The pretty town of Beaune is located in the Côte d'Or and it's known for its wine, music festivals and food. A must on the tourist trail for those staying in gites in Burgundy, there is so much to see and do in Beaune that one day here is rarely enough.
Shopping is an absolute joy in Beaune. The streets are lines with independent retailers selling all manner of goods. From high-fashion to books and from artisan ceramics to touristy postcards, you'll find it here. Market day is Saturday and keen shoppers will be delighted to find over 150 stalls selling the freshest and best local produce as well as everything else you'd expect to find at a good French market.
Beaune is a great place for foodies with patisseries, charcuteries and chocolatiers galore. For the best chocolate and cakes, head to Bouche in Place Monge. If cheese is more your thing, you'll find a selection of the best regional cheeses at Alain Hess in the leafy Place Carnot. Another must for gourmands is Palais des Gourmets situated in Place Carnot.
Lovers of wine will be spoilt for choice in Beaune but top of any oenophile's list should be L'Athenaeum de la Vigne et du Vin and Le Comptoir Viticole. In these establishments, you'll find books, accessories and wine paraphernalia galore. When it comes to actually drinking the wine, rather than reading about it, Marché aux Vins is the first place you should head. For a modest fee, you can sample the best wines from Burgundy. Open from 9 - 5.30 every day (with a break for lunch except in July and August), this is a winelover's paradise. The best reds tend to come at the end of the tasting so look out for them.
The surrounding countryside is positively brimming with vineyards and wine merchants so do your research before you go and identify the best ones to visit according to your personal taste (and budget, if you're planning to stock up on wines to take home).
If you're staying in one of the many gites in Burgundy during July, you may choose to visit Beaune on a weekend when the Baroque Music Festival comes to town. Taking place every weekend throughout the month, it's a spectacle not to be missed. September sees the annual Jazz Festival take place but whenever you visit, you'll find live music and other events on in this vibrant town.