The Retirees go Abroad – Around Beaune

After a warm day yesterday we all expected to be wearing shorts for the boys and dresses for the girls. But it was not to be. Although sunny the wind had an icy edge. We started early and after taking in the town for an hour we went back to the apartment for some warm gear. During our walk around we found part of the old ramparts, an old wine press in the Musee des Beaux Arts and the smelliest cheese shop. However the walk gave us the inspiration to develop a plan of action. Firstly we would take the Visiotrain around the town, then go home for lunch and after lunch go to Borchard Aine& Fils Caves.


The train is a rubber tyred engine pulling 3 carriages each with a guided tour in a different language. The train runs from the Tourist Info Bureau at Place de la Halle, journeying through Beaune highlighting the town’s long past. Along the way we saw the Hotel Dieu Hospice once again, then the Collegiale Notre Dame and the towering Beffroi which sounds the time to the town every quarter hour. After a few minutes we passed the Hotel de Ville (Town Hall) and then followed the old ramparts on the north side of the city. Before long we found ourselves on the outskirts of the town amongst the grape vines and we gradually joined the town again behind its walls via Parc de al Bourzaize. Then the journey got confusing as we travelled through the back lanes of the town.


The train trip finished around 12 noon. We walked back to our apartment and then onto our next visit at Borchard Aine and Fils. On the way there we passed the original town gate, another of the rampart defensive towers and the WW1 memorial for Beaune.

On arriving at Borchards we found that they were still having their midday siesta. This led to us horsing around with a photo board only to realise that the person in the corner of the yard having a ciggie was our tour guide for the cellars.

Once inside the tasting rooms, we introduced ourselves and found that we were the only party registered for the tour. The tour was intended to enliven our 5 senses to the enjoyment of wine. We started in the cellar for the white wines where our guide explained the difference between, regional, communal / village, premier cru, and grand cru wines. She then poured tastings for two chardonnay wines. Bourgogne only grows Pinot Noir, Chardonnay Gamay and Aligoté with the last two used in their regional and village wines only.

From there we walked through the stored bottles (many for a Japanese client so she said) to the cooperage display and a tasting of a young pinot. The next cellar was the tastes centre and our guide explained how the different tastes developed and why they developed those tastes. The last cellar we sampled an older pinot and used the touch bar to feel the different tastes developed in the mouth. As we ended the tasting we were presented with two bottles of pinot for our dinner that night. This was one of the most enjoyable and informative wine tastings we have had.

Even though it was late afternoon the twilight meant there was plenty of daylight left so we continued our walking in the town before going home for dinner and packing for tomorrow.

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Retired Australian Lawyer having worked representing the innocent and the not so innocent in Australia and some of the remote parts of the world and having travelled widely through Europe, Western Russia, Canada, USA, New Zealand, Thailand Malaysia Solomon Islands northern China, Hong Kong and the UAE So now that I have the time I am writing about my travels present and past. Hope you enjoy exploring off the beaten track.