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Beaune vs. Avignon on a Sun/Mon in October

Beaune vs. Avignon on a Sun/Mon in October

Old Aug 16th, 2022, 05:45 PM
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Beaune vs. Avignon on a Sun/Mon in October

Hi! My husband and I are planning a trip to Switzerland and France in October. We are going to Geneva for a few days first, and then we’d like to do two days in either Beaune or Avignon on our way to Paris. We want to go to great wineries, eat great food, go to Sunday mass, and explore “quainter” parts of France in between the two cities. We will not have a rental car and we will be there Sunday and Monday.

Which should we go to - Beaune or Avignon?

amarshall is offline  
Old Aug 16th, 2022, 07:32 PM
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While I like both towns, for great wineries I would go to Beaune. There are a number of wine houses right in town that you can walk to and some shops that offer tastings from multiple wineries. I don’t recall seeing anything like that in Avignon. And, well, it’s France so you’ll find great food everywhere.
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Old Aug 16th, 2022, 08:56 PM
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Indeed, wine = Beaune.

Check the tourist office for small group vineyard tours with tastings in village wineries you'd never find on your own. I had a lovely time, me & 3 congenial strangers.

I, too, like Avignon but go to Beaune for the wine.
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Old Aug 17th, 2022, 12:02 AM
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Well both days are quiet days when most touristy things will be closed. Beaune is a lot closer to either Paris or Geneva so I would naturally do it (I hate driving and would not drive from Geneva to Paris if you paid me). Avignon is close to the Rhone wine region so tastings do exist and at times better tastings but only a few actually in town, (surprisingly the best tasting was by request and at a price in the gift shop of the Palace once the crowds had moved on from them E1 tastings).
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Old Aug 17th, 2022, 05:30 AM
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Most touristy things will be open every day of the week, but especially Sundays which is a prime tourism today. IN both cities, all touristy things of interest will be open Sun-Mon in October. The big things in Avignon are open every day (Palace, bridge), as in Beaune (tasting places, hospice). A couple of the minor art museums in Avignon are closed on Monday (decorative arts), but the Petit Palais which is excellent and my favorite near the palace is closed only on Tuesdays. In Beaune, being so dependent on tourism, things are open pretty much every day, I think the wine museum is closed on Tuesday. they have this new tourism "train" thing (Visiotrain) for wine country in Beaune which I am not familiar with but might be good without a car, but the tourism office will have things to do.


Both will no doubt have their local weekly markets but I presume as a tourist you aren't going to be buying produce really. I think that's Saturday in both, but Avignon being larger has a flea market on Sundays at place des Carmes and a brocante market Tu and Thurs place Pie.

Avignon has a major basilica.

I prefer Avignon because more to do but am not interested in wineries or wine stores. I just drink wine at cafes or in restaurants.
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Old Aug 17th, 2022, 06:51 AM
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Almost ALL non-food shops will be closed on Sunday, and Monday morning too. I don't know about wineries, however. I would be surprised if they were open on Sundays. Make sure there are some open.

We were in Beaune on a Sunday about 12 years ago, and surprisingly, many shops were open - but certainly not all. Actually, more shops were closed on Monday than on Sunday.

In my 2022 Michelin Red Guide (restaurants), most restaurants are closed on Sunday. Many on Monday also. Here is something from my Provence & Cote d'Azure itinerary about Avignon.

Something to be aware of when visiting the cities, towns, & villages of Provence

In many towns & villages, shops are closed on Sunday & Monday. Some shops open on Monday afternoon. We never plan to visit a town (for shopping) on a Sunday or Monday unless we know in advance that the stores will be open. Most non-food stores in Aix, Nimes, and Avignon are closed all day Sunday, and Monday morning. While in Aix in late June ’17, I did a “survey” of 27 shops that had opening & closing days & times posted on their storefronts, and were not on the Cours Mirabeau (lots of chain stores there). Of these 27 shops, 7 were open all day Monday, 8 were closed all day Monday, and 11 were open Monday afternoon only. Only 1 shop was open on Sunday. In Avignon, of the 17 shops I surveyed, 7 were closed all day Monday, and 10 were open Monday afternoon only. None were open on Sunday. Shops in very “touristy” towns like St Paul, St Tropez, and Gordes are always open. We were recently in St Remy on a Sunday. My wife visited 11 shops that interested her (she likes housewares – no clothes or souvenirs). Two other shops looked interesting from the outside, but were closed on Sunday. Of these 11 shops, 5 were closed all day on Monday, 2 were only open Monday afternoon (around 2:30), and 4 were open all day Monday. The very touristy shops that are prevalent in almost every tourist destination village in Provence (Olivades, Souleiado, Terre de Provence), are usually open on Sunday & Monday.


Most shops & sites close for lunch – usually from 12:30 to 2:00, or 3:00, or 3:30, or 4:00. If you really want to “shop” a town, do so in the morning as soon as the stores open (usually at 10:00). If you roll in at 2:30, the shops might be closed for another hour. I’ve had numerous people tell me how disappointed they were when they drove to a town to shop, only to find almost all the shops closed – something that doesn’t happen in the US.

When stores are closed on a Sunday/Monday or for lunch, they will often pull down ugly aluminum louvered shutters over their beautiful storefronts – so you can’t even window shop. In some towns, these louvered shutters might be covered with graffiti, and the town will look like a war zone. Also, as you drive through a town around lunch time, it might seem deserted, unfriendly, & very uninviting. They’re actually closed for lunch and all the pretty storefronts will seem like abandoned buildings. These closings make it much harder to pack as much into a day as you might expect. Stores stay open late (around 8:00 or so), but most vacationers usually stop their sightseeing by then and are settling into their hotels or getting ready for dinner.

Stu Dudley

Last edited by StuDudley; Aug 17th, 2022 at 06:57 AM.
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Old Aug 17th, 2022, 07:49 AM
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The Marche aux Vuns in Beaune is always a fun experience. It is open on Sunday & Monday. But it is not a winery - it's a retail store. But there had tastings the last time we were there.

I googled "wineries in Beaune". I picked the first 10 that were listed that were not wine shops, and that had hours posted. All 10 were closed on Sunday. Eight were closed all day Monday. One was open Monday afternoon , and 1 (Louis Jadot) was open all day Monday.

Stu Dudley
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Old Aug 17th, 2022, 10:18 AM
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""The Marche aux Vuns""

Vins, of course.

Stu Dudley
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Old Aug 18th, 2022, 09:30 PM
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Hi AMarshall,
Bistro Bourguignon on Beaune's main drag was apparently the very first wine bar to open in that town and it is still operated by the original owner couple. My wife and I have 'wined' in many places across the globe, and for us, this bistro takes absolute top prize for selection by the glass. The food was VG and reasonably-priced. The relaxed, non-stuffy vibe held great appeal for us too.
The uncheap offerings by the glass included: Pommard, Gevrey-Chambertin, plus the whites: Puligny-Montrachet and also our fave, Meursault. Each were by top producers and tasted fantastic! Worth every penny.
There are modest fall fairs held in Beaune each October. Might be worth your while to check which dates.
The Hospice/Market 2-fer is also a plus. Even if you just bought a couple non-perishables, that market could serve you well.
Good Luck.
I am done. the end

zebec is offline  
Old Aug 19th, 2022, 03:16 AM
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I can offer no advice [been to both and liked them equally] save to echo that Monday is a really difficult day for touring anywhere in France. I would strongly suggest seeing if you can rearrange your itinerary to move this to Tuesday.
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Old Aug 19th, 2022, 08:39 AM
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Beaune is definitely the logical destination, both for wine and for getting to Paris after that. While I like the cheap and simple wines of the region of Avignon, it is definitely not a winery destination.
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