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Hotel Dieu, est. 1443
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Courtyard--look at the roof
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Hosptial beds used till 1950s
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Listening to the audio tour
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Cascading mums in town
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Cobblestone street--so much nicer than asphalt
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Triumphal Arch
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Bouchard Aine & Fils Winery
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Winery's cellar
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Enjoying cassis

"Our battered suitcases were piled on the sidewalk again; we had longer ways to go. But no matter, the road is life." - Jack Kerouac

Day 18 Beaune, France
1947 Corton Charlemagne - rare burgundy

When we stepped out of our Swiss chalet, we saw there was a light dusting of snow everywhere. Riding through the valley we were able to enjoy winter in the Alps. What a magical send off! We were not on the road too long before we made our last stop in Switzerland where we tried to spend the last of our Swiss francs. Their chocolate and cheese are outstanding.

We arrived in the little town of Beaune after stopping at another outstanding Autogrill for lunch. We were greeted by the owners and staff in the hotel's outdoor courtyard. The spokesperson for the family was a very charming lady who said she was very thankful to the Americans for what they did 70 years ago. Her remarks were so heartfelt, they brought tears to our eyes. We then went on a walking tour of the city which has a quaint downtown shopping district. The old stone buildings, window boxes, hanging baskets over flowing with mums, and old merry-go-round combine to give the city a charming character.

We ended our walk at the Hotel Dieu, a beautifully preserved hospital which was founded in 1443 by a philanthropist. The Hotel Dieu took care of indigent patients up to the 1950s. The building itself is beautiful and the story is just as amazing. We toured the building at our own pace with an audioguide to listen to. Once everyone was done with the tour, we headed across town for a wine tasting. The wine maestro took us to the cave-like wine cellar where he told us to look at the color and texture of wine, to swish it around in the glass and to smell its aroma like a connoisseur. While a spittoon was provided for those who just wanted to taste each wine, I felt that was a terrible waste of wine and chose to savor every drop. Now, when I comment on a wine, I can do so with authority: "This wine is a little young, don't you think?" or "I love the hint of apricot in this Chardonnay." We sampled several wines, both reds and whites, but the very best sample we had was his cassis, a black currant liquor. It was heavenly.

Beaune is not listed in Rick Steves' Best of Europe book, but it was one of our favorite stops. It was not overly touristy but the architecture, wine and history of the city made it well worth visiting.



Since we both loved the cassis we had at the wine tasting, we purchased a bottle once we got home so that we could make ourselves "kir," a mix of cassis and white wine. Unfortunately, the creme de cassis we purchased at home is not nearly as heavenly as what we sampled in Beaune. Should've bought a bottle there! But we did use it to make ourselves a "kir' and toasted, "Vive la France!"


    • Hotel Dieu tour
    • Winery visit
    • Discovering Cassis
    • Owner of Hotel
Next Destination  - Paris
Trip Activities
Gallery - Beaune   -    -    -    -