Surrounded by magnificent medieval ramparts, Beaune, the wine capital of Burgundy, is a glorious spectacle of red and gold, the characteristic colours of its fine wines.
The remarkable Hospices de Beaune, or Hôtel-Dieu, was founded in 1443 as a hospital and almshouse for the poor. Its Burgundian-Flemish architecture, with its polychrome glazed tiles patterning the turreted and dormer-windowed roofs, its half-timbered wings, and its galleried courtyard (the Cour d’Honneur), is breathtaking. The interior offers a fascinating insight into much of its original function, while its museum is home to Roger van der Weyden’s extraordinary 15th-century polyptych of The Last Judgement. The highlight of the Hospice’s year is Les Trois Glorieuses, which takes place in late November – a grand charity wine auction set amid three days of food and wine festivities. In 2018 it raised €14.2million to combat disease and poverty.
Beaune is a lovely city for wandering, and there are plenty of other things to see, including many interesting churches, such as Notre-Dame with its 12th-century Madonna, 14th-century flying buttresses and 15th-century frescoes and tapestries. The Musée des Beaux-Arts has a permanent collection of masterpieces from the 12th to the 20th century, including works by Beaune artists, as well as special exhibitions. One ticket combines entry to this and the Musée du Vins de Bourgogne, in the former palace of the Dukes of Burgundy, which tells the story of the world-renowned vineyards surrounding Beaune.
[NB Marey Museum is closed at present]
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