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Burgundy is among France's most revered wine regions. With gently rolling hills covered in vines, charming towns lined with stone houses, famed local cuisine and more wineries than you could visit in a month, it's a great choice for an idyllic French honeymoon.
Where to stay:
Surrounded by medieval walls that are, in turn, surrounded by vineyards, the town of Beaune is the de defacto "wine capital" of Burgundy. It has everything you could want from a French wine country village: quiet cobblestone streets, easy access to the vineyards, plenty of food and drink options (including several wineries and wine shops), and dozen of romantic hotels, bed and breakfasts, and apartments to choose from. Nearby towns such as Volnay and Pommard are equally charming, but barely the size of a postage stamp and with few options for dining. County villas and b&bs also abound, but will require a short drive into town for any entertainment.
What to see and do:
In Beaune, check out the 1443 Hospices de Beaune, an architectural gem of Flemish design. Audio guide tours are available daily so you can get the full scoop on its history while admiring its glazed tile roof, gothic ironwork, exposed frame ceiling, and intricate woodwork. On Wednesday and Saturday mornings, be sure to stop by Beaune's central square for the farmers' markets, where you can buy farmhouse sausages, local cheeses, natural honey, and other seasonal goodies. For more tasty delights, head to the Beaune outpost of famous mustard producer Edmond Fallot where you can take a tour and learn about mustard production, or simply sample from dozens of varieties of mustard such as peppercorn, basil, truffle, or curry.
Beaune is small enough that you can cover most of it on foot; to explore outside of town, hop on a bike and cycle the route of the Grand Crus, which runs 37 miles from north to south (60 kms), mostly through the vineyards. From Beaune, you can easily spend a day biking from town to town. It's only three miles to Pommard, which is known for high-quality red wine. For those with strong legs, starting at Mersault (9 miles from Beaune) and working your way back through Volnay and Pommard, stopping for lunch and a few tastings, is a great way to spend the day.
What to eat and drink:
Burgundian cuisine has all the heavy hitters of French cuisine; some you've heard of and some you haven't. Of course wine figures prominently, in dishes like beef bourguignon, a stew of beef and veggies braised in red wine, and oeufs meurette, eggs poached in red wine with bacon, onions, and shallots. Escargots (snails cooked in garlic, butter, and parsley) are a signature local dish, as is Époisses de Bourgogne, a wonderfully pungent, soft cheese. The most famous restaurant in town (make reservations early) is Ma Cuisine which offers a few entree choices complemented by a wine list several dozen pages long.
If you plan to visit several wineries, it's worth investing in a guided tour (you can book a group or private tour) so you don't have to worry about driving—or trying to translate at wineries where the proprietor doesn't speak English. Beaune is surrounded by vineyards, but you don't actually have to leave town to visit several wineries. Caves Patriarche Père et Files and Joseph Drouhin offer wine tasting for a fee and the Marché aux Vins offers self-serve tastings from multiple local producers in the ancient cellars of a former Franciscan church. Several wine shops in town also offer tastings so you can try before you buy. The Sensation Vin wine shop offers comprehensive wine seminars that last about two hours and cost €35 per person. The sessions include tastings of four red and four white wines, including some of the region's best Premier Crus and Grand Crus.