Saulieu: a legendary property

Saulieu and its history

Saulieu is a town on the former Nationale 6 (now the D906), in the heart of Burgundy, at the cross-roads between the four departments that make up Burgundy: Yonne, Côte-d’Or, Nièvre and Saône-et-Loire.

The town was established by the Romans along the road which crossed  Gaul from north to south, and has always been a stopping-off point. That also explains why gastronomy is so important in the region: in the 1950s, for example, Saulieu was 5 hours from Paris by car, and it was a place to get something to eat and fill up the tank of the car. 

Alexandre Dumaine, the chef at L’Hostellerie de la Côte-d’Or, with its three stars, used to act as host in those days to the entire jet set of Europe, on their way down to the Riviera or over to the Alps.

This was the historic property that caught Bernard Loiseau’s eye and he decided to breathe life back into this legendary hotel. But with the arrival of the motorway, the airplane and the high-speed trains, everything changed. Now Saulieu is no longer somewhere where you have to stop – the A6 motorway takes you there to enjoy its gastronomy and to visit the Burgundy region.

Once you go through the main door of the Relais Bernard Loiseau, time stops and you find yourself in a welcoming and elegant cocoon, out of touch with your daily duties.

The Relais Bernard Loiseau is an experience of its own, that goes way beyond its exquisite gourmet table. It is a unique place, imbued with authenticity, genuine warmth, French way of life, and history. 

It is a key stepping-off point if you want to head in a variety of directions. Saulieu is located between Chablis and Beaune, between Auxerre and Dijon, between Beaune and Châtillon-sur-Seine, between the Auxois and the Morvan.

Alexandre Dumaine - ancien Chef restaurant

Bernard Loiseau’s classics

Guests who have never visited Le Relais Bernard Loiseau before want to discover Bernard’s very simple and utterly delicious cuisine. And so it features on the restaurant’s à la carte menu, which always offers his best-known classic dishes. Our regular guets also enjoy coming back to these dishes which haven’t aged in the least’explains Dominique Loiseau.

You can sample in the restaurant some of Bernard Loiseau’s classic dishes :
- Frogs’ legs with garlic purée and a parsley jus,
- Crispy-skin pike with shallot marmalade and red wine sauce,
- Breast of free-range chicken and pan-fried foie gras with truffled potato purée,
- Crispy calf’s sweetbreads with truffled potato purée,
- Pure chocolate desert rose with candied orange coulis.

Discover the legendary story of Bernard Loiseau.

   Discover la carte and the menus    BOOK YOUR TABLE

Dining rooms

The dining rooms in the restaurant combine the charm of beautiful Burgundy stone with attractive contemporary touches : generous raspberry drapes adorn the windows while silvery gauze lets in a gentle light, there are black leather armchairs and sofas – all of which give it an elegant charm. It invites you to ‘have a drink’ or peruse the restaurant menu while enjoying an aperitif.

Our restaurant, with its panoramic views over the gardens and grounds, comprises three dining rooms. Huge picture windows make you feel as if you were dining in the grounds themselves.

The famous painter Bernard Buffet was a great friend of the restaurant. There is another dining room which has been created in his honour and it is decorated with paintings exclusively by him.

In the summer season, you can enjoy an aperitif in the garden or on a huge terrace where you can choose either to soak up the sun or to sit in the shade of a silver birch or an ornamental pear tree, and listen to the sound of water from the fountains and to the birdsong. What’s more, in the summer season, a simpler, quicker menu is served on the ‘pool-terrace’ for guests who would like to relax and eat at the same time.

We also have a fully-equiped and private room looking over the garden, for your seminars or business meetings

   A la carte
Salle à manger Relais Bernard Loiseau - Saulieu

Breakfast in a legendary room

Start the day in the Alexandre Dumaine dining room, listed historical monument by Dominique Loiseau in 2010!

You can enjoy breakfast every day of the week in this legendary room which has retained its early 20th century décor, with decorative wood-grained panelling, glazed walls and arabesques on the wood-grained ceiling beams. The Perrusson ceramic floor has been preserved intact. There is a majestic handwritten book from 1951, which had served as a day book, which sits imposingly at the entrance to the room and confers upon it yet greater prestige. The portrait of Alexandre Dumaine, by an anonymous painter dated 12 November 1937, as well as menus and photographs, are displayed on the walls of the room.

Opening hours : daily from 7am to 11am. 

   Breakfast menu

The Côte d'Or in its hey day

In what is now the entrance hall, there is an engraving of the Côte d’Or Hotel back in 1875! The Côte-d'Or was purchased in 1904 by Paul Budin and his wife Elise. They provided the hotel with all the modern conveniences of the time: central heating and bath rooms. Their chef Jean-Baptiste Monin created the recipe for ‘jambon à la crème’, and this made his reputation and won an award at the Salon de Paris in 1924. As soon as stars for good restaurants were created by the Michelin Guide in 1926, the Côte-d'Or won one star.

The Budin family were owners of the property until 1930, when it was taken over by Alexandre Dumaine (1895-1974) and his wife Jeanne, who had already run well-known hotels in Algeria for nine years.

The Côte-d'Or was awarded its second star in 1931, and then a third in 1935 (held until 1964). The reputation of Alexandre Dumaine was then at its peak: he was spoken of as ‘cook to the kings’ and even ‘Alexander the Magnificent’. At that time the Côte-d'Or belonged to the ‘P.C.A.’ hotels (Paris-Côte d’Azur).

Amongst its guests from the worlds of  politics, art and literature, there was the King of Spain Alfonso XIII, the Aga Khan, Prince Rainier, General Juin, Sacha Guitry, Orson Welles, Vivien Leigh, Reynaldo Hahn, Mistinguett, Edith Piaf, Charlie Chaplin, Gary Cooper, Raoul Dufy, Salvador Dali, Rita Hayworth, Bernard Buffet... all of whose names can be seen in the guest book which is illustrated with drawings, paintings and photographs. This book, an account of more than thirty years of history, was burnt by Dumaine in his oven, furious at a stupid comment made by a guest. At that time, the Côte d’Or was the gourmet restaurant of choice, along with ‘Point’ in Vienne and ‘Pic’ in Valence.

Then François Minot took over the property from 1963 to1975. After that Claude Verger decided to acquire it and hand over its management to his protégé, Bernard Loiseau, whom he thought was very promising. The name Bernard Loiseau would henceforth be an integral part of the legendary Côte d’Or. He would be the architect of its fabulous renaissance.

Places to see around : Bontourisme

Bernard Loiseau pour la une du magazine La table et la route