Located 162 miles (260 kilometers) southeast of Paris, the charming, medieval town of Beaune is regarded as the capital of the Burgundy wine region. Visitors use Beaune as a jumping-off point to discover some of the world’s most heralded wineries. If you have just one day in town—or are visiting from Paris or Dijon—here’s how to explore.
Small but mighty, Beaune is replete with charm—and, thanks to its proximity to the Côte d’Or, is considered one of the best places to indulge in winery visits and wine tastings in all of France. Before you get to sipping, acquaint yourself with walkable Beaune with a stroll around town; look out for its old city walls as you go. The majestic Hôtel-Dieu des Hospices, a former hospital that dates to the 15th century, is recognizable for its multicolored roof tiles, while Notre-Dame de Beaune and the Beaune Town Hall offer further sightseeing opportunities. You can also drop into the Maison des Climats for an introduction to the region’s winemaking traditions.
Wine is Beaune’s raison d’être, and no visit to the Burgundian town is complete without taking advantage of its vinous plenty. If you’re short on time, single-winery tours and curated tastings offer the perfect introduction to the region. For a more lengthy excursion, travel by car or by bike to the major Côte de Nuits and Côte de Beaune wine areas. Discover the region’s distinctive climats (wine plots), visit its heralded domaines (vineyards), and venture to its famed communes (including the likes of Meursault, Pommard, and Nuits-Saint-Georges). Pinot noir and chardonnay are the two major grapes of this region, and you’d be wise to taste widely while at the source. Pick a tour with a lunch option to fortify you for your sampling adventures.
Beaune and the surrounding Burgundy countryside are famed for their extraordinary beauty, and there are few better ways to soak up the scenery—and cap off your day’s adventures—than with a sunset hot-air-balloon ride. As you float gently above the tree line, you can enjoy panoramic views of the region’s vineyards, châteaux, and medieval villages. Upon returning to earth, toast your aerial excursion with one final flute of sparkling wine before returning to your accommodations (or making the journey back to Paris or Dijon).