HIGHER, THE BETTER VIEW!
From our vantage point, you will have a fantastic view of the city embedded in its river valley guarded by its vineyards that have made it so famous.
From here, it will be fun to locate its most emblematic monument, Los Hospicios, for its colourful var-nished roof. Perhaps on a sunny day, its flash will reveal it away. Imagine the transfer of all the patients in their last year of life to the new hospital, located on the northeast side. They are the blue buildings.
You may prefer to guess which patches are occupied by Chardonnay vines for white wine or which patches are occupied with Pinot noir for reds. A hint: in autumn, Chardonnay leaves turn from green to golden yel-low and Pinot noir leaves from green to coppery red.
An indicative chart will provide you with valuable information about the city of Beaune, the capital of Burgundy wines.
At our back is the Virgin of Liberation, an imposing statue of the Virgin with the Child in her arm erected in homage to "All our liberators in memory of all those who gave their blood for France" after the city´s liberation the Second World War.
These troops had landed this time in Provence, entirely made up of French troops. A month later, they would reach Burgundy.
When the Allied forces reached the city gates, they encountered strong resistance from the Germans who had anti-armoured defences. The French were ambushed to lose a tank and had some human casualties.
The fighting lasted all night, and it was not until the following morning that the French forces, including a group of maquis, entered Beaune victoriously.
A street in the city remembers the day of that remarkable feat: "Avenue du Huit Septembre 1944".
The path that leads to the panoramic point begins from the Parc de Bouzaise (see our tip n. 5). Indicated with "Montagne de Beaune" banners and marked in yellow, it begins by crossing the vineyards that pro-duce the famous "Còte de Beaune".
Montagne de Beaune/Notre-Dame de Beaune
Rue François Vaillant. Beaune
LOCAL KITCHEN EMBLEM
The local gastronomy is so rich and varied that it is challenging to choose one dish or another. All the dishes are very elaborate with its abundant products of the land, fruits of its generosity and tradition. We will opt for a delicious and tender dish, also highly appreciated throughout the country.
This is the "Bœuf Bourguignon", a stew that owes its name to the two main ingredients, two products deeply rooted in Burgundy: beef and Burgundy red wine, all stewed with bits of bacon, garlic, carrots, onions without missing a bouquet garni, an essential condiment in French cuisine. It is a bouquet of aromatic herbs tied with a string used in many meat stews and soups and broths.
This bunch of herbs is usually removed from the hash before serving.
Burgundy is known for raising cattle, specifically the cattle of the famous "Charolaise" breed, a large specimen with creamy-white fur, appreciated for its low-fat meat and good taste quality.
The Charolese cow was used as a pack animal due to its robustness and being a docile and rustic animal. Still, with the advent of mechanization, they were no longer crossed for fieldwork, and their meat began to be commercialized. Today, it is the first lactating breed in France and Europe.
As for wine, a local one such as the "Côte de Beaune" is used within its great variety and excellence.
Initially, it was the favourite dish of the peasants on holidays until it became a traditional dish on Sundays which was eaten as a family. It is a dish that is served very hot and with a lot of consistency.
The meat cut into cubes is cooked over low heat and slowly for three to four hours with the vegetables in wine, to which a little flour is made to thicken the brown sauce. During cooking, the firm-textured meat collagen melts, resulting in more gelatinous and delicate.
The ideal garnish for this dish is boiled potatoes and even fettuccine-type pasta.
You will find Boeuf Bourguignon in any restaurant in the city as it is an emblematic dish of the local gas-tronomy.
THE TRUE AND AUTHENTIC SAUCE!
Dijon Mustard is known for its robust and spicy flavour. The French love it so much that they add it to vinaigrette sauce and mayonnaise to intensify its flavour. It is the ideal complement for meats or even cheese.
With its characteristic yellow colour, Mustard is native to the Burgundy-Frankish County region to which Beaume belongs and is protected with Controlled Origin Appeal.
Its main ingredients are the black mustard plant grains that give the sauce its name, vinegar, salt, citric acid, and water. However, its primary raw material, Mustard, is not produced entirely in the region or the country. Most of it comes from Canada and, to a lesser extent, from Eastern Europe.
That is why its AOC corresponds more to a manufacturing method. There is also Mustard with a protected Geographical Indica-tion such as Burgundy Mustard, a variety of Dijon mustard where its raw material is produced and grown locally.
Although the producers´ corporation was in Dijon, later it went to Beaune, where 33 master craftsmen were counted.
The name of Mustard, "moutarde" in French, could come from the motto of the powerful Dukes of Bur-gundy ", Moult Me Tarde", which would mean, "many await me", in the old dialect. To aid the King of France, they financed an army with a tax on the prosperous producers of the mustard plant.
Returning vic-torious, in gratitude and compensation, he named them "Moutardier", producers of moutarde.
The President of the United States, Barack Obama, expressed his desire to try the famous Mustard.
The mayor of the city of Dijon sent him Mustard along with a letter that said: "I am pleased to send you a selec-tion of our Dijon Mustard, the fruit of a long tradition and a unique savoir-faire in the world that is essen-tial mustard but from Dijon". "Our fellow citizens are touched and proud to contribute the taste of our local product that contributes to the international reputation of our mustard."
Dijon mustard always comes in a glass jar and can be bought in any supermarket.
The Burgundy Wine Museum is a medieval building that belonged to the Dukes of Burgundy, a facility that you cannot stop photographing. It is a mixture of farmhouse and castle that served as the residence of the noble house and later housed the Parliament of Burgundy.
Despite not being very large, this building partly symbolizes the greatness of the old feudal state that came to occupy part of the eastern part of present-day France and the Netherlands at its territorial peak.
The building dates from the end of the 15th century and the beginning of the 16th century, being a typical construction of the half-timbered period, with galleries in the same material and a small octagonal tower.
As a historical comment, this building would end up inherited by Emperor Carlos V and, therefore, the Kingdom of Spain. Carlos I of Spain and V of Germany was the son of Juana de Castilla and Felip, the Beautiful. They had inherited it from his mother Maria of Burgundy, married to Maximiliano de Austria.
Although the Duchy of Burgundy would be linked to France, they were not always friends and allies since both were constantly at odds over territorial and political ambitions. It must be remembered that during the Hundred Years War that faced France against England, Burgundy allied with England, and they captured Joan of Arc, who would end up being tried by a religious court.
The historic building is home to the Burgundy Wine Museum, the first eco-museum in France. Burgundy wine is world-famous. Its vineyard, classified with Controlled Origin Appeal, extends over an area of 250 km. from north to south, producing 200 million bottles. Its geographical wine denomination is registered in the World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
Historically and to this day, the white "Burgundy" has predominated. But there are also excellent red wines in this region, and it seems that it was thanks to the Popes that lived in Avignon that these red wines began to be produced. To satisfy the Pontiffs of Avignon, the Cistercian monks treated them with a unique prod-uct in their honour, a red wine from Beaune. The role played by the papal court in this new change in taste for red wine was essential. The great waterways facilitated their arrival at the papal palace of Avignon, which was practically on the bank of the Rhone.
The Duke of Burgundy knew how to dazzle the Pope by giving him some boxes of red wines of Beaune, and thus he knew that he always had his favour.
The museum houses collections related to the history of the vine and wine, from ancient times to the pre-sent day.
Hotel des Ducs de Bourgogne
Rue d´Enfer/ rue Paradis. Beaune
Open every day except Tuesday from 10h to 13h and 14h to 18h
Entrance fee 5 €
GUNPOWDER TOWER AND THE NEIGHBORHOOD OF LA MADELEINE
A story was worthy of a novel in Beaune when a ruthless smuggler laid siege and spread terror in the city.
Formerly in France, almost all the wealth came from the land, but we already know that the land seldom bears its fruits a year. The monarchy´s need for liquidity led to the birth of the "Farm", a fiscal-financial association that collected taxes from salt and tobacco, which gained a bad reputation. Against this system, the most famous smuggler in France appeared. He called himself Louis Mandrin, who used to raid tax col-lectors for good loot. This extortionist had a gang of almost a hundred men on horseback, all very danger-ous and armed who had no qualms when it came to shooting.
Luis Mandrin arrived at the gates of the city of Beaune, where the militia was already waiting for him. The clash was violent, although the town ended up succumbing. The mayor surrendered after hiding, and Mandrin told him: "Beaune belongs to me, and I can brand it with iron or loot it, but I will respect the blood of its innocent citizens" and demanded all the collection that was soon delivered. Later he insisted that the jail be opened to free some prisoners who would join his gang.
The Madeleine neighbourhood, along with the Gunpowder Tower, witnessed the adventures of this bandit, and this neighbourhood was the place chosen to settle after the taking of the city.
In the siege of the next city, already prevented and reinforced, he demanded the payment of taxes under the threat of setting it on fire and sacrificing some hostages found on the Beaune road.
Finally, the mayor ended up giving in to the blackmail of the extortionist.
It seemed that his misdeeds had no end. Finally, a year after his looting, he would end up being captured and beaten alive in the town square.
At the end of the 19th century, the Gunpowder Tower, part of the city wall, became part of the new Calvet winery building.
In July 1996, the city of Beaune decided to buy the Maison Calvet buildings to install the Maison des As-sociations and some cultural facilities there. Later, in 1999, the city council decided to rehabilitate the complex and create the Museum of Fine Arts, whose first exhibition was inaugurated on November 18, 2001. Today, this place is known as "Porte Marie de Bourgogne" in tribute to the role played by the city of Beaune in defence of the rights of the Duchess Marie of Burgundy against the King of France Louis XI.
Porte Marie de Bourgogne
Rue Poterne, 14. 21200 Beaune. France
SLUGS WITH THE HOUSE AT A SLOPE
One of the tremendous culinary bets of the region that enjoys extraordinary international fame are gastro-pods or invertebrates tucked inside their shells. We are, of course, referring to the delicious and fascinating "Escargots de Bourgogne".
This dish, precisely a local speciality, is widely accepted. The French love a Burgundian delicacy and satis-fies the most "gourmet". It is possible that they can give you some qualms when eating them because you imagine them drooling or crawling on the ground, but I can assure you that it is one of the most sumptuous delicacies you can try. Indeed, you too, when you have the first bite, very slowly and savouring it, you can assimilate it.
The consumption of snails dates back to the origin of humanity. Prehistoric people already savoured them, the Romans consumed them fried, and in the Middle Ages, the Church considered them "impure", and their consumption was disappearing. Its consumption was then reserved during famines. With the discovery of Canada, sailors filled barrels with snails to keep a reserve of fresh food during the voyage.
The Burgundy snail is known as "vine snail" or "gros blanc" for its enormous size and white flesh, to dif-ferentiate it from another, also edible, the "petit-gris", the smaller and grey flesh. Due to the intense agri-cultural activity and the management of public spaces, the species was changing, so it enjoyed special pro-tection. Its collection is prohibited during the breeding period between April and June.
Emblematic dish of Burgundian cuisine, it was consumed mainly at Christmas. The traditional recipe consists of brief cooking with salt, vinegar and white wine. Once cooled, it is reintroduced into its shell, filled with a mixture of butter, parsley, and finely minced garlic and placed in the oven. Some restaurants add hazelnuts to the filling.
You can taste Burgundy snails very well accompanied by white wine in specialized shops while they tell you how to distinguish the authentic Bourgogne snail or in the many restaurants in the centre of Beaune.
HOTEL OF THE POOR
If one building stands out among all in Beaune, it is its hospice with its polychrome and varnished tile roof created as a pious foundation and hospital for the poor.
After a long war, conflicts and the plague, the population is refuted, and that is when this fabulous work of art is erected in favour of the poorest and most disadvantaged.
Around a dazzling central courtyard, the charity is harmoniously arranged. The sick were welcomed from the poor room, food was prepared in the huge kitchen, and the apothecary prepared the healing potions.
The Duke´s Chancellor, a devout man and patron, was in charge of creating an establishment to perpetuate his name through the centuries. A good negotiator, he was first in charge of arranging it under the authority of the Holy See to free it from all taxes, and as a good manager, he endowed it with vineyards. He painted the interior with the Last Judgment to finish its splendid architecture.
The result is a work and act of faith for eternity.
Five centuries ago, the first donation of vineyards was made to the hospices, and this tradition continues today. Its vineyards produce an excellent broth, among the famous Burgundy wines. Its best vintages are sold at auction by the famous Christie house. It is the most renowned wine charity sale in the world. The proceeds from the sales are destined to improve the sanitary infrastructure of the city hospital and the con-servation of the old hospices.
In the mid-1960s, some scenes from perhaps the most successful film in the history of French cinema were shot at the hospice. Who does not remember the two greatest comedians of his cinematography? Louis de Funés and Bourvil help three English pilots forced to parachute when German fighters hit them. Our two protagonists help save them when the country is under Nazi occupation. "La grande vadrouille", translated as "The great spree", helped secure the re-name of the hospice.
Hotel-Dieu des Hospices de Beaune
Rue de l´hotel-Dieu, 21200 Beaune
Abierto todos los días de
9h to 11h30 and 14h to 17h30 in winter
9h to 18h in summer
Entrance 10 €
WALK OF THE WALLS
Our walk allows us to contemplate from the outside the fortified Wall of Beaune, which will reveal the odd curiosity and whose perimeter was preceded by a moat fed by the two local rivers. The wall is about 2 km long and has eight bastions and several towers, including the Torre Renard (Rempart Saint-Jean) that func-tioned as a salt warehouse and the Torre des Poudres (Rempart de la Madelaine), where the gunpowder was stored.
We will start our walk with what remains of the Castle of Beaune (rue du Château), built to defend the city and watch over its inhabitants who had been faithful to the duchy after its incorporation into the kingdom. Today, it is home to some vineyards. Always following the Boulevard that snakes the wall, we arrive at the Bastion Santa Ana (Rempart Saint-Jean). From here, we access the historic centre through the rue d´Alsace.
The Torre Grosse is next on the road (Rempart Madelaine). It is set up with a garden offering exciting views on both sides. Nearby is the Saint-Jacques Laundromat and the Hotel Dieu Tower (4 de Boulevard Saint-Jacques), as it is curious to see an old-fashioned laundromat. This is where the tanners´ neighbour-hood was located.
Tour des Cordeliers (Boulevard Bretonnière) serves as the prestigious dinner after the Wine Auction.
Bastion Bretonnière (Boulevard Clemenceau / Rue Maufoux), interesting to see the houses on this section of wall.
Torre des Dames (Boulevard Clemenceau), the tower owes its name to the nuns of the old convent.
The bicentennial plane trees that flanked the walk frequented by the local bourgeoisie stand out.
Bastion Saint Martin (Square des Lions), converted into a monumental staircase.
Tour des Filles ou de l´ Oratoire (Boulevard Maréchal Foch), its robust construction resisted the impact of cannons. It owes its name to the girls of sinful lifestyle who practised nearby by the College "des Oratiens" where they studied Gaspard Monge, inventor of descriptive geometry and Etienne Jules-Maray, a forerunner of cinema.
The Saint-Nicolas gate (Rue de Lorraine) is a monumental gate through which the kings entered triumph, including Louis XIV himself.
Notre Dame Bastion (Boulevard Maréchal Joffre), place of public executions.
In front of the imposing tower, Tower Blandeau (Rempart de la Comedie), knights´ training with the arquebus took place, where you can still see the pavilion of the time.
Approximate travel time: an hour and a half.
The need for water for the city of Beaune led to the purchase of land around the source of the river that runs through it. The subsequent acquisition of the surrounding land in which the vineyards were uprooted by phylloxera allowed the creation of a spectacular urban garden. Today, it is the city´s lung, endowed with extraordinary vegetation and exuberant nature. We refer to Bouzaise Park.
A grove of banana trees escorts a large avenue leading to a large pond, surrounded by elms, oaks, and im-posing pines. A small islet and a more oversized island reinforce its idyllic image, preceded by a small hill planted with rare and exotic species.
Under the forested elevation emerges the spring of the river that, after a short journey, suddenly disappears to mysteriously cross-part of the city underground and appear again next to the walls.
A walkway is set up to enjoy the views of the lake and observe the glass aviary. Both creations are the works of a prestigious architect, giving the garden an avant-garde note.
The artistic note comprises a sculpture that embodies the beauty and feminine perfection "Béléna". The "diva" was the victim of a kidnapping. As a result of chance, she was requisitioned after a customs check when the criminals abandoned her in flight. Police investigations confirmed dealing with metal dealers rather than art dealers.
The Belena replaces another sculpture hidden inside the lake by gardeners during the Nazi looting. It wasn´t until after Beaune´s release that she was rescued. Today, it is exhibited in the city´s art museum. As it is known, L´ Ondine is the work of a certain Antoine-Auguste Préault whose sculptures are seen in the Louvres Museum itself.
The other wonders of this garden are its trees. In France, a word is used with great force that denotes beauty: "remarquable". Those admirable trees of a majestic and imposing bearing are a Cedar of Lebanon, two giant Sequoias. Two linked Beech trees, two Cypresses and a Silver Linden: magnificences of mother nature.
Avenue du Parc, 21200 Beaune. France
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