There can be few restaurants anywhere in the world with park-size gardens even approaching the beauty of those of the Hostellerie de Levernois on the outskirts of Beaune: manicured lawns and shrubs trained into sculptures; towering trees; a permanent stream with substantial fish (not carp); and Burgundy roses in abundance.
There are 25 rooms that are far less costly than one might imagine, a tariff that ensures a permanently full house. The restaurant, which takes bookings from all and sundry, has one Michelin star, but is obviously looking for a second; it has all the requisite space, the ambience and the immaculately-clad staff smoothly moving constantly around the floor.
I did not know it was listed in Michelin as a house specialty, but I urge first-time diners to have (as an entrée) Risotto carnaroli au vert, cuisses de grenouilles et escargots de Bourgogne – a frothy, pea-green tangy broth of al dente rice, de-boned frogs legs and snails. And so much more. We were the guests of Veronique Drouhin and husband Michel Boss, the 2002 Chassagne Montrachet Premier Cru (Morgeot, though not labelled as such) was a perfect bottle of wine starting to find full expression, and a 1992 Chambolle Musigny Les Baudes 1er Cru (the year Veronique Drouhin married and Vanya Cullen sang solo in the church as a surprise for Veronique) was in equally fine fettle.
Hostellerie de Levernois , 21200 Beaune; phone (03) 80 24 73 58; fax (03) 80 22 78 00; www.levernois.com; firstname.lastname@example.org