Burgundy (part 7: wine villages)


We remembered this was a vacation, no one was staying with us, and we weren’t required to be anywhere. In fact, one of our goals for this trip was to take advantage of its length and spend plenty of time just relaxing. So we got a late start and spent the morning with our books, our coffee, and our pan au chocolat and croissant aux amande.

Nuits-Saint-Georges village center.

However, we wanted to continue exploring the villages and tasting wine. So we drove up to Nuits-Saint-Georges in the late morning, parking just outside the village center. Nuits-Saint-Georges is a larger village of around 5,500 people, or ten times the size of the village in which we’re staying. A number of wineries have tasting rooms in the village, with signs along the main road. We elected to visit none of those and instead found a restaurant in the pedestrian zone for lunch. After the usual two-hour respite, we wandered around the village for a while before getting back in the car.


Vosne-Romanée wineries, none of which are open to the public.

Our next stop was Vosne-Romanée, the neighboring village to the north. While Nuits-Saint-Georges is known for its great Pinot Noirs, Vosne-Romanée is truly at the top due to its concentration of grand cru vineyards. It’s also the home of wineries like Domaine de la Romanée-Conti and Domaine Leroy, who produce some of the most celebrated (and most expensive) wines in the world. While I’d love to say we visited, these are both sadly out of our price range and generally not open to the public. In fact, the latter tends to be the case here — wineries are about making wine, not engaging the public every day. When inquiring, we’ve often been redirected to the village’s main wine store, which in turn showcases wine made in that village. The same happened here, and we ended up at La Maison des Vins to taste and purchase. Another couple entered the shop right behind us, and we were all on the same mission. So we tasted a few wines from Domaine François Gerbet and bought a mix of regional, village, and premier cru wines for enjoyment in France and at home.

And back to the house to feed kittens, feed ourselves, and return to relaxing.


We had been discussing the need to get some exercise amidst all this food, wine, and relaxation. So we woke up and decided to bicycle to Volnay, 8km north of Puligny-Montrachet. We knew nothing about the village other than its reputation for well-balanced, almost velvety red wines. But we figured it had to have a café where we could enjoy a coffee when we got there.

Volnay’s village church.

Nope. Volnay is even smaller than Puligny-Montrachet, and we found two restaurants (neither of which were open in the morning) and zero cafés. However, we did find a wine shop and proceeded to taste a couple of local wines, buying three bottles to pick up later. We then bicycled back to Meursault, where we could sit briefly with a coffee and watch a quiet morning in town.

Later that afternoon, we returned to Volnay (this time by car) to pick up the wine we’d purchased in the morning, and then drove to Beaune. We had been in Beaune a couple of times by then, so we were starting to know our way around. We parked near Gare de Beaune and walked toward the Place Carnot at the center of town. Because it was Sunday afternoon, relatively little was open, but we happened upon a wine shop, Cellier de la Cabiote, where we could get an inexpensive wine tasting in their cellars. We bought some of the wine we tasted and continued to Place Carnot for a snack and coffee while we waited for the 4pm train from Dijon.

It’s about a 10-15 minute walk from Place Carnot to Gare de Beaune, so we planned accordingly and left on time. We stopped only to stow our wine in the car and then walked the rest of the way to the station, where we waited only a minute or two for our friends Jordan and Edward to arrive. I had already bought some basics for dinner, so we returned home to get them settled, cook, and eat.

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