During the summer of 2007, I flew to Paris on my own for a heartfelt reunion with Matt who was deployed to Iraq for 18 months. His ‘leave’ aka mid-deployment vacation had come up and we decided to meet in Europe instead of him coming home. For obvious reasons, we didn’t think he needed the questioning of “how is it? what’s it like over there? oh my god, you’re being shot at?” type questions back home. However, while flying to meet him in Paris I was a nervous wreck, excited with anticipation, love and hope! I wanted to tell every person I was being reunited with my lover!
We spent a handful of days in Paris, but our travels took us north to the D-Day beaches in Normandy, a quaint town of Sainte-Mère-Église, Germany’s Baden Baden, and my favorite place of all… a little tiny dot in the Rick Steve’s travel guide.
Before I begin, I must warn you that while traveling in Europe, you’re best off finding a hotel/inn or bed and breakfast before the sun goes down since most inn-keepers retire early. Hotels can be hard to find in smaller towns, so most places available are bed & breakfasts or smaller inns. If you don’t find a place, you’ll be out of luck like we were.
Matt & I were headed back from Germany to Paris and the day was getting extremely late. We passed numerous freeway exits one after the other and had no clue where to stop. The Rick Steve’s book mentioned a small town called ‘Beaune’ a few miles ahead of us, but Matt managed to miss the exit so we had to drive another 17 miles to make a u-turn. We pulled into a truck-stop type area where we found a motel chain that was still open. My fellow driver wasn’t happy about the u-turns, truck drivers, his headache nor the dingy room we were going to spend the night in, but at least we had a bed. Everything had been so quaint up until then! Furthermore, I wasn’t confident that trusting Rick Steve’s was the best idea I had, so I kept my mouth shut and hoped that the town was better than the motel we picked.
The next morning we ventured into Beaune and were in awe of the sights before our eyes. Beaune is a beautiful historic town with an old city wall that surrounds it. There are features from pre-Roman and Roman times, from the dark ages, the medieval, the renaissance and from recent centuries. Nestled in the hills of the Cote d’Or and known for it’s Burgundy wines, Beaune is known as a key wine center for France. The food, I have to say, is also spectacular and outstanding. We were so smitten with the town that we decided to stay 2 nights at the Hotel de Remparts so that we could spend more time exploring. We fell in love with the wine, food and the people too. (I still remember my favorite meal as if it were yesterday – fresh risotto with sage and truffles! Delightful and sinful.)
Beaune is a small historic town in the hills of Cote d’Or which is south-east of Paris and south of Dijon. This city, housed within the city walls, is home to streets lined with cafés, boutiques, quaint little shops for wine tasting and several sight-seeing pleasures. You can easily spend the entire day wandering around leisurely sipping coffee or wine. From what we gathered, Beaune is a city of food, wine and the arts. We noticed several posters about an upcoming opera event and wished that we had more time to stay for it.
Photo Credit: Beaune Market From Review: Beaune on Jan 2009, Sipnfrance
Photo Credit: Beaune Market by kmkeulher
Photo Credit: Beaune Market by Max XX
If you wandered into the town square on Saturdays like we did, you will find the streets filled with the farmers market vendors. I wish I could tell you how fascinating it was; vendors selling fresh olives, herbes de provence, artisan cheese, quilts, candle holders, art and the usually foods. We spent 3 hours strolling through this market, picking up little bits and pieces for a small picnic. We also found a saucisson (sausage) stand with an assortment of honey, spicey, herb, curry infused meats.
A large part of our best memories together are from Beaune, the epitome and capital of Burgundy Wines; which is also where I started my new fascination with wine and amazingly simple and fresh foods. The town center boasts a number of restaurants, so pick them with caution. The best way to gauge the popularity of a restaurant is to see how busy it is. For us, we chose the restaurants based on the number of patrons and how happy the waiters were.
Other attractions are Hospices de Beaune also known as Hôtel Dieu, Marche aux Vins (a wine tasting room in a dimly-lit labyrinth of caves where you can stroll around and enjoy the crypts (yes, crypt) and a handful of fantastic restaurants. Seriously, take my word that you can get lost and discover all sorts of beautiful things 🙂
Photo Credit: Hospices de Beaune. Photo from Trip Advisor
Photo Credit: Beaune, Burgundy By Andrewsrhodes
Hospices De Beaune
2 Rue de l’Hôtel-Dieu,
21200 Beaune, France
03 80 24 45 00
Marche aux Vins
Rue Nicolas Rolin,
21200 Beaune, France
03 80 25 08 20
Hôtel des Remparts
48 Rue Thiers,
21200 Beaune, France
03 80 24 94 94