Burgundy Food and Hotel (Lyon, Beaune) and Lucerne, Switzerland
- Craig Garthwaite May 7, 2003 03:09 PM
My finacee and I will be traveling to Burgundy, specifically Lyon and Beaunne and then onto Lucerne, Switzerland.
I was wondering if anyone had any lodging recommendations for these cities.
Also, I was wondering if there were any can't miss chow experiences.
Thank you in advance,
My sister, brother-in-law and I LOVED the Hotel de Maizieres (could be a slight misspelling in there and might be an 'Abbaye' lurking in the name) in Beaune for both hotel and lodging. The manager was incredibly welcoming and generous (let us have a bottle from his collection when the restaurant was out of that vintage). The restaurant food was excellent, especially the escargot and the fruit soup for dessert. We found out about it in Rick Steves, but the place wasn't overrun by Americans even in June. We were supposed to return to Paris, but loved it so much we stayed an extra night in Beaune instead.
Below please find my Burgundy travel notes; my apologies in advance for having still not gotten around to converting francs to Euros. Also, I probably could have edited out the lodging info, but on the othr hand, perhaps that will be just as helpful as the dining reccos.
Note that when calling from the States you need to drop the zero at the beginning of the telephone and/or fax numbers given; when calling from within France, dial the entire number, zero and all.
HOTELS & RESTAURANTS - Beaune and environs
27, rue Maufoux
Perhaps a bit obvious as hotel recommendations go, being right downtown and all, but still, it's a reliable standby, and very nicely appointed in traditional Burgundian style. The restaurant associated with it, Bernard Morillon, has a reputation for being unwaveringly traditional (translation: much butter and cream), yet a recent dinner there showed a lighter hand than I would have expected. Really quite good, and the cheese service--along with that at Levernois--is the best around. Weakness: dreary wine list, full of lame négociant bottlings. The woman who runs the front of the house, by the way, looks like an opera star, and oozes charm and warmth.
L'Hôtel de Beaune
5, rue Samuel Legay
This is the first ever truly luxury property right smack in the middle of Beaune, as far as I know; it opened just last year. Spiffy rooms combining the traditional with the contemporary, plus the usual luxury upgrades such as multiple-line phones, Internet access, CD/DVD players, robes, etc. Looks pretty damn nice to me on their website.
2, rue Millot
Equally as well-located as the above, simple, clean, with even a modicum of charm...and only about FF450 a night (!). The restaurant isn't bad either and represents good value (and they reportedly have added a vegetarian menu....a nice touch).
138, route de Dijon
I've probably stayed here more than any other place on my by now numerous trips to Burgundy, though not in the last five years or so, as I have other lodging arrangements at my disposal these days, so bear in mind that this entry is looking dated. Set back from the main road leading up through the vineyards toward Dijon, and a mile or less just north of Beaune proper, it's a charming and tranquil little garden spot, and in the same price range as the Le Central above. I recommend it, with the caveat that I haven't stayed there in a while.
Hostellerie de Levernois
This is about 5km southeast of Beaune proper in the hamlet of Levernois. Jean Crotet, formerly propriétaire of La Côte d'Or in Nuits-St.-Georges, moved his hotel-restaurant down here a few years ago. It's far and away the most luxurious and tranquil lodging for miles around, installed, as it is, in a bucolic parklike setting. The restaurant is quite good, though I sometimes question its two stars in Michelin (I notice that they got docked a star in the 2000 red guide that came out six months ago). Expensive by countryside standards, but not so expensive compared to Paris lodging.
Hotel du Parc
Lovely, charming, restful little spot virtually next door to the expensive and luxurious Hostellerie de Levernois above. Rates are from 210F for a single to 450F for the most expensive doubles. Pleasant rose garden out in back.
Chateau de Challanges
route des Templiers
I first stayed here in 1981, when it was a bit of a dump. My, how things have changed. Though the lovely park in which it's sited has not been altered, everything else has. Nicely appointed rooms in the 390F-430F range, with a couple of very spacious suites for around 800F. A bit outside of Beaune proper, but not too far.
Smack in the middle of Meursault and more or less directly opposite Domaine des Comtes Lafon. Run by a nice older English gentleman named Toni De La Rue. The equivalent of about $100 a night will get you an enormous suite, done in--as French hotels go--quite good taste.
Hostellerie du Vieux Moulin
Tucked away another 10-12km into the woods back beyond Savigny-les-Beaune, Jean-Pierre Silva's restaurant-hotel is considerably more upscale than the neighborhood would suggest. Highly imaginative cooking (two stars in Michelin, which on some nights is one more than it really deserves) and a very well-selected wine list, the latter helped out in no small part by the fact that his next-door neighbor is none other than Becky Wasserman-Hone, an American-born courtier en vin whose palate and portfolio of growers (which includes the likes of Denis Bachelet, Alain Burguet, Daniel Rion, Philippe Engel, et al) are legendary. The rooms are not expensive, by the way, though its middle-of-nowhere location makes it a less-than-perfect choice as a base of operations. NOTE: Silva just sold to new owners in the last tow or thre weeks; I have no details beyond this. NOTE: Jean-Pierre has sold Vieux Moulin within the past few weeks, and I have no idea what is up here under the new ownership.
Jean-Pierre Senelet did a stint, I believe, as fish chef at Taillevent in Paris before opening his own place down here in Beaune, a couple of blocks from the train station. There used to be some inconsistency here, I'll admit (everything regrettably oversalted on one visit; bright, vivid flavors with interesting vinegar-laced, lightly acidulated sauces on the next), but he's at the top his game right now, at least based on three visits in the last 13 months, which were uniformly excellent. If you go, have him compose a surprise menu of his choosing. As he's buddies with many of the very best young growers (and tastes with them regularly) his list has both more depth and breadth than you would expect for a restaurant that's been around a less than a decade. He had a Michelin star six or eight years ago or so, if I remember correctly, lost it, and never got it back, a situation bordering on the scandalous, as, for my money, this is best of the upscale restaurants in the area right now (though if someone wants to make the case for Moulin de Martorey, you might persuade me).
Le Jardin des Remparts
10, rue Hotel Dieu
Back in 1992, Francois Millet, winemaker at Comte de Vogüé suggested I go here, but without supporting documentation from the latest Michelin or Gault-Millau, I didn't on that trip. Stupid me (just like these geeks who won't try a wine without a 90+ from the Speculator): it subsequently got some favorable writeups in G-M, and earned its first Michelin star in the '96 edition of the red guide. Moreover, I finally ended up trying it five years ago, then again the following July, again last September, and twice (!) this past April, and each time I've come away impressed. Not only is the food quite good, but the restaurant itself is very handsome: a beautifully renovated traditional bourgeois French home, brought smartly up to date with Italian halogen lighting, etc. The wine list needs a little work, but I'm confident that will come with time (fingers crossed).
25, rue du Faubourg-Bretonniere
I finally tried this place two trips ago, since it had begun to gain some recognition in the French foodie press (e.g., Gault-Millau, etc.). Word-of-mouth, however, had been not so hot. My take on it: the food coming out of the kitchen is genuinely excellent, and whoever's back there actually knows what he's doing. But the service is amateurish at best (plates going to the wrong table, then "Who gets the veal?," once it finds its correct destination), and the wine list was without question, when I last dined there 18 months ago, the poorest I'd encountered in some time: virtually nothing but the most horrifying négociant crap. During a visit to Lafon a while back, however, I saw a few cases being readied to be delivered to Le Bénaton. I asked Dominique if that was a sign that they were making an effort to upgrade the wine program and he answered in the affirmative. So this place is looking better all the time.
69, rue Lorraine
Bright, clean bistro serving bright, clean bistro fare. Popular with locals, so book in advance. Some pleasant surprises on the wine list. Don't let the relative lack of verbiage put you off; this place is really quite good.
8, place Carnot
I used to consider this small bistro, serving traditional bistro fare, to be excellent (with some downright excellent choices to be found on the wine list). But it strikes me as a bit dispirited these days, likely as a result of Ma Cuisine (see below) having completely usurped its spot as best casual restaurant with excellent food and wine at reasonable prices. Don't get me wrong: it's still decent, but it just seems to have lost some lustre. Le Gourmandin is owned by Jean Crotet of the deluxe Hostellerie de Levernois above.
Just off the place Carnot and opened by the same guy (Pierre Escoffier) who owns the Caves Ste.-Hélène wine shop next door (which seems never to be open anymore), with which this new informal bistro shares its wine inventory. His vivacious wife, Fabienne, does the cooking, and damn wonderful cooking it is: closer to anything in the area to the Chez Panisse esthetic, i.e., take fresh, high-quality ingredients and use simple cooking preparations to showcase their inherent goodness. Wine list, as you would imagine, is far better than most, both in terms of selection (there are both young and fully mature wines) and price (the mark-ups are downright modest). The most welcome addition to the Burgundy dining scene in a long time. And super-reasonably priced on top of it all: the prix-fixe menu is only 90FF!. Reservations imperative!
Rooms are attractive and no more than $100 a night or so. The Michelin one-star restaurant is no slouch, and refreshingly informal. The wine list used to be decent, though it's starting to look pretty picked over, based on my last visit there.
Fax: same as phone
About 6 or 7km outside of Beaune on the route de la Bouzaize. I had the best roast chicken of my life here in 1983, though La Bouzerotte has had its ups and downs in the interim. I had avoided it in recent years, as Burgundians whose judgments I trust had warned me away, saying that it simply wasn't what it used to be. As of July 1995, however, things got back on track: Dominique Lafon (who knows a thing or two about taste) swore that it was back on form at that time, apparently the result of new ownership, and strongly urged that we book a meal there while in town. Unfortunately, all the locals had the same idea and a reservation was impossible to come by on the one night we had available. Several trips later and I still hadn't been able to massage my schedule to coincide with that of the restaurant. Finally, just this past March, we finally went: utterly suprb and worth the wait. The menu has become quite extensive over the past few years, and is fairly rich, but more in the sense of offering things like fois gras, squab, etc., not necessarily due to heavy saucing and the like (think of it as an ever so slightly tricked-out version of what is often called cuisine du terroir). Extremely honest, direct food of a very high order. Unfortunately, I didn't even see the wine list on my last visit there, as we were with a producer who brought his own bottles. By the way, there's a place nearby where some crazed Scotch fanatic (yes, a Frenchman, if you can believe it) does his own élevage of special small lots of single-malt scotch!
Moulin de Martorey
On the southwestern outskirts of Chalon, making it a navigationally tricky 25-minute excursion from Beaune, you'll find this gorgeous converted mill, the original gears and ancillary machinery of which have been cleverly incorporated into the decor of the dining room. Truly modern cooking of an exceptionally high standard (one star in Michelin) and an excellent wine list. I really have to wonder what the Michelin inspectors are thinking when a place like this can't seem to rise above a one-star ranking, yet a place like Levernois--which is in no way better--kicks back and receives two stars year-in and year-out (its demotion to one-star status was noted earlier).
6, rue du Faubourg-Madeleine
Newish, small, and casual, with food that shows a biy more verve and imagination than is the norm in Burgundy. And there's a better-than-avaerage wine list here to boot. A nice addition to the Beaune dining scene.
22, rue du Faubourg-Madeleine
Almost next door to Le Paradoxe above and also very good. Quite interesting food (I believe the chef is self-taught), and the wine list continues to improve. Casual like its neighbor.
Le P'tit Paradis
22, rue Paradis
Fairly new, tiny, and quite delightful. This little spot, with its sunflower yellow walls, may not hold more than a dozen of people (well, maybe 20 or so), but those are people who will eat well, albeit simply, for not much money. They're not sufficiently well capitalized to have amassed a cellar of any size or scope, but there's always at least one bottle on the short list that jumps off the page at me as the one to order.
Auberge de la Miotte
4, rue de la Miotte
I used to not include this spot in the "boilerplate" versions of my Burgundy guide that I send out to any and all who request a copy, as I wanted some to retain some control over who found out about this place. It was one of those long-secret little gems such as Tan Dinh in Paris was in the early '80s (where I drank '37 Romanée-Conti for $225, '49 La Tâche for $175, etc.). But that's all changed, since it's now been written up in Food & Wine Magazine and who knows where else. Proprietor Dominique Rézette used to be a wine broker in Paris and has put together a wine list that is full of great bottles at ridiculously low prices for what the wines are (I drank '92 Meursault-Perrières from Coche-Dury for about $140 with lunch last time I was there). Even the food is good: rustic, Burgundian fare like blanquette de veau, etc. about a mile or less east of the RN74 in Serrigny....follow the small signs.
I thank my friend Allen Meadows (www.burghound.com) for the following recommendations:
Au Bon Acceuil
La Montagne de Beaune (route Bouze-lès-Beaune, about 15 minutes from Beaune proper
Meadows: "A large, virtually locals only family style eatery surrounded by pine trees with a gorgeous view...[specializing] in serving good, unpretentious food at bargain prices."
Le Caveau des Arches
10, boulevard Perpreuil
Meadows: "Caveau des Arches opened in 1992 and offers an incredible setting of an old wine cave with vaulted arches (15th century) and warm ambience...The food is quite good if a bit pricey as is the well chosen wine list...[T]he prix fixe menu for 125FF offers very good value in my view; the wine list has some of the very best names in burgundy on it and again, while pricing is high, it's not ridiculous." I finally ate here (lunch) for the first time this past April and found it very pleasant.
2, Impasse des Chenevottes
Meadows: "The Caveau de Chassagne-Montrachet has opened a restaurant right above the new Caveau (there are two and the new one is in the town square) and it's quite good....[the] wine list is superb and almost completely dominated by Chassagne growers...In March of 2001, Chef Stéphane Léger took over for former Chef Jean Gabon (now at La Bouzerotte) and has lightened the cooking,...[which] is sophisticated and pure and most everything is handled with self-assurance."
NOTE: I ate here in April of last year and echo Allen's sentiments.
Bistro La Régalade
164, Route de Dijon (on the right, just before the bridge leading north out of Beaune toward Dijon)
Meadows: "One of my favorite places to eat in Beaune...The food..represents what [chef] Maria [Goncalves] can find fresh each day and [is] presented on a large blackboard in one corner of the room..."
HOTELS & RESTAURANTS - The Côte de Nuits
Chateau de Gilly
This entrant in the luxury sweepstakes is a former Cistercian abbey with formal gardens. It's in kind of a funny spot, lying just east (about 2km) of the Route Nationale 74 (all the vineyards are to the west). But it is reasonably plush and, I believe, a member of the Relais & Chateax group. Recently someone told me that they have rooms in the $100/night range, i.e., not just at the high end. The restaurant isn't bad either, though unapologetically traditional; unfortunately, when I was last there (four years ago), the wine list didn't show much effort or imagination. That might have changed, however, as Henri Jayer considers this one of his favorite places, and I'd like to think he'd not waste his time where the wine selection was abysmal, but you never know.
Hotel des Grands Crus
By far one of the most humble of the hotels listed, but it has the great advantage of a) enabling one to gaze out the window at such vineyard sites as Les Cazetiers, Clos St. Jacques, etc.--as long as your room is on the west side of the building, and--more importantly--b) it is within easy staggering distance around the corner from Restaurant Les Millésimes. Inexpensive, and perfectly located for exploring the Côte de Nuits.
Hotel Arts et Terroirs
28, route de Dijon
This is my new find in the accomodations department. Though right on the Route Nationale 74, this is a very tranquil spot. All rooms have been recently renovated, have cable TV, nice bathrooms...it's simply a pretty spiffy place for very little money (FF250-FF480). My old favorite above, Les Grands Crus, now looks a bit threadbare and funky by comparison. My wife and I stayed here in March, as my usual free lodging was unavailable. Great location for exploring the Côte-de-Nuits, though perhaps a bit out of the way for the first-time visitor.
25, rue l'Église
I love this place. In the past it has been criticized for inconsistency, but I think (or hope) that has largely been overcome. Michelin gives them one star (or did, until being demoted this year). The Sangoy family (a couple of sone replaced dad in the kitchen since his untimely death a couple of years ago; mom and daughter run the dining room, another son Didier the cellar) has created a lovely ambience down in their cave-turned-dining room, a well-executed cuisine that draws equally from the traditional and from the contemporary, and a formidable wine list that is utterly staggering in its scope and depth. Seriously, it is the single finest list for Burgundy anywhere (though you'll pay dearly for mining its treasures), and that includes Taillevent, Alain Ducasse, Georges Blanc,...you name it. Page after page, it presents a virtual who's who of the best small propriétaires-récoltants. They also have an informal bistro now, as well, just off the N79 that's OK at best, but nothing special. Still, some of the same wines are available here, although at lower prices than at the "big deal" restaurant.
8, rue Puits de Tet
One of my newer restaurant entries in some time. Imaginative, contemporary cooking of a very high standard; in fact, I might even lump Joel Perreaut in with the likes of Gillot at Moulin de Martorey and Senelet at L'Écusson.
Aux Vendanges de Bourgogne
47, route de Beaune
An even newer addition to my restaurant list. Informal bistro serving really well-executed traditional Burgundian fare, but with some [not always entirely successful] attempts at getting slightly eclectic (there was a fish course special one night in March with some sort of Thai-influenced sauce as an unusual feature of the preparation). The wine list must have 100 different references, mostly from Gevrey (but rapidly expanding to take in the rest of the Côte d'Or, as well), and mostly from the better small growers, listed in ascending order of price. A welcome addition to the dining scene here.
Should I mention such obvious temples of gastronomy as the Michelin three-starred Lameloise in Chagny?
As for tasting while in the neighborhood, be warned that the best growers typically don't have tasting rooms (appointments are the way to go; have your hotel make them if you're uncomfortable trying your French on the phone) and/or don't speak English (I've put an asterisk* next to the names of those who I THINK speak at least SOME English; I'm never quite sure, since my dealings are always in French). A note on scheduling winery visits: I strongly urge people to try to avoid the weekend, since the French hold their weekends sacrosanct and tend to shun visitors then (although enough rich Swiss roll in on any given Saturday to load up the boot of the Benz with grand cru, that some guys will be open anyway). In any event, here are some of my favorite growers (obviously, this list is not exhaustive):
Philippe CHARLOPIN (Domaine CHARLOPIN-PARIZOT)
*Sylvie ESMONIN (Domaine Michel ESMONIN & Fille)
Vincent GEANTET (Domaine GEANTET-PANSIOT)
Joseph ROTY (this guy's from another planet--allow yourself plenty of time--but the wines are superb, and close to impossible to find)
*Charles ROUSSEAU (Domaine Armand ROUSSEAU)
Romain LIGNIER (Domaine Hubert LIGNIER; be careful: much better wines than *Georges* LIGNIER)
Christophe PERROT-MINOT (Domaine Henri PERROT-MINOT)...Scandinavian wife here probably speaks excellent English.
*Jacques SEYSSES (Domaine DUJAC)
Ghislaine BARTHOD (Domaine BARTHOD-NOELLAT)
*Jacques-Frédéric MUGNIER (Chateau de Chambolle-Musigny)
*Francois Millet (Chef-nologue at Domaine Comte Georges de VOGÜÉ)
*Christophe ROUMIER (Domaine Georges ROUMIER)
Pascal LACHAUX (Domaine Robert ARNOUX)
Philippe ENGEL (Domaine Rene ENGEL)
Anne GROS (Domaine Anne GROS)
*Jean-Nicolas MÉO (Domaine MÉO-CAMUZET)
Marie-Christine MUGNERET (Domaine Georges MUGNERET/Domaine MUGNERET-GIBOURG)
Bertrand CHEVILLON (Domaine Robert CHEVILLON)
Christian and Pierre GOUGES (Domaine Henri GOUGES)
*Jean-Pierre de SMET (Domaine de l'ARLOT)
Sophie et Alain MEUNIER (Domaine Jean-Jacques CONFURON)
*Patrice RION (Domaine Daniel RION)
Domaine BONNEAU DU MARTRAY
*Christine DUBREUIL-FONTAINE (Domaine DUBREUIL-FONTAINE)
Benjamin LEROUX (Domaine Comte ARMAND)
*Etienne de MONTILLE (who had been working during the week in Paris as an investment banker until late last year, when he was appointed to run the Chateau de Puligny-Montrachet estate...Domaine Hubert de MONTILLE)
Note: I used to include Domaine de la Pousse d'Or, of course, but I've taken it out until I feel that the new regime is "delivering the goods" (the jury is still out, in my mind)
You can probably call most of these guys and get an appointment on the spur of the moment. From the roster above, Rousseau might be tough with just a last-minute phone call (although a day or two in advance would get you in). Jacques Seysses can be a bit of a tough ticket, as well as Jean-Nicolas Méo, and the Dugats. I have omitted from this list such luminaries as D.R.C., Lalou Bize-Leroy, Henri Jayer (and his nephew Emmanuel Rouget), Dominique Lafon, and Jean-Francois Coche-Dury, as most visitors to the region don't have a prayer of getting an appointment with any of these folks. There are almost no white wine producers on my list, as I feel that Lafon in Meursault, and Gérard Boudot (Domaine Étienne Sauzet) in Puligny, make virtually everybody else look utterly pathetic by comparison (this is a bit of hyperbole on my part; certainly what Anne-Claude Leflaive has done with her late father's domaine certainly catapults her into the Lafon/Sauzet league, and there a few others as well). Another option for tasting white wines: the "Caveau" in Chassagne is a good gig, with a tasting bar (and now informal eatery as well) and sales room under one roof, representing a good number of different growers.
Should I mention the Chablis area, where there are several especially nice hotel-reataurant combinations? I refer to Hostellerie des Clos in the town of Chablis itself; the Abbaye St. Michel on a hill overlooking Tonnerre; and the Michelin 3-star in Joigny, La Côte St. Jacques. If you elect to spend a night at, say, Hostellerie des Clos, you're literally within walking distance of the Raveneaus.
Hope this helps.
re: David Russell
<Should I mention the Chablis area, where there are several especially nice hotel-reataurant combinations? I refer to Hostellerie des Clos in the town of Chablis itself; the Abbaye St. Michel on a hill overlooking Tonnerre; and the Michelin 3-star in Joigny, La Côte St. Jacques. If you elect to spend a night at, say, Hostellerie des Clos, you're literally within walking distance of the Raveneaus.>
Yes, you surely should mention Chablis. It is one of my favorite towns in all of France! But you can't go to Raveneau without an advance appointment.
Hostellerie des Clos restaurant has delicious food, and the chef does cooking classes, as well. For such a lovely place, the rates are really reasonable. and the town is so charming.
La Cote St. Jacques has beautiful accommodations, as well as one of the best restaurants in the country, and one of the most charming chefs (Jean-Michel Lorain)!
In Beaune we stayed at Hotel Grillon. The small hotel is just outside the city center, though the center is within walking distance or driving. The madame speaks excellent English, and it was very well priced. Try this website "logis-de-france.fr". I can also whole heartedly recommend the family owned and operated Ma Cuisine as mentioned in the other post. Very well made food and an outstanding wine list at exceptional prices.
In Lyon we stayed at La Residence which was also well priced and located. Try "www.hotel-la-residence.com".
Lyon is an amazing city. We enjoyed one dinner at Les Adrets on rue de Beouf in the viuex. See the previous post below.
Have a great time. G
re: Grog- LA, CA.
we just spent one night at H. Grillon and I want to enthusiastically endorse this hotel. Nicely appointed, quiet, nice lawn/garden for reading, a serious walk into Beaune, but if you drive, there is free parking right outside the walls, maybe 5 minutes by car from the hotel. best thing: they only had one night's lodging for us, but recommended (called and got reservation for us) across town at Hostellerie de Bretonniere, which was every bit as nice, a little better located in terms of walking, and very very very reasonable, in 2008 Euro terms. so H. Grillon: very high scores for taking care of semi-lost and a little desperate Americans!