As soon as I found out that there’s a bookshop related to all things wine-related in the heart of Beaune, I knew I had to visit faster than you could say ‘santé’. Located just across the street from the oh-so-famous Les Hospices de Beaune, Athenaeum de la Vigne et du Vin stocks books and wares almost exclusively about all things vin...
For those who have never been to the pretty city of Beaune, this destination is a must-see on any visit to Burgundy, or Bourgogne, as it is so-called in French. After all, as the capital of the world-famous wine region, there’s no shortage of things to see and do, especially if you’re after some culinary or gourmet experiences.
Located somewhere between Nuits-Saint-Georges and Dijon, highlights of Beaune include several museums, many timber-framed houses, and of course, all of the wine vendors dotted across the historic part of the city. Many of these wine sellers have been in the trade for decades and even offer wine tasting opportunities in centuries-old wine cellars for a reasonable fee (I paid €10 at Le Cellier de la Cabiote).
Athenaeum de la Vigne et du Vin, A Wine Bookshop in Burgundy
The history of the store dates back to 1989 and after several expansions, the store covers a staggering 1200 metres squared, resulting in a fantastic selection of books, gifts, and wine-paraphernalia, and making this one of the largest wine reference bookshops in all of Burgundy. And counting 10,000 unique titles within its inventory, you won’t be short of reading material any time soon!
Step inside Athenaeum and you’ll soon be greeted with countless rooms and sections. The bookstore is set over several levels, and while predominantly open-plan, there are a few steps involved. One section of the store is in English, though most of the books, prints, and guides are in French. If you’re looking to learn a little more about wine prior to your visit, then I recommend purchasing a book like this one.
Among the topics covered are oenology (the art of winemaking), wine tasting, and various essays ranging from wine climates to grape varieties. On the ground floor, there’s also a fairly large selection of wine-related gifts (think glasses, corkscrews, maps, and more).
Other gadgets on display are so niche and unique that you’d have a hard time guessing what they do from a mere simple glance. Transport and tasting boxes lie side by side with foil cutters, decanters, scent bottles, and some unusual electronic wares. As a result, a visit to Athenaeum de la Vigne et du Vin is easily one of the best things to do in Beaune, even if it is just a shop!