Called “Les Trois Glorieuses” – or three glorious days – the Beaune Wine Auction is the oldest of its kind in the world and one of the most anticipated events in Burgundy, France. Held this year on November 17 – 19, it is on the “must do” bucket list of every wine lover’s calendar.
For guests aboard European Waterways’ luxury hotel barge Finesse, which cruises Burgundy from early Spring to mid-Fall, the town of Beaune is among the highlights of their diverse itinerary. The Finesse’s cruising season ends before the “main event” of the Beaune Wine Auction, but walking the streets and exploring the site where all the “action” happens every year can be “the next best thing,” according to Derek Banks, managing director of European Waterways. “Many of our sophisticated guests are wine connoisseurs themselves, so they really appreciate the significance of this town to the industry,” he noted.
With European Waterways’ current offer of 10% off on all April 2018 departures, these guests can experience Burgundy and Beaune in the temperate, more colorful Spring. The town’s wide range of immersive activities, rich in culture, history and local lore, are available year-round and can include performances and parades, as well as a half-marathon through the streets and vineyards of the picturesque Beaune.
In addition to a drive through the vineyards of Beaune, guests explore the 15th century Hôtel-Dieu Hospice, site of the auction, and its many shops. Afterward, they are treated to a gourmet lunch at Michelin-starred restaurant, Le Montrachet. Other cruise excursions take guests to Dijon and the Church of Notre-Dame, a 13th century masterpiece, and ancient towns such as Autun, a “Town of Art” renowned for its Cathedral of St. Lazarus, which holds the remains of its namesake saint. There are also additional wine tastings that include Château de Chamirey in Mercurey.
Cruising in Style
The eight-passenger Finesse cruises the River Saône and Canal du Centre in Southern Burgundy and includes a demonstration galley where guests can watch the onboard master chef preparing the daily gourmet meals. Built to exacting standards and with luxury in mind, its modern design includes a spacious interior with panoramic saloon windows, a sun deck with an alfresco dining area, and a spa pool. The cruise route presents excellent opportunities for walking and cycling, with level towpaths and gently rolling countryside.
Finesse guests can enjoy a cruise through Burgundy all season. Celebrating its third year of operation, Finesse is offering 10% off all April 2018 departures when book before January 5, 2018. Call for more information. The 2018 brochure is also now available for order or download from the company website.