Belle Epoque, Beaune

he most difficult thing to understand about Burgundy is the size. No, it is not a particularly large region with enormous distances. It is more the opposite. Especially if you are dealing with the Côte d'Or. To say that everything is within walking distance is of course a slight exaggeration, but fact is that distances are short and you get almost anywhere in no time.

This means that you have a lot to choose from when deciding on accommodation. You don't necessarily have to stay in Vosne-Romanée to be able to have a look at your favourite vineyard. Half an hour's drive and you are at the other end of the Côte d'Or or up in the Hautes-Côtes.

I have very little experience from the hotels and there is a large number to choose from. In Beaune we have had very nice stays at the Belle Epoque on Rue du Faubourg Bretonnière just outside the town wall. Run by the always friendly Hervé Gabard this is a most charming hotel (I'll even forgive him for insisting it was our car that was too big and not his parking being too small ).

Another option is to stay at a chambre d'hôte – bed and breakfast. In general the prices are lower and the standard higher than in the south of France. As I have mentioned elsewhere on this site both the chambre d'hôtes of Domaine Marchand Freres (1, Place du Monument) and Mme Follot (33, rue de la Croix des Champs) in Gevrey-Chambertin are highly recommendable. La Maison des Abeilles in Magny-lès-Villers – very close to Pernand-Vergelesses, Ladoix-Serrigny and Aloxe-Corton – is also a lovely place to stay. This one is the largest of the three with six rooms available.

Booking in advance is usually recommended, a little bit depending on what time of the year you are visiting the region. That is not to say that it is impossible to find something available once you are there; it might just require some driving around or a number of phone calls. The best way to see what there is to choose from is to consult the web site of Gîtes de France, a nationwide agency dealing in all kinds of holiday accommodation. They also have a web site dedicated to the Côte d'Or only.

Gîtes de France is also a good place to find a gîte to rent. The houses available are usually available to rent by the week, sometimes for weekends. For me this is the best way to experience Burgundy. With a house of your own you have the opportunity to do the cooking yourself. You get to explore the local food markets and the regional products.

This far we have had only good experiences from renting houses in Burgundy. They have been well equipped and in good condition. Over the years we have learned that the rating system used by Gîtes de France is very strict and that it is to be trusted.

Every time we have visited Burgundy we have driven there from Sweden. It is 2000 kilometres and it takes two and a half days. There are of course other ways of getting there, but once there you will need a car. If flying to Paris you can either rent a car at the airport or you can take the train from Paris to Dijon or Beaune, which is a fairly short trip.

© 2013 Ola Bergman