With the commencement of the Hospices de Beaune Wine Auction and the Beaune Wine Festival this weekend, there will be an influx of more than 70,000 Burgundy wine lovers wanting to feel the beat of the region’s pulsating heart in the walled city of Beaune. While they weekend is very much focused on wine tasting, there is so much more to discover.
We asked the team the top ten things they like to do during the Beaune Wine Festival weekend, and these are the results. For those of you arriving in Beaune this weekend, we recommend that you put on your walking shoes and activity caps, and see how many of these fun events you can tick off before Monday morning ineviatably rolls around.
1. Visit A Vineyard
The focus of the Beaune Wine festival always falls on the Hôtel-Dieu and the Hospices de Beaune. They are iconic symbols of Burgundy after all. However, if you want to get away from the city center, and the 70,000 people tripping up on the cobbled streets, if only for a little while, we suggest a walk to one of Beaune’s historic vineyards. Our favorite is Les Teurons, located just behind Parc de la Bouzaize, off Rue du Faubourg Saint Martin, past Rempart des Lions. And, honestly, we’re not just saying that because we make a terrific Les Teurons chardonnay.
A Walk Among the Vines: Beaune is Burgundy’s largest appellation
Les Teurons: One of our favorite chardonnay parcels
2. Route des Grands Crus
Grab a bike and stretch your legs and spin down the Route des Grands Crus. This 60-km route is adored by Burgundy wine lovers and the best way to get to grips with how the appellations of the Côte d’Or connect. Running from Dijon south to Santenay – and right past Clos Marey-Monge – the Route des Grands Crus passes through all 30 of the Burgundy villages and millions of rows of vines that define this region. A recommendation: work up a thirst on the way to Julien’s wine bar in Puligny-Montrachet and then on the way to Beaune stop off at Château de Pommard’s Silent Auction. The perfect way to work up an appetite for wine!
Route des Grands Crus: The Vineyard Trail is a great way to see all of the Côte d’Or
3. Live Room and Silent Auction
From Friday 17th November to Sunday 19th November, Château de Pommard is hosting a Live Room and Silent Auction event, in support of the Californian wildfire relief fund, Rebuild Wine Country. The Hospices’ Live Room, located in our Tasting Room, will be live-streaming Christie’s broadcast of the Vente des Vins wine auction from Place de la Halle in Beaune. To accompany the Live Room, we will also be hosting a Silent Auction, with ten highly-prized items will be going under the (silent) hammer. Make your bid count, and find out more, here.
Week of Hospices: Château de Pommard is hosting a Live Room and a Silent Auction, November 17th – 19th, 2017
4. Beaune Appetit!
To kickstart this special weekend off in style, Beaune’s historic market is the place to go, be and stay. Dozens of stalls sell fresh produce, herbs, local cheeses, artefacts and antiques and there’s even a flea market. Located in the Place de Halle, and stretching out into Place Carnot the market is where Beaune locals and residents can be observed going about their usual business. The market is open all year, but on this Saturday 18th November, make sure you arrive early to avoid the floods of crowds who have arrived for festivities of the wine festival weekend.
Beaune Market: Tired of Grapes? Beaune market is the place to cherry-pick your favorite fresh produce
5. Watch the Wine Auction at Place de la Halle
An hour or so before Christie’s auction starts at 2 p.m. in Beaune’s Place de la Halle, the square begins to fill up with crowds eager to watch the Auction’s action on the giant screen positioned in front of the Hôtel-Dieu. From this vantage point, you will be able to see the Auction unfold as well as the crowd cheer when celebrities Charles Aznavour, Marc-Olivier Fogiel, Julie Depardieu and Agnès B. work up the bidders into an excitable frenzy for the President’s Barrel – the most cherished prize of the afternoon.
70,000: Place de la Halle is a popular place on the Sunday of the Vente des Vins auction
The Hôtel-Dieu has always been centred around the charitable deeds of those with more giving to those with less. Today, the Hospices de Beaune is famous for its Charity Wine Auction, of course, but it was on August 4, 1443, when the chancellor to Phillippe Le Bon, the Duke of Burgundy, Nicolas Rolin and his wife, Guigone de Salins, founded a hospital, the Hôtel-Dieu, to aid, feed and protect the poor, sick and needy of Burgundy, following the aftermath of the Hundred Years War. It has been maintained by the Hospices de Beaune ever since and today is a beacon of Burgundy’s proud history.
Today, no visit to Beaune is complete until visitors have experienced the self-guided tour around the Museum of the Hotel-Dieu. Behind the famous cobbled Courtyard of Honor, a veritable feast of attractions entice the eyes: the Great Hall of Pôvres, the Chapel, ancient kitchens, cellars (which houses the Hospices’ special reserve of wine sold at Vente des Vins), am apothecary and, finally, a collection of more than 5,000 artefacts, including hospital furniture, tapestries, sculptures and priceless masterpieces, such as Dutch artist Rogier van der Weyden’s world-famous polyptych, The Beaune Altarpiece.
Raise the Roof: Hôtel-Dieu is Beaune’s most popular attraction
7. Sip A Coffee
To increase your energy for the weekend’s events, or to take a rest from all the wine tastings on offer at several of the top domaines, enjoy a break at the coffee shop, Upper, just off Rue Lorraine. Upper has the best coffee in Beaune as well as the most delicious servings of cake and pastries you’ve ever tried. High praise, indeed, considering everything tastes delicious in Burgundy. The carrot cake and the chocolate cake are thoroughly recommended. With its quaint and cool laidback style and friendly staff, Upper is an ideal place to rest the legs and watch the world go by in Beaune.
Upper Cuppa: Beaune’s most popular coffee shop is now celebrating its first year
8. Pathways of Light
Lighting up the night sky with a kaleidoscope of bright colours and scenes, Beaune’s Pathway of Light has become one of the most popular evening attractions. Projected on to the sides of seven historic landmarks, a feast of scenes highlight the historical heritage of Beaune and its position as the wine capital of Burgundy. To see these remarkable visuals, start at Hôtel-Dieu, then walk around the city to Notre Dame Church, Beaune Wine Museum, Chapel of St Etienne, Porte Marie du Bourgogne, the Belfry and the Rempart des Dames. Each one has its own display of color!
Lit Up: Chapel St Etienne painted in color
9. Corkscrew Contest
10. Parc de la Bouzaize