Burgundy’s wine capital
www.beaune-tourisme.fr. The wine capital of Burgundy, Beaune is a somewhat smug provincial town dedicated to the pursuit of tourists’ cash. For all that, it has several redeeming features within the old town walls, principally the Hôtel-Dieu. Founded in 1450 by the Chancellor of Burgundy, Nicolas Rolin, this Gothic beauty served as a hospital right up until the 1970s. From the cobbled Cour d’Honneur, there is a dazzling view of multi-coloured roof tiles, gables and turrets. Tours visit the wards and a small museum with a beautiful polyptych of the Last Judgement by Roger van der Weyden.
Other diversions in town include the illuminating Musée du Vin de Bourgogne, the 12thC Eglise de Notre-Dame, its Romanesque chancel decorated with fine 15thC tapestries; and the 14thC Tour de I’Horloge.
The tourist office has details of wine tours, châteaux visits and tourist circuits in the Côte d’Or. Bicycles can be hired from Butterfield & Robinson, 5 rue Citeaux www.butterfield.com; and for a bird’s-eye view of the region and its roof tops, Air Escargot www.air-escargot.com, fly year-round in good weather.