Beaune City Hall (Mairie)

Beaune – Introduction

Beaune is the Burgundy wine capital. Most Burgundy wineries are located around the city and are represented inside the city. However, the city itself can not be considered as being beautiful despite being quite old.

A roman fort had been built in the 1st century A.D. where the city is now. The fact that wines are important to the city stems from centuries ago. Already in the 13th century, Beaune was a major wine-growing city. You can see how important wines are when walking around it. There are so many buildings dedicated to wines:

DebrayDomaine des VinsMarche aux VinsGaunouxOenological station
Winery Debray shop, cellars and tastingWinery Debray shop, cellars and tasting
Beaune Burgundy wine shop representing different domains.Beaune Burgundy (Domaine des Vins) wine shop representing different domains.
Beaune Burgundy Wine Market (Marche aux Vins)Beaune Burgundy Wine Market (Marche aux Vins)
Domaine Gaunoux (right) and a wine shop on the leftDomaine Gaunoux (right) and a wine shop on the left
Oenological station of BurgundyOenological station of Burgundy (wine consultation)

Walled city

Beaune was a city surrounded by fortified walls. The old city centre lies behind these walls. About 50% of the walls are still visible, and intact.

Part of the city fortified wallsPart of the city fortified walls
Corner unit of the city fortified wallsCorner unit of the city fortified walls
Another corner unit of the city fortified wallsAnother corner unit of the city fortified walls

Inside the city, there is a small river/stream winding itself through the city. It’s called the “La Bouzaise“, and there is one notable point (see photo below) where there is the medieval washing point. This is where clothes were washed in the river by hand.

Clothes WashingMapRiverBridge
Clothes washing by hand at the La Bouzaise riverClothes washing by hand at the La Bouzaise river
La Bouzaise riverLa Bouzaise river
Bridge over the riverBridge over the river

The City

The city could never be described as being pretty or beautiful. It’s not a Lyon or Rouen or any of the old cities that you can see in France. The houses and buildings are functional, following a building style that can often be seen in Burgundy.

Street with Street with “old” houses in Beaune
Former wine baron mansion, now flatsFormer wine baron mansion, now flats
Passage to upper floor doors, built the vintage wayPassage to upper floor doors, built the vintage way
Old buildings in Beaune city centreOld buildings in Beaune city centre
Sub-Governor (sous-prefet) building Sub-Governor (sous-prefet) building
Facade of old building in BeauneFacade of old building in Beaune

Apart from the older city houses, you will find the occasional churches and chapels:

Chapel in Beaune
Chapel in Beaune

There’s even a bell tower (Beffroi de Beaune):

Bell TowerMap
Bell Tower of Beaune Bell Tower of Beaune

Since the city does not have any high structures (apart from the bell towers), a stroll through the city gives a rather pleasant feeling. There are many cafes, restaurants and bars, all with their own terraces, to be found everywhere:

Bars, restaurants and cafe terraces in BeauneBars, restaurants and cafe terraces in Beaune
Square with terraces in BeauneSquare with terraces in Beaune
Cobblestone street with terraces in BeauneCobblestone street with terraces in Beaune

As is the case with most towns and cities in France, there is a covered food market, and as usual, it’s called “Les Halles“:

Les HallesMap
Les Halles (covered food market) of BeauneLes Halles (covered food market) of Beaune

The Hospices de Beaune

The major attraction in Beaune is the “Hospices de Beaune“, also known as “Hotel-Dieu de Beaune“. It is a remarkable building, a former charitable almshouse built in 1443.

Hospices de BeauneHospices de Beaune
Entrance to the Hospices de BeauneEntrance to the Hospices de Beaune
Side view of the HospiceSide view of the Hospice

The Hospice can be visited, and if you are in the area, you should. Click here to read more about it.

Beaune Museum of Fine Arts

The Beaune Museum of Fine Arts is located in a single level building. The museum moved here recently (2001), before that it had been scattered around the city, partially to be found in the City Hall.

Beaune Museum of Fine ArtsBeaune Museum of Fine Arts
Closeup and turret of the Beaune Museum of Fine ArtsCloseup and turret of the Beaune Museum of Fine Arts
Entrance to the Beaune Museum of Fine Arts and Tourist OfficeEntrance to the Beaune Museum of Fine Arts and Tourist Office

The collection of the contents of the museum had started in 1800. The content of the museum is a mixture of paintings, sculptures and archaeological items. Click here to access the museum’s web site (in French only).


People don’t really come to visit Beaune because of its beauty or architecture. It’s not a city where you will find amazing buildings or works of art at every corner. People come to visit because of mostly this city is the capital of Burgundy wines!

If you are into wines, and good food, this city is for you!

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