Saturday, February 27, 2010

June 18, 2009 - Beaune, France

Beaune was a convenient stopover on our trek north, having a campsite just outside of town and a map footprint suggesting a walled city with plenty to Ooh and Ah about. With a population of 22,000, Beaune is the principal town in the Côte-d'Or department of the Bourgogne, or Burgundy region of central France.
The city center is focused around the irregularly shaped Place de la Halle that bustles with restaurants and a variety of stores. The town's major claims to fame are the 15th century Hôtel-Dieu hospital and the wine auctions, among the largest in France and certainly the major conduit for all varieties of Burgundy. Each S
aturday morning there is a large market in town with a smaller one being held each Wednesday. The wine industry is the major element of Beaune's economy although tourism is also significant. It is probable that the area around Beaune has produced wine since 300 CE and, in the middle ages, the industry was largely taken over by the Catholic church who discovered that Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes flourished in the various micro-climates of Burgundy.About half of the defensive battlements, ramparts and moat are extant and these are well maintained. Other features include a 12th century clock tower and the 15th century Romanesque/Gothic Notre Dame church. For more on these features, click here.

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