Beaune, the principal town of the Côte d’Or, manages to maintain its attractively ancient air, despite a near-constant stream of wine aficionados using the place as their base. Narrow cobbled streets and sunny squares dotted with cafés make it a lovely, albeit expensive, spot to sample the region’s wine.

Beaune’s chief attraction is the fifteenth-century hospital, the Hôtel-Dieu. As grateful ex-patients or their families donated vine plots to the hospital, the town prospered quickly to become the centre of the local wine trade. The cobbled courtyard is surrounded by a wooden gallery overhung by a massive roof patterned with diamonds of variegated tiles – green, burnt sienna, black and yellow – and similarly multicoloured steep-pitched dormers and turrets. Inside is a vast paved hall with a glorious arched timber roof, the Grande Salle des Malades, with the original enclosed wooden beds. Passing through two smaller, furnished wards, one with some stunning seventeenth-century frescoes, then the kitchen and the pharmacy, you reach a dark chamber housing the splendid fifteenth-century altarpiece of the Last Judgement by Rogier van der Weyden and the tapestry of St Eloi, which is comparable to the Lady and the Unicorn in the museum of Cluny in Paris.

Travel offers; book through Rough Guides

France features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

An expert’s guide: the best area to stay in Paris

An expert’s guide: the best area to stay in Paris

All the clichés about Paris are true – stylish, romantic, glamorous and utterly compelling – yet it retains surprises that continue to delight even the mos…

26 Sep 2016 • Rough Guides Editors insert_drive_file Article
7 reasons why Lyon should be your next European weekend break

7 reasons why Lyon should be your next European weekend break

The ingredients for a great European weekend break are simple. You’ll need a walkable city centre, a handful of excellent restaurants, some cool bars, afforda…

26 Aug 2016 • Eleanor Aldridge insert_drive_file Article
22 incredible pictures of Corsica

22 incredible pictures of Corsica

Just off the south of France, and closer to the coast of Italy, the small, mountainous island of Corsica lies in wait for the three million tourists that visit …

14 Jul 2016 • Rough Guides Editors insert_drive_file Article
View more featureschevron_right

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month