Countries France Beaune Cultural Tours

Burgundy and the Valois Dukes: Princes and Patrons

with
Veronique Biddell
Born and brought up in Paris, Veronique graduated from the Ecole du Louvre, where she specialised in Greek Archaeology. Selected for the Graduate Trainee Program at Sotheby’s in London, she worked for over a decade as an expert in 19th Century European Paintings and Watercolours as a Deputy Director. Since, she has been working freelance for a London publisher, and is a language teacher in the public sector. Veronique graduated with a Master’s Degree in History of Art at Birkbeck College, University of London. Her recent research has focused on the Early Renaissance in Northern Europe, in particular the changing attitudes to death, represented in popular monumental sculpted entombment groups of the 15th century.
What's included...
  • Return Eurostar tickets from/to London St Pancras
  • 3 nights accomodation in the 4-star Le Cep Hotel, Beaune and 3 nights in the 4-star Relais St Jeans, Troyes
  • 6 breakfasts, 3 lunches and 4 dinners (lunch and dinner with wine, water and coffee included)
  • Wine tasting at the Chateau de La Rochepot
  • All church, museum & gallery entry tickets
  • The services of your lecturer and tour manager
  • A tour-guide headset system to make hearing the lecturer easier
  • Transport by luxury coach, as the itinerary requires
  • All tips and taxes
Hotel
Hotel Le Cep
Getting about
Participants should be reasonably fit. There is a significant amount of
walking, standing and use of stairs.
Inspirational tours frequently booked together
Highlights
The Well of Moses is a monumental sculpture by the Dutch artist, Claus Sluter(1340–1405/06). It was executed by Sluter and his workshop from 1395–1403 for the Carthusian monastery of Chartreuse de Champmol; built as the burial site for the Burgundian Duke, Philip the Bold and is situated just outside the Burgundian capital of Dijon.
The Museum of Fine Arts in Dijon was founded in 1787 during the Age of Enlightenment and is one of the oldest museums in France. It is known for its collections relating to the dukes of Burgundy, as well as the historical interest of the building that holds them, the Palace of the Dukes of Burgundy.

Various remains of the lavish court of the Dukes of Burgundy are to be found inside including the famous tombs of Philip the Bold, John the Fearless and Margaret of Bavaria with their mourners from the Chartreuse of Champmol.
Restaurant Loiseau des Vignes was opened by Dominique Loiseau in 2007, in the historic centre of Beaune, just beside the Hotel Le Cep.There is the opportunity to sample Burgundy specialities, as well as dishes created by chef Mourad Haddouche. The restaurant received its Michelin star in 2010.
Autun Cathedral is famous for its architectural sculpture, particularly the tympanum of The Last Judgment above the west portal, surviving fragments from the lost portal of the north transept, and the capitals in the nave and choir. All of these are traditionally considered the work of Gislebertus, whose name is on the west tympanum.
Vauluisant Abbey is a Cistercian abbey founded in 1127 by a group of monks from the abbey of Preuilly. 
Join our small group escorted tour to Burgundy in France. Burgundy is the perfect destination for those seeking an enjoyable holiday to France during which they will learn more about the history of Burgundy. There is also plenty of time to sample the culinary delights on offer, making this Burgundy tour an extremely enjoyable trip to France.

Burgundy is one of France’s largest and richest counties, renowned for its wines and gastronomy, its rolling landscapes and medieval towns. Yet this reputation is intimately related to the patronage of four generations of Valois, Dukes of Burgundy from 1364 to 1477. ‘Bold’, Fearless’ and ‘Good’, such are the epithets of the Dukes, reflecting the personalities that brought prosperity and authority to the Duchy. Throughout the 15th century, the Dukes of Burgundy were key players in international affairs and military campaigns, never losing sight of their ambition for gaining royal stature. The Dukes achieved their "magnificence" through their acquisition of Flemish and Northern territories by dynastic marriages and diplomatic alliances.The Burgundian Netherlands grew into one of the most powerful and visually lavish courts of Europe. Even French sovereigns were continually outshone by the Dukes’ splendour.

With Bruges, Antwerp and Brussels under their rule, Netherlandish artists were drawn south. Artists Jan van Eyck, Rogier van der Weyden, Claus Sluter, all worked for the Dukes, as well as other courtiers and outside the court. Setting the ducal residence in Dijon, the Duchy’s capital in 1364, Philip the Bold already shows his ambitions for the dynasty. This is an age for monumental sculpture and high-devotional art, also wanted by a broader group of patrons including clerics, the provincial nobility and bourgeoisie, who in awe of the splendours of the Burgundian Court were keen to replicate the courtly etiquette. As we go to the Northern Burgundian borders towards the Champagne (Aube) region, into the first quarter of the 16th century, this thriving patronage is exemplified in the glorious churches of Troyes and rural parishes. 
We arrive in Beaune for 3 nights. We walk on the beautiful town's fortified walls, then to Beaune’s Musée du Vin, a timber-framed ducal residence, the ‘Hotel des Ducs de Bourgogne’, Veronique Biddell gives a talk on the Burgundian Court, the relationship between patrons and artists in the 15th century. We dine together at Loiseau des Vignes
After breakfast, we visit the ‘Musée des Beaux Arts’ for a curated tour of the highlights of the 15th-century collection and the monumental tombs of the Dukes from the Chartreuse de Champmol. In the city centre, we walk to the Church of Notre Dame, close to the ducal palace, the ‘Palais des Ducs’.  We lunch as a group, followed by a little free time before we visit Claus Sluter’s ‘Well of Moses’ on the outskirts of Dijon and the sculptures of Philip the Bold and Margaret of Flanders in the church’s portal, are the few vestiges left of the Chartreuse de Champmol dismantled during the Revolution. On the way back to Beaune, we make a special stop at the Cistercian Abbey of Citeaux, where the Dukes of Burgundy were first buried. The evening is at leisure.
After breakfast, we stay in the centre of Beaune and walk to the splendid Hotel-Dieu, founded in 1443 by Nicolas Rolin, Chancellor of Philip the Good, and his wife Guigone de Salins. We spend time in front of Rogier van der Weyden’s Last Judgment, his monumental polyptych.  We walk to the Collegial Church of Sainte-Anne to view the splendid Netherlandish tapestries representing the Life of the Virgin commissioned by the lofty Burgundian Canon Le Coq.  We lunch as a group. In the afternoon, we drive north of Beaune to the powerful medieval stronghold of Chateauneuf and its castle, residence of Philip Pot, ‘chevalier de la Toison d’Or’ and high courtier and powerful counsellor and Chamberlain to all the Dukes of Burgundy. Together with Nicolas Rolin, he is one of the most influential men of Burgundy. Before returning to Beaune, we stop at the Chateau de La Rochepot where Philippe Pot was born; a fairy-tale 19th Century castle restored in the 19th century in the gothic style, where we stop for a visit and some wine tasting at the Terrace-Café Marlot. 
Check out of Beaune after breakfast. We drive to Autun, stopping at the Chateau de Germolles, a formal ducal residence given to Margaret of Flanders by her husband Philip the Bold at the beginning of the 15th century. After a drive by coach to Autun, Nicolas Rolin’s home town, we walk through the streets of this intimate medieval town. Ambitious, the Chancellor built a Collegial Church of Notre-Dame-Du-Chastel in 1426 (sadly burnt in 1793). For the family chapel, he famously commissioned one of the most significant and sumptuous devotional paintings of the Northern Renaissance, the ‘Rolin Madonna’ by Jan van Eyck (now in the Louvre). We walk in Autun’s cathedral and to the small Rolin Museum, the family house. We drive through the beautiful roads of the Morvan, notably through Noyers, a medieval village and stop in Tonnerre to see an important example of local patronage with the monumental sculptured Entombment of Christ in the impressive 15th century Hotel-Dieu des Fontenilles. We drive on to Troyes for the first night of 3. Dinner is at a local restaurant.
After breakfast, we walk in the small streets of timber-framed houses typical of the Champagne region in this delightful medieval city, yet rich in stunning 16th-century churches and sculptures of the Master of Chaource. Troyes’ churches are also renown for their original stained glass, and often tell the story of a Catholic community defying the upcoming Protestant reforms. We lunch as a group. We walk to the Vauluisant Museum to view a rare statue of Christ instituting the Eucharist. The rest of the day is at leisure. We regroup for dinner.
Leaving Troyes behind, we spend the day exploring smaller parishes in the region, driving through stunning rural lanes and medieval villages. We stop at Rumilly and Chaource, where their 16th-century churches are magnificent examples of Early Renaissance architecture in Champagne. We then visit the charming Church of Saint John the Baptiste in Chaource, and experience the viewing of the superb and poignant 1515 Entombment attributed to the Master of Chaource. Driving through Lirey, we make our way to the Abbaye de Vauluisant for lunch, a thriving Cistercian monastery in the 15th-16th Century until the Revolution. Nearby, we visit the church of Villeneuve-l’Archevêque to see another masterpiece of the Master of Chaource, a Deposition-Entombment originally commissioned by Vauluisant’s Abbot and active patron Pierre and his family for a funerary chapel in the 1520s. We drive back to Troyes where we have dinner.
We breakfast and check out of the hotel. After a short walk, we tour the ‘Grande Salle’, within the award winning ‘Grande Mediathèque’ which contains the unique collection, catalogued in 1472,  of Manuscripts from the Cistercian Abbey of Clairvaux. It has been registered with UNESCO in 2009 as ‘Memoire du Monde’. After lunch, we take the train back to London St Pancras.
Sapienza Travel has reserved rooms in the same category at both the Hotel Le Cep and Hotel Relais St Jeans. The hotels are small boutique hotels housed in historic buildings and therefore are slightly different in size, furnishing, and outlook. If you would like to receive a quote on higher categories of room, please contact us for a quote.

Flights - If you would like to fly BA Club class, please contact us, and we will provide a price for the upgrade.

Travel advice - Please refer the Foreign Office's website to make sure you are comfortable with the travel advice they provide for the destination(s) you are visiting. www.fco.gov.uk 

Activity level - Our tours involve a lot of walking, climbing stairs and standing still for periods of time. The historic centres of cities are often uneven and cobbled requiring everyone to be confident walking across them.

 
with
Veronique Biddell
Born and brought up in Paris, Veronique graduated from the Ecole du Louvre, where she specialised in Greek Archaeology. Selected for the Graduate Trainee Program at Sotheby’s in London, she worked for over a decade as an expert in 19th Century European Paintings and Watercolours as a Deputy Director. Since, she has been working freelance for a London publisher, and is a language teacher in the public sector. Veronique graduated with a Master’s Degree in History of Art at Birkbeck College, University of London. Her recent research has focused on the Early Renaissance in Northern Europe, in particular the changing attitudes to death, represented in popular monumental sculpted entombment groups of the 15th century.
Hotel Le Cep
Ideally situated in the heart of medieval Beaune, the capital of the Burgundy wine region, the luxurious 4-star Hotel Le Cep is just minutes away from the famous Hospices de Beaune and the Notre-Dame Basilica. The hotel extends over two private mansions, both with 16th-century courtyards. The hotel has been family-run for nearly 30 years, with the owners continually working to create an exceptional hotel.

Wood, antiques, trompe-l’oeil and Renaissance sculptures maintain the period charm throughout each one of the hotel's classic French bedrooms and the public rooms. Sunny courtyards and leather chesterfields by roaring fires provide year-round comfort for wine tasting and relaxation.

The hotel is next door to the Michelin-starred restaurant, Loiseau des Vignes in which you will dine during your tour with Sapienza Travel.
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