Les Remparts de Beaune
CASTLES AND DEFENCES
Start from the Tourist Office, 6 boulevard Perpreuil. It houses the Maison des Climats, and no, I’m not talking about Burgundy’s meteorology! Here, a “Climat” - from the Greek Klima-atos (slope) - is simply a parcel of vines, whose famous wine is enjoyed whether it's raining, windy or snowing! Open since 2015, this exhibition is centred around a 9-metre model of the vineyards in augmented reality using tactile tablets, explanatory panels and a video presentation: a welcome addition to help you understand the specifics of our “terroirs”, and all this, of course, is completely free!
With my brain full of knowledge and my taste buds aroused, I continue my day trip towards the Saint Jean rampart, easily accessible from Rue d'Alsace. The town, once completely fortified, still retains a large part of its outer walls, giving it an intimate and mysterious aspect. I arrive at Place du Docteur Jorrot where there’s a commemorative painting in honour of Gérard Oury's famous film: La Grande Vadrouille. If the Hospices de Beaune remain an unmissable place to visit with their Salle des Pôvres (Room for the Poor) where Terry-Thomas learnt to say "33", fans of Louis de Funès and Bourvil need to visit the village of Meursault, 8 kilometres away, to discover the Town Hall and its glazed tiles, better known in the film as the Komandantur. However, there’s no sign of the Hôtel du Globe, which is a fictional place – a white lie by the cinematographers! – whose scenes were actually shot in a studio in Paris...
Without my bike, but with my shoes (to be spoken with emphasis!), I head up Rue des Tonneliers and enter the courtyard of the Boussard de la Chapelle Hotel, a small haven of peace, shaded and leafy, ideal for a moment’s relaxation! Close to this garden, the courtyard of the wine museum houses a collection of presses and typical facades of this former hotel of the Dukes of Burgundy. A quick visit to the Basilica of Notre Dame to admire the tapestries of the Life of the Virgin, and here I am at the Gaspard Monge Municipal Library, formerly the Convent of the Ursulines. Its courtyard and fish pond invite us to meditation and reflection, doubtless helped a little by the statue of Etienne-Jules Marey, inventor of chronophotography and precursor of cinema, which stands a few metres away in the square.
My break over, I continue on my way through the Square des Lions, a favourite place for boules players and lovers who smooch here, and go up Avenue du Parc, along the river. Parc de la Bouzaize, from which it takes its name, is the ideal place for families with its boat rental in the summer, its carousel and playground. The vines that surround it are great for short hikes (including trail number 12, marked in yellow).
To end my walk, I head down Avenue Charles Jaffelin and enter Allée des Villas Fondet on my left. Out of sight, this ensemble of Belle-Epoque houses really stands out amid the sights of Beaune: colourful facades and polychrome roofs never fail to delight the eye.
That’s my "unusual and free" mission accomplished, so it’s time for me to go and enjoy the fine weather on one of the terraces in the town centre, not without first taking a picture of the Hospices, which reveal a section of their glazed tiles from the Louis Véry car park!