The capital of the Burgundy wine country, Beaune is one of the best-preserved medieval cities in Burgundy. Until the 15th century, Beaune was the residence of the Dukes of Burgundy. France eventually took the town from the Burgundians in 1477 after the Duchy was annexed by Louis XI following Charles the Bold’s death.
First a Gallic sanctuary and then a Roman town, Beaune is now a mecca for wine lovers. This thriving town is surrounded by ramparts and has a labyrinth of caves (wine cellars). During its three-day festival and wine auction in November, free wine-tastings draw huge crowds, many of whom arrive thirsty and leave satisfied, albeit a little tipsy!
The Hôtel-Dieu, a charity hospital funded by the sale of wines produced on lands donated by its benefactors, was, until 1971, a working hospital. It had been constructed originally to provide free care for men who had fought in the Hundred Years’ War. Today, the Musée de l’Hôtel-Dieu displays Flemish-Burgundian art and the Grand Salle, at 165 feet long, is a showpiece to display its original furniture.
Its roof tiles, which have become world-renowned, are polychromatic in the Burgundian-style and date from the Renaissance.