Beaune (pronounced like “bone”) is a refreshing break from the hustle and scale of Paris. Located about 30 miles south of Dijon it lies in the center of the Burgundy region which spreads across the east-central sector of France, just south and east of Paris. With a population of about 23,000, Beaune is small and compact and easily walkable. It was rainy and cold every day of my visit which limited my walking through the vineyards, but there are plenty of other activities to fill the time. Especially fun was a visit to an in-town winery which includes a tour through its below ground caves which provide the perfect temperature and atmosphere for wine storage. The tour is finished with a wine tasting of 16 different wines: 4 white and 12 red wines were available for tasting, and I was not about to skip any one. Wine tasting is the best way to get an understanding of how even slight variations in the soil and environment can effect the taste of the wine in this region. Most all the wines produced here are from Chardonnay for the white wines and Pinot Noir for the red wines, and the wines are named for where they are produced rather than for the grapes.
Saturdays in Beaune are market days, there is a large outdoor vegetable market in the morning and then an antiques market in the afternoon. Markets are always fun and are a good way to see the local residents as they go about daily life in this land of plenty.