beaune

Getting to Beaune, a charming town in the Burgundy region of France, is quite straightforward whether you’re traveling from within France or internationally. Here are some of the main options:

By Train

Beaune is well-connected by train, which is one of the most convenient ways to reach the town:

  • From Paris: Direct trains from Paris Gare de Lyon to Beaune take about 2 hours. There are also options that require a quick change at Dijon, which might add a little extra travel time.
  • From Lyon: Direct regional trains from Lyon to Beaune take approximately 1.5 to 2 hours.
  • From Dijon: Regular regional trains connect Dijon to Beaune, with the journey taking about 20-30 minutes.

By Car

Driving to Beaune offers the flexibility of exploring the surrounding wine regions at your own pace:

  • From Paris: The drive from Paris to Beaune is around 3 hours via the A6 motorway.
  • From Lyon: From Lyon, it takes about 1.5 hours to drive to Beaune, also via the A6.
  • From Geneva: It takes about 2.5 hours to drive from Geneva, Switzerland to Beaune, mostly on motorways.

By Air

While Beaune does not have its own airport, it is accessible via several nearby airports:

  • Dijon Bourgogne Airport: Located about 45 minutes north of Beaune, but with limited flights.
  • Lyon-Saint Exupéry Airport: A major international airport about 1.5 hours away by car. You can also take a train from Lyon to Beaune.
  • Paris Airports (Charles de Gaulle and Orly): You can fly into Paris and then take a high-speed train (TGV) from Paris Gare de Lyon to Beaune.

By Bus

Bus services may be available, particularly from Dijon, but are generally less convenient than trains due to the frequency and speed of service.

Overall, train travel is typically the most efficient and relaxing way to get to Beaune, especially if you are coming from major cities like Paris or Lyon. However, if you plan to explore more extensively in the Burgundy region, driving might be the better option for greater mobility.