I have always pined to visit France (who doesn’t dream about spending a day there?), and today we get a taste of that through the eyes of mother and daughter, Marjorie Taylor and Kendall Smith Franchini, of The Cook’s Atelier. Located in historic and charming Beaune, the wine capital of Burgundy, Marjorie and Kendall combine their passions for food, wine and French lifestyle, offering an epicurean centre, a wine shop, and cooking classes that bridge the gap between farmer and cook. Rooted in history, authenticity, family, and tradition, Beaune continues to make its mark on the map with people flocking from all over the world to enjoy its world-famous wineries and more. Centred around arguably some of the greatest things in life — seasonal food, wine, local markets, and flowers — today’s guide from Marjorie and Kendall features a taste (quite literally) of what beautiful Beaune has to offer through the lens of their business, all in support of small and local. –Sabrina
Photography by Emily Johnston and The Cook’s Atelier
Burgundy is the heart and soul of France. It is so rich in history, traditions, and terroir. Having lived in various other parts of France, I still find Burgundy one of the most beautiful and authentic regions. It’s located about 2 1/2 hours from Paris via high-speed train. Beaune itself is one of the most charming towns with a population of only 25,000 people. It is small, yet very international as many people visit to explore one of the greatest wine regions in the world. Beaune is surrounded by beautiful countryside and is home to some of the world’s most famous vineyards.
We love Beaune especially because it is still very real. We are so lucky to be able to find and work with real farmers who love what they do. We refer to our winemakers here as “farmers who just happen to grow grapes.” They are truly passionate. Wine-making is taken very seriously here, but unlike some wine-making regions in France, the winemakers here wear coveralls rather than a suit and tie. Beaune has one of the most beautiful markets in France and we especially love it because the landscape is ideal for growing good food.
Throughout our time in France, we have created a strong network of artisan food producers that we work with — farmers, organic gardeners, butchers, cheese makers, bakers, beekeepers — both to support small, local businesses as well as to give our clients the chance to see (and taste!) the best that Burgundy has to offer. We offer to our clients a glimpse of life in Burgundy through our hands-on market tours + cooking classes, cook’s workshops, seasonal suppers and wine tastings.
A typical Saturday Market day in Beaune
9am: Market days in Beaune are on Wednesdays and Saturdays. The Beaune market is really something special and is one of the most beautiful outside markets in France.
We like to head to the market first thing in the morning before the crowds get too large. We visit Madame Loichet for fresh flowers for the table.
We also visit Yan, for his organic vegetables and artisan cheese. We make a stop at our friends Yannick and Celine, for garden herbs for our window boxes, vegetable plants for our garden at chez Franchini and a barquette of French farm eggs. Next stop is, Monsieur Vossot on rue Maufoux, our favorite French butcher. Depending on the menu for the day, we might select a côte de boeuf, quail, a Bresse chicken or a slice or two of his homemade pàté or terrines. During the summer months, we will visit the Zacheries’ for their beautiful berries.
Market day isn’t complete without a trip to Alain Hess Fromagerie for a selection of French cheese, cream, and of course, our favorite ingredient, French butter.
Most days, if we don’t have a market tour + cooking class scheduled at our atelier, we enjoy “The Long French Lunch” with family and friends.
If we are out and about, we might swing by Lolo’s place, La Dilettante, on rue du Faubourg for a glass of pinot noir and a charcuterie plate.
3pm: We would recommend a visit to the Hospice de Beaune or Hôtel-Dieu de Beaune. It was founded in 1443 by Nicolas Rolin, chancellor of Burgundy, as a hospital for the poor. The Hôtel-Dieu is one of the finest examples of fifteenth-century architecture and is now a museum.
Depending on the weather, we might hop in our vintage 2CV, aka Madeleine, for a afternoon drive along the Route des Grands Crus, through wine villages such as Pommard, Volnay and Meursault.
If we are lucky, we might stumble upon a village vide grenier or brocante and search for treasures for our atelier and our online shop, The French Larder at The Cook’s Atelier. We are particularly fond of vintage French creamware, rustic cutting boards, mezzalunas and antique serviettes.
5pm: We swing by The Cook’s Atelier for an impromptu wine tasting and gougères in our wine shop, organized by Kendall’s husband and our go-to Frenchman, Laurent, featuring a favorite wine producer of the month.
8pm: For dinner, we enjoy a new hotspot, La Lune on rue Maufoux for a Franco-Japanese inspired menu. It is a tiny restaurant located just near Le Cep Hotel. The menu is fresh, seasonal and well-sourced. Reservations are highly recommended.
Places to stay
If you are looking for traditional accommodations, we would recommend Le Cep Hotel, Le Cèdre or our friends at Jardin de Lois. If you’d like to live like a local, be sure to check out our Pied-à-terre. It is a light-filled two bedroom apartment located near the market as well as some of our favorite restaurants. It has a small, but well-equipped kitchen for those who would like to prepare a meal at home. It is an adorable home-away-from-home for the inspired Francophile.
If you find yourself in Beaune, we hope you’ll swing by The Cook’s Atelier for your evening bottle of wine, cook’s tools + provisions, and glorious copper cookware. The Cook’s Atelier is really something special and a must-visit for every food and wine lover. We hope to see you soon.
(Image above: photo by Zio & Sons)
If you don’t find yourself across the pond, you can still enjoy perusing our online shop, The French Larder at The Cook’s Atelier. We recommend you enjoy your shopping with a glass of Burgundy wine. It’s the next best thing to being here in person!