Updated: Jan 14
"Wine is bottled poetry"- Robert Louis Stevenson ( a Scottish writer and poet)
Living in France exposed me to the power and the greatness of an excellent wine.
Maybe you can call it the eight art after the cinema. After all wine is art and art is wine. In one of my traveling in France, I was introduced to "Pinot Noir," and that's it. It was love at first sight, and I couldn't point out what was about the pinot noir and its flavour, that made me feel I was under its spell.
Obviously there are other red wines I am fond of, and now i think I can distinguish between their tastes, but my favourite stays-the Pinot Noir.
Have you, the reader who loves traveling with me inside France's stunning landscapes, been to Beaune?
They say that wine possesses many qualities, and it releases them all when you drink a refined one.
In Beaune, in the south of Bourgogne, in the department named "La côte -d'Or", after their prosperous vineyards, the Duke of Burgundy, the tile colourful roofs. These specific characteristics.
I arrived in Beaune in mid-autumn.End of October. The sunny golden ray of light circled this elegant town with soothing light.
I felt very relaxed, even before trying the variety of pinot noir, one of the region's trademarks.
I started my tour with a walk on the ramparts of Beaune. It is a middle- age town that was surrounded by stone barriers to protect the citizens. They remained intact. It was enjoyable wandering and having the city's scenery, splendidly exposed in the autumnal decoration.
Exploring Beaune, you find yourself entering inside paved old quaint stone streets which inspire veneration and tranquility and hints enigmatic secrets from the past.
The houses were entirely preserved from previous periods of history, and I could see a few stylish and modern cozy wine bars. They had their sleeping beauty at lunchtime and would open later in the evening.
We had a break for a lunch in the most sophisticated, delicate restaurant, " Loiseau des Vignes."
Besides having a fabulous menu, and wine, there is a room that looks like a wine library.
The Mustard Fellot- La moutarderie Fallot.
In Dijon, I visited the boutique Fallot where I bought the original mustard de Dijon, but in Beaune it was the first time I got detailed explanations, yet lively and interactive, about the preparation of that mustard. What makes the mustard of Dijon, the original, is the recipe. The Mustard Fallot is a famous institution,which was created in Beaune. It exists throughout generations and has boutiques in Dijon and Beaune. Visiting the sweet factory, that offers also a work shop to prepare the mustard, made me realize how tradition and keeping its legacy is essential.
La Maison Champy
A visit in la Maison Champy
In Maison Champy -the core of their wine's family- story.The wine has so many qualities.
It reaches so many layers in time. I learned a lot about their wine in this creative experience.
The Champy family founded this establishment in 1779.
Maison Champy received its first gold medal at the Amsterdam international and colonial exhibition, and it was just the opening start of winning later many other awards.
Gustav Eiffel, the notorious architect of the Eiffel tower -a native of Dijon, integrated his knowledge into the architecture of Maison Champy.
The building has an incredible exhibition of different posters represent maison Champy from various periods. I was immersed entirely in the wine's inspiration.
Every room offered another glance at the wine's production and it's relation to the Champy Family. There is a map where you can see their vineyard locations
At the end of the tour, I tried a few of the red wines of Champy.
They were fruity and had plenty of flavours.
In the evening, I dined in the gastronomic restaurant " Le Clos du Cèdre" ( it has a one-star Michelin). The design and the style are of a lavish ballroom, I enjoyed that sophisticated dinner very much.
The Hospice of Beaune
Like a lighthouse in the port shining from afar..
Tourists come from all over the world to visit the Hospice of Beaune. I have seen it in pictures, and it looked amazing, but in real life, being in this place, is so powerful. It was a most obedient experience.
The sun lightened these ancient buildings gracefully in the late -morning, especially the multi-coloured glazed roof tiles.
The wine and remedy were fusing harmoniously. The former Hotel- Dieu (the hospice) that is now a museum is open to the public.
Nicolas Rolin, the right man of Duke of Burgundy, founded the medieval charity hospital (the hospice) with the help of his wife Guglogne de Saline in 1443. There are many Flemish influences, cause in the time of its construction, the Duke of Burgundy also owned Flanders and Holland.
The rooms show you where the sick people were lying, and there is a moving reconstruction of a nurse assisting the patient.
It was built intentionally for the poor and the sick, and you can see a variety of medical instruments exposed, but there is lightness and celestial feel as the rooms are filled with renowned paintings and precious art objects. They enthrall you in a mystical atmosphere. I was amazed throughout my visit.
This Hospice is also renowned for its high-quality wine and has 60 hectares of some of the best vineyards in Burgundy.
Leaving the hospice made me dreamy. Although it happened so far away, The value it stands for was still resonating in the present, and teaches you that great ideas as : wine, fine art and medicine can combine wonderfully, and are maybe the cure.
I reached one of the main squares- "La place Carnot"-an excellent start to walk in the old town
center. They lead you to cozy and vibrant streets like rue Carnot or Alsace, where many people gathered to have lunch and enjoy a glass of wine .(Friday lunch time, the streets were filed with passengers).Walking there, you will sense all the delicious aromas, arriving from the food stores as the cheese or the deli. The sun continued to radiate and created
a lovely ambiance.
I had lunch in the elegant restaurant." LEcrit'Vin'. It is a play on words, in French- Ecrivan - writer and Vin the wine, it fitted me very well to sit there and enjoy a good meal,meanwhile in my mind were 'cooking' new stories
The Caves Patriarche
Wine's Caves could be a real labyrinth, the Caves Patriarche, are a museum -caves of wine and history, where you will be captured way back in time, and will be exposed to an enigmatic universe. It is one of the ancient wine foundation in Beaune. I was surprised to discover how vast and abundant it is.
Jean Baptiste Patriarche. established la Maison Patriarche, He bought the monastery Vistandines in Beaune, ( the current building of Patriarche)right after the revolution on 1796, and started to export the wine to Great Britain, Netherlands and Belgium.
From father to son the foundation Patriarch was only evolving in time, and its reputation was just growing. The owner André Boisseaux who passed away on 1998, dedicated his life to the Patriarch Wines, from 1940 and with his visions and assertiveness, helped to make it one of the most important Wine Foundation of Bourgogne.
The house is now directed by Pierre Castel.
Each room- gallery offered a different perspective of wine culture and tradition. I received accurate informations about each of them from my guide tour Jean Michel Gallette - The head manager of the wine tourism of Caves Patriarche,
From the ancient hall of the monastery to rooms where you will see thousands of wine bottles, sculptures in a dim light. I was guided into the Patriarche wine heritage from generation to another.
The journey is complete in visons and scents in the caves Patriarche, and It was an enthralling and mystical adventure for me. I ended the visit by tasting from a few of their delicious Pinot Noir. They also create the Chardonnay white wine.
End of November, it starts to be very cold and rainy in Paris, winter finally installed after a long mellow autumn
I would be happy to drink now the marvelous pinot noir.
It will remind me of Beaune- the elegant, serene and charismatic Duchess of Wine.
I stayed in the magnificent hotel Le Cedre - (where I had also the superb dinner).
The hotel is beautiful at any time of the day. At night when the lamps lightened -up, the garden looked bewitched.
It is decorated and designed tastefully. It felt part of the experience that I lived in Beaune- The elegance and the great wine.
Many thanks to the Press manager of of Beaune tourism office- Anke Fatet.
And to the guide Nathalie Fromheim-Boilletot who gave me very interesting and complete explanations on Beaune and its hospices.
Text and photos by Niva Josef
click inside the photo for Beaune tourism page