BEAUTIFUL Beaune is at the heart of gastronomic Burgundy, blessed with many restaurants and wine shops, as long as you know which ones to patronise. Ma Cuisine and its bottle shop Cave St Helene (Passage St Helene, off Place Carnot, +33 3 8022 3022) is a mecca for merchants and wine lovers alike. But two newcomers have enriched the opportunities. Loiseau des Vignes has 70 wines by the glass. It is an Aladdin’s cave, with such rarities as 2002 Coche-Dury Meursault Rougeots at E22 ($36) and 2005 Dugat-Py Gevrey Chambertin Vieilles Vignes (E24) at the top end of a list starting below E10.

However, Bistro de L’Hotel (5 Rue Samuel Legay, +33 3 8025 9410) is the pick. It has a superb wine list with a range of half bottles from top producers and a menu to drool over.