Burgundy: Where Tradition and Modernity MergeAuthor:Annette Hanami
From the restoration of historic buildings and monuments, farming of vineyards and crafting of wine, the Bourguignons use a respectful approach that preserves the timelessness and authenticity of their craft.
From Healing to Hospitality: The Léproserie of Meursault All photography by Martin Argyroglo
Originally built in the 12th century by the Duke of Burgundy as a hospital for the poor, the Léproserie had by modern times fallen into ruins. The municipality of Meursault hired Frederic Jung and Simon Buri to restore and re-imagine the former hospital as a communal gathering place for events and tourism, and to revive the region’s rich architectural heritage.
The original gatehouse, great hall of the poor and chapel were restored and contemporary, zinc-clad wings added to the original footprint, creating an outdoor enclosure. This modern-day “cloister” recalls the peace and shelter it once provided as a central, covered part of the hospital as uncovered by archaeologists.
Jung mirrored the simplicity of the historic section with the contemporary building in their height, volume and angles, and organic materials. The textured, light gray Azengar® zinc shell, a new alloy produced by VMZ, will continue to harmonize with the adjacent Burgundy stone as it gains a natural patina over time.
In the historic section, existing openings were enlarged to allow more natural light, and a sense of calm. Guided tours of the Léproserie de Meursault are available by appointment through the Beaune Tourism Office.
Classic Quarters: Maison des Courtines in Beaune
As the historic capital of Burgundy, Beaune is a beautiful walking town with elegant architecture. To immerse yourself in the rich culture, live like a local. Maison des Courtines is a former 17th century mansion with eight stylish self-catering apartments in an excellent, quiet location in the historic center within easy walking distance to the best shops, markets, restaurants and tasting rooms.
The accommodations range from cozy studios with microwave and mini-fridge to fully equipped 1, 2, and 3 bedroom apartments. The Maison has all the charm of an older residence, the tall ceilings and windows, wide staircases, original tile and wood floors, and exposed beams on the highest floor where my favorite rooms are.
The owners or host are happy to attend to any needs and recommend and book activities for guests. In many ways, Maison des Courtines feels like a home.
A Modern Tasting Room for a Venerable Producer at Bouchard Pere et Fils
The fresh new visitors center of Bouchard Pere et Fils in Beaune stands in lively contrast with its historic location, the Chateau de Beaune, a 15th century fortress whose remaining ramparts and towers are a defining architectural feature of Beaune’s historic center. Its thick walls and deep cellars created the perfect storage for wines and today its holds the largest collection of old Burgundy in the world.
Visiting Bouchard Pere et Fils is a must firstly because of the outstanding quality of its wines, but also because it is a microcosm of Burgundy: in history at the Chateau de Beaune, in a heritage spanning three centuries and in the expanse of wines as the largest vineyard owner in the Cote d’Or with 130 hectares, two-thirds of which are 1ers Crus and Grands Crus. They currently offer two experiences that include an historic tour of the cellars and a tasting of eight curated red and white wines – the Maestro which covers a broader range of wines while the Virtuoso focuses on 1ers Crus and Grands Crus. For existing lovers of Bourchard Pere et Fils, it’s an opportunity to know the existing wines they buy in the US a little better, but more likely to discover new wines – small production, monopole or even older vintage wines. To schedule a visit, check the website.
Before Venturing Out to the Vineyards: Visit the Maison des Climats
All photography by Michel Joly
Since the Middle Ages, Burgundy has been built on a mosaic of small, very unique plots of vines called climats, their single vineyard names, boundaries and soulful wines telling the rich social and cultural story of the region over millenia. This heritage was formally recognized in 2015 by UNESCO when designating the Climats de Bourgogne as a World Heritage Site. Wine lovers will gain a deeper appreciation of the vineyards they visit and wines they taste by first stopping by the Maison des Climats in Beaune.
This new interactive exhibit includes a central, 30-foot-long model of the Cote d’Or which comes alive when guests view it through a tablet. In a few clicks, guests can explore the detailed history, individual climats and complex soils of the famed region. The entire digital library includes even more information including video interviews by specialists.
June 8 through July 8 is “Climats Month” which will celebrate the 3rd anniversary of UNESCO designation with ove 50 events such as guided tours, exhibitions and wine tastings, the highlight being the actual July 4 anniversary. Check the website for details and to plan your trip.