Design Destination: BeauneAuthor:Annette Hanami
All Maison du Colombier images by Flore Deronzier; all La Maison Blanche images by Pascal Reydet
Central to the famed Cote d’Or vineyards in Burgundy – or Bourgogne as it’s called – Beaune is city living in the country at its most urbain. It’s a charming walking town with cobblestone streets, large squares and old buildings whose architecture still reflects the splendor of the reign of the Dukes of Burgundy during the Middle Ages. Today, these historic buildings still emanate the spirit of fine living but with a decidely modern look, and flair. Delicious, authentic food and wine are everywhere, stylish digs beckon and the centuries-old single vineyards of the Cote d’Or, recently recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, are but a short drive away. Yes, I could definitely live here but for now, Beaune is the perfect place to stay while exploring the home to the original Chardonnay and Pinot Noir wines.
Maison du Colombier is an impressive 16th century castle conveniently set in the heart of the historic center. Chef-Proprietor Roland Chanliaud and Francoise Vial passionately renovated this landmark into a popular gastro bar with five urban pied-a-terres that just exude with ambiance and energy.
All five apartments are accessible via a spiral stone stairway in the hexagonal turret of the castle, leading to distinctly unique spaces designed by Chanliaud himself, artfully combining the historic stonework and exposed beams with a modern look and monochromatic palette.
All the pieds-a-terre have fully equipped kitchenettes, wifi and modern bathrooms.
Chanliaud’s dishes at the restaurant are just as creative as the look. After 20 years with a local Michelin star restaurant, Chanliaud turns his passions to a more casual but just as delicious format. Capitalizing on his years of relationships with local vintners, the wine list here is impressive in range and they also serve wines by the glass. Maison du Colombier, 1, rue Charles Cloutier, Beaune
For a more elegant and serene place to stay, we love La Maison Blanche, also conveniently situated in the historic center. It’s an urban b+b with three spacious, light-filled rooms. On the main level is an open living and dining area with a fully-equipped kitchen. Downstairs, an historic wine cave with arched columns inspire wine-tasting from the maison’s collection or from local vintners. La Maison Blanche feels like a residence and would be ideal for families or friends to rent out the entire house.
Owner Nadine Belissant-Reydet decorated the spaces with a clean, airy touch. The rooms are open with high ceilings, and the baths are also modern and spacious.
A world traveler herself, Belissant-Reydet can recommend the best places to dine or visit in Bourgogne, as well as arrange any type of activity or service depending on the guests’ needs.
We love the “dormitory” on the top floor. Inspired by the famous Hospices de Beaune hospital beds, this room would be ideal for family groups or girlfriends’ trips, but it can also be rented out to a couple. La Maison Blanche, 4, rue des Tonneliers, Beaune
Jambon Persille, Beef Bourguinonne, Coq au Vin, escargots. These are just some of the classic Burgundian dishes to order while in Beaune at the many classic bistros, or savor elevated cuisine at the Michelin starred restaurants. My choices are the modern casual such as the intimate Caves Madeleine, Ma Cuisine or the tiny La Lune.
We love the diversity of foodie experiences in Beaune, starting with the local indoor/outdoor markets on Saturday mornings where you’ll discover distinctly Bourgogne products such as Bresse chicken, Epoisses and Abbaye de Citeaux cheeses, as well as the most seasonal produce – in March, white asparagus, morels and truffles. On the outskirts of the main fresh goods market, browse the brocantes and merchandise stalls. Les Halles, Place de la Halle, Place Fleury
Bourgogne is known for mustard and La Moutarderie Fallot is based right in Beaune. They offer unique visitor experiences that end with a tasting of a range of flavorful and spicier mustards that you won’t find in the US. Other area specialties include gingerbread which you can find at the charming shop Mulot & PetitJean, and blackcurrant-cassis products found at Vedrennes. For cheese lovers who want explore a richness of local cheeses, visit fromagerie Alain Hess.
Wine lovers won’t have to leave Beaune to explore the 150-mile span of the Bourgogne wine region with the many wine tasting options in eateries, wine retailers and wine bars.
Beaune is also home to some of the traditional wine merchants, who offer tastings from their own portfolio. For example, Domaine Joseph Drouhin offers tours three times a day of their historic cellars including a tasting six village-level and premier cru white and red wines. Depending on the day, you may be treated to older vintage wines, such as the 1996 Beaune 1er Cru Clos de Mouches recently part of the line-up. They also offer special seasonal pairings and trips. Maison Joseph Drouhin, Place General Leclerc, Beaune