It’s only been two weeks since our trip to France, but it already feels like it was ages ago! Until of course, when I reach into my coat pocket and find that lingering Paris Metro stub, or when I start to lace my shoes at the gym and notice that they are still covered in the dirt from the vineyards! I wish I could go back right now! ;)
In addition to our time in Paris, we also included a couple of days in the Burgundy wine region, after I read about it in Oliver’s France. Today, I want to share some pictures of our fabulous time in the dreamy little town of Beaune. With less than 25,000 residents, it truly is the opposite of the city of lights. In fact, when we got off the train at Gare de Beaune and walked to our hotel just a few minutes away, I kept feeling like I was in some kind of film set (like the Truman Show) designed to reflect the perfectly quaint French village with giggling kids, glowing storefronts, and the smell of bread permeating the crisp fall air.
Beaune is about 312 km (or roughly 194 miles) from Paris. The TGV high speed train gets you there in just over 2-hours, or you can take the local TRE train which takes about 3.5 hours. If you book a month or two in advance you can get really cheap round-trip tickets under 50 euros each. (I would recommend using seat61 for research and Trainline for booking). The scenery is amazing (I shared a snippet on my Instagram) and makes for perfect fantasizing about which little village you want to make your permanent home! =)
Once in Beaune, the town is so small that you can just walk everywhere! A car is absolutely not necessary. Bike rentals are easy to come by too if you fancy to spend some time on two wheels.
We stayed at the ibis Styles in central Beaune (there is another ibis further away from the center, although the town is so small, I don’t think the distance matters). It is a perfectly adequate hotel with everything you would need including a hot breakfast and lots of amenities for the kids (if you are traveling with yours). I LOVED the convenience of it all!
Later, when we were walking around town, I of course, kept an eye out for the fancy digs (ha!) and have added Hostellerie Le Cedre and Les Chambres de l’Imprimerie as possible options to check out for next time.
Like any good French town, Beaune has an incredible selection of bakeries, bistros, cafes, and restaurants. The ones we loved included La Dillettante, Le Caveau des Arches, and Upper Coffee Shop.
In general, the cobblestoned streets all around town are lined with places where one can sit, and grab a coffee, or a bite to eat. There are plenty of squares where kids can play as parents eat. It is really all very easy and convenient.
BIKE AND WINE
This is wine country after all, and where would we be if we didn’t partake in a bit of wine tasting and touring. Fall in Beaune is usually considered off season, so there is no waiting or rushing when it comes to wine tastings. On the flip side, it also means that some of the smaller wineries are closed for visitors. In our two night, two day stay, we did not run out of places to taste wine however, so I still think this is a wonderful time to visit!
At first we thought about signing up for an official wine tour using one of the local and highly recommended tour company, Authentica. By some miracle though, once we were in Beaune, I convinced Devang to just rent bikes and go about it ourselves! There were three reasons for my decision. First, it allowed the flexibility to stop and go as we please (very important when you are as obsessed as me about taking pictures). Second, our train back to Paris was at a weird time making it impossible to stick around for a full day tour. Third, it was so much cheaper!
We rented our bikes from possibly the nicest bike rental company in all of France – Evasion. For 20 euros each we had our bikes and we followed the trail right from their door step. It was utterly breathtaking, even though it was cold and foggy. Vines as far as the eyes could see. I haven’t experienced anything quite like this. We passed workers tending their vines or fixing fences, and beautiful sleepy towns that seemed untouched by the new century. You can find out more about the wine trail at this wonderful site organized by the Beaune Tourism department. This was one of my most favorite things during our whole trip! We also went for wine tasting at Bouchard Pere & Fils in central Beaune, and would highly recommend it.
While in Beaune, we basically did what we always do – Walk around – a lot! Inevitably in a small town like this, we passed everything we needed to see. But if you are looking for must see attractions, here is a great resource, again, from the Beaune Tourism office.
BEAUNE WITH KIDS
Beaune is a PERFECT place to vacation with the kids! Unlike Paris where one needs to plan and navigate an outing, in Beaune, all you do is step out the front door and voila! All you need are your two feet. It is sleepy, it is quaint, it is wonderfully old fashioned. I say, rent a house, bring the grandparents, and have a great family vacation!
I hope you enjoyed reading this post and hope that you bookmark it as you plan your trip to Beaune too! And now for more pictures….
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