Beaune Advice: December 27-31

We are a family with two children ages 13 and 17 traveling to France over the Christmas holiday. We will be in Colmar for 6 nights, then Beaune for 4 nights, and then Paris for 6 nights. We are staying in apartments and will have a car in Beaune. Our family has visited France several times (starting when the kids were ages 5 and 9), but we have never been to the Burgundy region.

We have read about Beaune in the RS France book, but we really don't have a sense of what Burgundy is like during late December. Our kids love to ice skate (will do this in Colmar & Paris, but not available in Beaune), so are there other activities for them in and around Beaune? They also enjoy bike riding.

We would love any advice about activities in this region, as well as restaurant recommendations in Beaune for my husband and me (we are very much looking forward to the Burgundian cuisine & wine!).

Thank you!

Posted by Trish
Ft. Smith, AR, USA
38 posts

Sorry I can't contribute......just wanted to let you know that your children are very lucky to be able to travel at their ages!!!!! Hope they know it........

Posted by Bets
3351 posts

Beaune in the winter will be better than most of Burgundy, but it is not bucolic in the countryside. A lot of hotels, restaurants, and activities geared to tourists are limited or closed for a month or more in winter. In fact, many tourist activities don't start up until late spring in these areas, though the important sites (Vezelay, museums in Dijon, chateaux, abbeys) are open. Visiting in late spring or summer, when the days are longer, it's warmer, and plants and fields are starting to bloom, is when RS and his local contact probably visited. Visiting in winter is a different kind of experience, one to be appreciated in a different way in winter. Days are short. Christmas and New Year's is celebrated with family and friends, though you will be able to find restaurants serving holiday meals on the 31st and 1st. Beaune is a fairly small town, so you can probably get your best advice from the landlord. I base this on many years visiting my in-laws near Chablis.

You might want to see about mushroom hunting, hiking the many trails, visiting the Grottes d"Arcy with its prehistoric paintings, hiking to the top of the Solutre Rock.

Edit: just saw the grottes close in November, but I'd see anyway if there aren't some winter vacation hours.

Posted by Adam
2925 posts

I hope you are not disappointed in Beaune for 4 nights in midwinter. It is not a big place, smaller than Colmar, and surrounded by farms. 4 days there would be a lot, I think, even in high season.

You might identify some day trips to pull out of your pocket as needed. Dijon should be pretty lively.

Posted by JHK
Fremont, California, United States
597 posts

I love the Burgundy region and spent a wonderful five weeks there one summer. Four days in Beaune, winter or summer, needs to be broken up with day trips. In my view, there just is not enough to do there to last for four days unless you are using it as a base to travel to other towns, which I assume is the reason that you will have a car. There was an article in the Wall Street Journal last year in February about a winter weekend in Beaune that had some good suggestions ( I agree with the author that Cave Madeleine is a good place for a meal.