Travel Diary: Beaujolais and Burgundy

We’re back from our vacation in France. It was truly magical! I fell in love with the wine region Beaujolais and its tiny villages scattered among vineyards. The region isn’t very touristic except for people who visit specifically for the wine, so it’s really quiet and peaceful there. Perfect for us!

Living in a chateau

We were truly lucky to be able to stay at such a magical place as Château Lambert in Chénas. We had booked a gîte for two persons that was part of the larger structure. The chateau was in the middle of vineyards, but within walking distance of the village.

In the courtyard of Château Lambert.

Our gîte was incredible. You could tell it was lovingly restored and expertly furnished with a mixture of old and modern elements. My favourite detail was the pictorial fabric wallpaper. Honestly, I went down the rabbit hole of the history of wallpaper when I discovered it was made of fabric! Fascinating.

The combined living and sleeping room.
The pass-through to the kitchen had built-in book shelves.

To be honest, we spent the first day of our vacation almost entirely inside our gîte, aside from a small jaunt around the village. It’s such a lovely place! We were basically just reading, sleeping and talking all day. It was so peaceful and exactly what I needed after a stressful couple of months.

La bonne cuisine

In Germany when we eat really fantastic food that we’re “eating like God in France”. Obviously we had to live up to this concept once we were actually in France! Our evening at Les Platanes de Chénas was a culinary highlight. I had the goat cheese salad with spring vegetables and morels as a starter. The main course was a lamb shoulder with mashed potatoes and spring vegetables. It was divine! Then we had a cheeseboard with a selection of different French cheese that I forgot to take a picture of because I was in the middle of a foodgasm. For dessert I had a sablé nantais with crème légères and seasonal red fruits. Needless to say, we rolled out of there stuffed and happy.

We didn’t eat a full menu everyday, though. Some days a delicious cheese and charcuterie board like we had at Bistrot le Sarment in Julienas was more than enough! Since we had a kitchen in our airbnb, we cooked dinner ourselves as well. We tried to make Burgundian or at least French dishes. When in Rome … For example, I made boeuf bourguignon, a stew recipe that’s cooked with Burgundian wine. I used a recipe from, a German language food blog written by a French woman living in Germany.


I’ve been to Burgundy before when I was eight years old. There are a few things I distinctly remember from that vacation, one being when I was allowed to decide which wine my Dad would buy at a wine tasting. The other was the colourful roof of the Hôtel-Dieu in Beaune.

Beaune city centre.

Beaune has a beautiful old city center that is ideal for walking around, taking a bite at a brasserie or tasting wine in one of the numerous wine stores. The Hôtel-Dieu is its main tourist attraction. Founded in the 15th century buy Nicolas Rolin, the chancellor of Burgundy, it was a hospital for the poor. The polychrome rooftop is exactly as stunning as I remembered it!

View of the polychrome rooftops from the courtyard of the Hôtel-Dieu in Beaune.
Details of the apothecary, Hôtel-Dieu.
Flemish tapestry, the history of St. Eligius.

However, it wasn’t only childhood memories that made me want to visit the Hôtel-Dieu again. I knew that I’d be able to see a few of the beautiful art pieces I’ve studied in my art history classes. Specifically I wanted to see the Beaune altar piece by Rogier van der Weyden. It’s always even better to look at something in person after admiring it in books! The altar piece depicts the last judgement so the sick and dying could look at it to find comfort and be reminded to stay strong in their faith.

The Last Judgement, Rogier van der Weyden, c. 1445-1450.


The other place I really wanted to visit was Cluny Abbey, one of the most powerful and prestigious monasteries in Europe between the 10th and 12th century. It’s surrounded by a tiny medieval city centre with cute little shops and cafés.

Cluny streets.
Philip, a very handsome man.

Although I technically knew that Cluny was a big abbey, it was different to walk through it and personally experience how vast the buildings and the grounds were really. It was very interesting to learn about the different layers of architectural activities, from the more modest beginnings of the churches Cluny I and II to the truly massive Cluny III. Personally I was most tickled by the small exhibition about the Cluny hoard, which you can see in one of the auxiliary buildings. You can learn a lot about the technical sides of archeaology there, and what these scientific results can tell us about the people and their life in the Middle Ages.

Cluny Abbey.
View of Cluny Abbey from the garden.
The monastery’s apothecary garden, which was a bit neglegted sadly.
Yours truly in the Cluny courtyard, wearing a dress Philip bought me at La Fée Maraboutée in Beaune.

This was a perfectly magical vacation! It was just the right mixture of relaxation and sight-seeing. Of course, how could I not love a region with such a rich history as a historian. I was very reluctant to leave, and already made plans to visit again. There’s still so much more to discover and enjoy in Burgundy!

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