16 must-do things in Beaune

basilique Notre-Dame

Planning a vacation in Burgundy? Discover all the must-sees when visiting Beaune.

Beaune, the capital of Burgundy wines, is a city dedicated to the art of living. Situated in the heart of the vineyards, it hides within its ramparts a host of delicious restaurants and first-rate wine cellars. But Beaune is also home to a remarkable heritage, which will delight history buffs visiting the Côte-d’Or.

While two million visitors flock to Beaune every year for its wines, the town has many other gems to offer. So, what’s there to do in Beaune? We’ve put together a list of the main things to see and do in Beaune.

1. Visit the Hospices

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With its singular architecture and roof covered with a mosaic of glazed tiles, Beaune’s Hôtel-Dieu is a true emblem of Burgundy. Built in the 15th century, it was originally intended to house and care for the destitute. Today, the Hospices de Beaune institution combines the former hospice, now a museum, with a modern hospital center. More surprisingly, the institution also owns a large and prestigious vineyard!

A visit to the Hôtel-Dieu is like a journey through time, revealing different facets of care from the 15th to the 20th century. Above all, its typical architecture is a real jewel, to the extent that its cloister is a Unesco World Heritage Site. What’s more, the site is home to numerous works of art bequeathed by wealthy benefactors. All in all, if there’s one thing you should do in Beaune, this is it!

2. Taste regional wines

Visiter Beaune

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Burgundy wine is, of course, Beaune’s other treasure, and you’ll be hard pressed to miss out on a tasting during your stay. You’ll be spoilt for choice.

For example, you can visit the wine market, but also specialized cellars, such as the famous Patriarche cellars. Of course, you can also taste the wines directly on the estates where they are produced around the city.

3. Stroll through the historic center

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Did you know that the earliest known mention of the name Beaune dates back to the 7th century? The town’s long and rich history has left it with a rich heritage. This can be seen as you stroll through the cobbled streets of the historic center. Admire the facades and push open the doors of the monuments, as well as the small independent boutiques in the area.

4. Walking the ramparts

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The historic heart of the town is surrounded by a rampart, the first traces of which date back to Gallo-Roman times. Modified, rebuilt and added to many times over, these ramparts offer a wealth of historical evidence. Today, you can explore them on foot, taking in 17 remarkable sites.

These include the Château de Beaune, numerous towers and a large washhouse. Without a doubt, the ramparts are one of Beaune’s most remarkable attractions, and a visit not to be missed!

5. Visit the Musée des vins de Bourgogne and the Maison des Climats

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Tasting Burgundy wine is one thing. But learning the secrets of its production is even better! Beaune generously shares this ancestral knowledge in two museums that are well worth a visit.

The first is the Musée des Vins de Bourgogne. In this ethnological museum dedicated to Burgundy’s winegrowing heritage, you’ll discover the history of vine cultivation and the associated trades and methods. As for the Maison des Climats, it highlights the specific characteristics of Burgundy’s terroir by revealing the secrets of the climats, the ancestral plots of land now classified by UNESCO.

6. Discover Fallot mustard

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Another great product of the Burgundy terroir, mustard is also honored in Beaune. And behind-the-scenes mustard production is revealed at the Fallot mustard factory, a veritable local institution. Founded in 1840, it is today the last independent, family-run mustard factory in Burgundy. The museum tour will enthrall young and old alike, who can then treat themselves in the boutique-atelier.

7. Admire the Lumières de Beaune in summer

festival des Lumières

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Lyon’ s Festival of Lights has been emulated, and Beaune now offers its own Festival of Lights every summer. It features seven illuminated scenographies projected onto the town’s most emblematic monuments. The light show is a poetic way to discover Beaune’s heritage.

8. Boating at Bouzaize Park

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Parc de la Bouzaize is the town’s green lung, where locals and visitors alike relax all year round. This beautiful 5-hectare English garden was founded in 1883 and is now a listed site. At its center is a lake where you can take a boat ride. A romantic getaway for lovers visiting Beaune.

9. Hot-air ballooning over the vineyards

vignobles en montgolfière

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If you’re looking for an even more romantic experience during your stay in Beaune, this is the must-do activity. Just imagine: endless vineyard landscapes caressed by golden light; and you, flying over this lovely scenery in a hot-air balloon. What more could you want?

10. Admire Notre-Dame Basilica

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One of Beaune’s must-see monuments is the Basilique Notre-Dame. Built in the 12th century in Romanesque style, this remarkable collegiate church is listed as a historic monument. As well as its beautiful architecture, it’s also worth a visit for the superb tapestries it houses.

11. Go to the market at Place de la Halle

marché de la place de la Halle

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Place des Halles is the historical epicenter of Beaune and the life of its inhabitants. Even today, it hosts a large market every Saturday morning. Colorful stalls are displayed both under the Halles and in the neighboring squares. In summer, this food market is complemented by a flea market held on the Place Carnot.

12. Burgundy gastronomy

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Burgundy is a land of refined living, both in terms of wine and gastronomy. Beaune is one of the proudest emblems of this terroir, and offers an exceptional concentration of fine restaurants.

You can sample all the local specialities, from bœuf bourguignon to coq au vin, eggs en meurette, gougères, snails and gingerbread. The region is also at the cutting edge when it comes to cheeses, with some thirty varieties, often full-bodied, including Epoisses and Chaource.

13. Climb the belfry

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Take a trip up to the Beaune belfry. Built between the 12th and 14th centuries, this square tower topped by a spire is one of Beaune’s historic landmarks. Today, the first three floors of the tower can be visited with a guide, subject to prior booking. What better way to take a trip back in time to Beaune!

14. Cycling the Voie des Vignes

Voie des Vignes à vélo

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How about escaping the heart of the city for a bike ride? The Voie des Vignes is a cycle route that crosses Burgundy from north to south, passing through Beaune. To the delight of epicurean cyclists, it follows the route of the Grands Crus and winds its way through the beautiful vineyard landscapes. From Beaune, you’ll need to pedal 46 kilometers to Dijon in the north, or 22 kilometers to Santenay in the south.

15. Hiking from Beaune

randonnée Beaune

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If you prefer walking to cycling, there’s plenty of opportunity to explore Beaune’s surroundings. Indeed, the town is the starting point for numerous hiking trails. These take you to the heart of the vineyards, but also to the surrounding hills, forests and villages. In particular, we recommend a tour of the Montagne de Beaune, which takes you through the vineyards of Beaune’s Premier Crus.

16. Explore the Beaune area

Côte-d’Or

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There’s plenty to do in Beaune, and the town itself is well worth a visit. But it’s also an ideal starting point for exploring one of the prettiest parts of France by road. Indeed, the Côte-d’Or offers beautiful landscapes shaped by vineyards, but also numerous sites of interest.

A host of abbeys and châteaux, some of them wine estates, make up its heritage, which we encourage you to take the time to discover from Beaune. The most important of these is undoubtedly the famous Cluny Abbey, just over an hour from the town.

How to get to Beaune

Beaune is served by several freeways and train lines. Beaune’s train station is 2 hours 15 minutes from Paris, with a connection to Dijon, as well as 1 hour 45 minutes from Mulhouse and 1 hour 40 minutes from Lyon.

For travelers from afar, the nearest international airports are in Lyon, Geneva and Basel. To find the flight that’s right for you, we recommend using a flight comparator like Skyscanner.

Where to stay in Beaune?

The best option for an effortless visit to Beaune is to stay in the historic center, close to the main attractions. Here you’ll find a good choice of hotels. You can use a hotel comparator to find the perfect place for you.

If you’re looking for more intimate comfort and to create a close relationship with the locals, there are plenty of charming Airbnb rentals available in Beaune. You’re sure to have unforgettable memories of your stay in Beaune!

Map of hotels and accommodation – Bourgogne-Franche-Comté