Beaune was once home to the powerful Dukes of Burgundy and also the capital, the seat of power being later moved to Dijon. The old fortified city is now a world capital for some of the greatest wines. It is said that there are more than 100 kilometres of tunnels and wine cellars below the old streets, storing hundreds of thousands of red and white bottles of wine.
The old walled city retains some of it’s ramparts with a ring round making access to the center simple. There are many places to visit, which often revoles around the theme of wine and tasting.
Les Hospices de Beaune
The famous Hospice de Beaune was built in 1442, this is one of the highlights of the visits you can do in Beaune, the outside is not impressive, but when you enter the courtyard… Also, do not forget to visit the painting of Rogier van der Weyden.
Musee du vin, the wine museum
This half timbered building is home to the wine Museum, hidden in one of the small streets, a couple of hundred metres from the Hospice.
Wines & Vins
The famous “Vente des Vins”, is one of the worlds most important wine auctions held every year in November.
Streets and markets
In the old city centre there are fine boutiques, cheese and wine bars, cafes and terraces, markets and cobbled streets to explore around the Place Carnot.
Beaune is home to a wonderful Saturday market, with fresh fruit, vegetables, meats and other ingredients to delight your taste buds.
Events during World War 2
During World War Two, the 16th of June 1940, planes overflew the city at 8pm. There were 15 German planes with an objective which at first did not seem to be the city of Beaune, however after a first fly over it, they turned back and strafe the train station while unloading around thirty bombs which exploded. About 20 people were killed and many more wounded.
The railway station of Beaune was an important junction for the French soldiers sent on leave and thus became an easy target. It seems the army and the defenders of Beaune only had two light machine-guns and only one was able to be used during the bombing. A plane was hit during the first passage, a Junker 87B which exploded. At the second passage, another Junker was shot and collided into one of his partners. Two German pilots were buried in the garden of the company they crashed into.
Later, the German army entered the city and met a heavy resistance from the French army. The fighting lasted three hours, the French eventually retreated when more German armoured forces arrived in Beaune.