When I last visited Burgundy for a holiday I stayed in the small village of Autun to the west of Beaune, and enjoying some very good food, wine and domaine visiting of course. My notes are sketchy as this was very much an off-duty holiday, so I was intrigued when regular participants on the UK Wine Forum discussed the topic recently of the best places to visit if holidaying in the area.
On my trip I enjoyed the Hostellerie de Levernois in a small park just outside of Beaune on the road to Verdun-sur-le-Doubs (Telephone 03 80 24 73 58). Two Michelin stars and expensive, but good food and wine list and a reasonable fixed-price lunch menu. A few miles north of Beaune, on the main road to Aloxe-Corton, is restaurant with rooms l’Ermitage de Corton (Telephone 03 80 22 05 28) which is an over-stuffed, over-the-top excess of a place reveling in rich Burgundy cuisine and wonderfully old-fashioned. I see it has lost its Michelin star since I ate there, but retains its “Top Class Comfort” rating. Wear loose clothing and take no vegetarians. In Autun town centre, I enjoyed the old fashioned Le Chalet Bleu very much, for inexpensive and fine food. It’s at 3, rue Jeannin, Telephone: 03 85 86 27 30.
Here then is a resource guide, taken (with permission) from posts to the Forum by those in love with this region and its wines:
Eating and Sleeping
James Wright: I recently spent a weekend in Burgundy, staying in Puligny-Montrachet at a small hotel called Montrachet (10 place des Marronniers, Telephone 03 80 21 30 06). Puligny is 5 minutes from Meursault. I can heartily recommend the restaurant, which has one star. Typical kind of thing that Michelin love, foie gras and rich burgundy cuisine, with an enourmous carte des vin rich in Burgundy treasures, particularly white. Be prepared to spend and enjoy yourself.
Charles Adams: my favourite restaurant in Beaune is Le Jardin des Ramparts (10 rue de l’Hôtel-Dieu, Telephone 03 80 24 79 41) which as the name suggests is right on the edge of the old town. I have not been there for a couple of years though. Reservations are essential.
Paul Jones: in Autun, west of the Cote d’Or, the restaurant at the Hotel des Ursulines (Telephone: 03 85 86 58 58), near the cathedral, was excellent and sported the largest selection of cheeses (mostly Burgundian) that I’ve ever seen.
Bryan Collins: Too far away to consider if not, but if you’re flying to/from Lyon then you will be near Paul Bocuse (Collonges-au-Mont-d’or, Telephone 04 72 42 90 90) – one of my top three restaurants ever. Somewhat wallet-damaging, but with the state of the Euro at the moment this could be the best possible time to go!
Matthew Mellor: In the village of Fuissé (hard to find – it’s in the Mâconnais) there is a popular and very well-priced restaurant Au Pouilly Fuissé (Telephone: 03 85 35 60 68), a great range of dishes, many perfectly matching the local wines, as you’d expect.
David Bennett: in the Mâconnais stay in Givry or even better Hotel de la Fontaine in Buxy (4 Rue Fontaione de Baranges, telephone 03 85 94 10 70). A great welcome, amazing value and the local cave co-op is wonderful (not to mention the restaurnt Aux Années Vins (Telephone 03 85 92 15 76) or even Hotel de la Gare (there is no gare now though…phew!)
Nick Martin: There is a small restaurant in Chambolle Musigny that has been in business just 3 years – adventurously named Le Chambolle Musigny (Rue Basse, Telephone 03 80 62 86 26) – that is absolutely perfect for lunch. Well presented menu at good prices (circa FF140-180) with excellent wine list including Dujac, Barthod, and a roll-call of Chambolles, particularly fine selection of grand crus. Must reserve at least 3 days in advance. In Gevrey Chambertin town centre, Le Tire Bouchon is a cafe style restaurant, with wholesome lunchtime food (though don’t get too excited) and a wine list to die for priced very democratically. Frankly, that kind of balance suits me fine.
Paul Anderson: On the restaurant front, easily the best is Lameloise in Chagny (Telephone: 03 85 87 08 85 ) – 3 michelin stars, expensive but undoubted value for money. On the less wallet-assaulting side there is a place called Le Burgonde in Nolay. It sometimes tries too hard to be smart but the food is pretty good and also good value
Ian Westcott: The restaurants in Burgundy are numerous but here are a few I can recommend. Expensive: Lameloise at Chagny, Thibert at Dijon (10 place du President Wilson, Telephone 03 80 67 74 64) – great food, very good wine list good value for the quality. Le Vieux Moulin at Bouilland (Rue de la Forge, Telephone 03 80 21 51 16) via Savigny les Beaune. Great food at reasonable but wines are expensive. Drink lower level wines and enjoy great food. Les Millesimes at Gevrey (25 rue Eglise, Telephone 03 80 51 84 24) – Great setting, great wine list, good food. More modest: Le Benaton in Beaune (25 rue Faubourg-Bretonniere, Telephone 03 80 22 00 26) – excellent limited menu and a much improved wine list. Tell them I sent you. Ma Cuisine, Beaune (passage Sainte-Hélène, Telephone 03 80 22 30 22) – excellent wine list very good simple food. Restaurant above caveau at Chassagne-Montrachet. La Ciboulette at Beaune (10 Rue de l’Hôtel-Dieu, Telephone 03 80 24 79 41) – Very good modest restaurant. Le Paradoxe in Beaune (6 Rue Faubourg Madeleine, Telephone 03 80 22 63 94) – good for lunch if don’t want to drink to much as wine list is very ordinary but excellent food.
Wines and things to do
Matthew Mellor: If you’re prepared to leave the Côte d’Or, which can be heart-wrenching to do, I know, then head for the Mâconnais. Yes, the wine’s reputedly average, but the scenery, especially around Solutre-Pouilly, Fuissé and Vergisson is breathtaking. The Roche de Solutre is a must climb. It’s a gentle, but not undemanding ascent up onto the spectacular clifftop, which as one of the Deux Roches, gives so much character to the area. The Mâconnais/Beaujolais area is for me, the prettiest part of the Burgundy wine-producing region, pretty rather than breathtaking. Also, partly because it is less dominated by expensive wine “concerns” than are the Côtes de Beaune and Nuits, it seems even friendlier. The villages are much more “rustic”. Of the two Côtes, I’d be surprised if anyone disagreed that you are, by staying in Meursault, going to be staying in the more attractive Côte, which is also very pretty but in a much more affluent style. The view down from the hillside on which Volnay sits is magnificent. I doubt that you will fail to visit Beaune, which is a very pleasant city (I don’t know much about Nuits-St-Georges, but it comes a clear second by comparison), and I would recommend the Route des Vins between Givry and Cluny, which takes in much of the Côte Chalonnaise. The Cave de Buxy is getting a very good reputation and is unmissable in that village. If you’re into cycling, the Voie Verte between those villages is a (flat) 41km stretch of former railway line and you can hire bikes at any of the main stopping points. Cluny, for its history and prettiness, is also well worth a visit.
Paul Anderson: I’m just back from Burgundy and I can guarantee you will have a great time eating out and visiting various producers. It would be interesting to know what visits you have lined up but a couple worth seeing are Paul Garaudet in Monthelie and Michel Prunier in Auxey-Duresses – both villages are just a stone’s throw from Meursault.
Paul Jones: Autun, west of the Cote d’Or, is well worth a visit. It’s the ancient capital of Gaul and is a pretty, walled town that’s off the beaten track. The cathedral is well worth a visit, as it has a fantastic C12 stone carving over the door.
Ian Beckett: Beaune is a little touristy and busy. If you want something a little quieter try the Logis in Meursault (le Chevreuil is OK) where you may get a good bottle or two or even better Le Relais de Montagny in Buxy.Buxy is a lovely little town with a respected co-op(adjacent to the hotel) and the hotel has a swimming pool and separate restaurant. Also in Buxy is a good restaurant (Annee les Vins. With both these hotels you get the opportunity to drive around the area.
Paul Anderson: I’m just back from Burgundy and I think I remember seeing the Novotel on the road out from Beaune centre to the A6. There were a few other hotels around there as well. Also in that area is a branch of Perardel – a very good French wine merchant, with wine from all over France (and a few from Italy as well) and a good bit less expensive than the ’boutique’ wine shops in the centre of Beaune.
Howard Sherry: The last three years we stayed at the Bleu Marine in Beaune. Prices 80 Euros and up. They havae some family rooms at higher prices. On the ring road and a 10 minute walk to the central square. Bleu Marine is a small French Hotel chain with a web site.
Neal Martin: I stayed at the Hotel le Cep and thought was gorgeous. Each room is named after a village – “Montrachet” being the deluxe suite with marble sinks, etc. When I was on business trip once, I forgot to confirm the booking and had to take whatever was available and share it with a colleague. We ended up in the room named “Duresses” which was the size of broom cupboard!
Robert Paterson: I’d not rush to have dinner at its restaurant ‘Bernard Morillon’ at the Hotel le Cep. I had dinner there late last year. The service was not good, the food okay and the wine list full of overpriced negociant stuff. A fellow attendee at a recent London offline, who’s been to the restaurant more recently than me, thought the overall exeperience passable and the wine list a disgrace.