Insider’s Guide: Santenay, France

Part-time Naples resident Grace Evenstad tells what you need to know before visiting Santenay, France.

Photography by Carolyn Wells-Kramer

Part-time Naples resident Grace Evenstad has the Midas touch when it comes to making Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Together with her husband, Ken, Evenstad founded Domaine Serene Vineyards and Winery in Oregon’s Willamette Valley in 1989. A quarter of a century later, the Evenstads purchased Château de la Crée, a fifteenth-century estate nestled in Santenay, France. Channeling more than 600 years of winemaking history, the Château de la Crée label includes vineyards across the Côte de Beaune region. When in Santenay, the Evenstads enjoy all aspects of the vintner lifestyle and their Provençal setting, from strolling through small villages to savoring un verre de vin et du fromage.

VIBE Charming, historical, and friendly

BEST TIME TO GO April through October, when the weather is at its best and the vines are growing.

HOW TO START THE DAY Walk to the twelfth-century church in the hamlet of Saint-Jean then through the vineyards and Santenay-le-Haut.

MUST-DO ACTIVITY NOT IN THE GUIDEBOOKS A vineyard tour and wine tasting in the caves of Château de la Crée.

WHERE TO STAY Prosper Maufoux is a quaint, small bed and breakfast on the main square in Santenay. Hostellerie de Levernois ( in the village of Levernois is remote and romantic. And for urbanities, L’Hôtel de Beaune in Beaune has all the trimmings.

GO-TO RESTAURANT A favorite in Santenay is Le Terroir with its extensive wine list and scrumptious fresh salads.

BEST VIEW IN TOWN Pack a bottle of wine, some cheese, and a baguette and walk up to the top of the Montagne des Trois-Croix (Three Crosses) to watch the sunset and enjoy a stunning 360-degree view of villages, hills, vineyards, and forests.

AN OENOPHILE OUTING Visit the ancient cellars of Maison Joseph Drouhin that are underneath the city of Beaune.

A FUN CULTURAL ADVENTURE A guided tour of the Hospices de Beaune, which was founded in 1443 by the first owner of Château de la Crée.

A SOLO EXPERIENCE The spa at the charming La Cueillette, set in the beautiful vineyards of Meursault, offers a relaxing day of Fruitithérapie and other bespoke treatments.

WHERE TO SHOP The Beaune farmers market on Saturday and the Chagny farmers market on Sunday. The pharmacie located in Santenay is full of high-end beauty products not available in the States.

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