Dijon, France – What to Do, See and Eat

categories: europe travel

Oldest mustard shop in the world, Dijon - Burgundy

Mustard, but More

Dijon.  You’re thinking mustard, aren’t you?  But there is so much more to this French provincial city than the spicy stuff.  Beyond the Musee de la Moutard (Museum of Mustard), the capital of Burgundy is almost like a mini Paris, dotted with elegant boutiques, aromatic bistros, pampered pooches and medieval buildings.

What to See

For a little taste of Dijon’s delights follow the Owl’s Trail (Parcours de la Chouette).  The cute triangular owl tiles embedded into Dijon’s footpaths lead you to Dijon’s top 22 attractions with the accompanying brochure available from the Tourist Office.

If you’re short on time, it’s a great way to ‘tick off’ Dijon’s must-sees, but if you linger a while you’ll be rewarded with fascinating glimpses of history, stunning architecture, unique shopping and a delectable treat or two.  As a bonus, families travelling with children will enjoy a rare opportunity to visit boring old buildings in peace with the kids only too happy to find the next stop by spotting another owl tile.

Along the way you’ll discover the Dukes’ Palace which despite its warrior history is a work of art in its own right but now also houses the Museum of Fine Art.   The cobbled laneways are dotted with shops selling everything from chain store fashions right through to antiques, and if you happen to find yourself at Les Halles (the market) on a Tuesday or Friday, expect a feast for the eyes as well as all the gorgeous fresh produce its purveyors are so rightly proud of.

...and day

What to Eat

By now, you’re probably ready to pause and take in the tranquillity of the Botanical Gardens, the Jardin de l’Arquebuse and then boost the energy levels with a sugar fix from Le Rose de Vergy gingerbread shop.

The Porte Guillaume on Place Darcy, will probably remind you a lot of the Arc de Triomphe and just like Paris, Dijon has its very own Notre Dame church, this one crawling with mean looking gargoyles.  Built in the early 1200s, it also supposedly has a small stone owl carved into one of its corners.  Stroke this owl and, superstition has it, you will be granted wisdom and happiness.  I say the owl is supposedly there because, clearly in need of the wisdom it bestows, we weren’t clever enough to spot it.

What to Drink

We may have missed out on the wisdom part but Dijon yielded more than enough happiness, thanks in no small part to its proximity to the vineyards of the Routes Des Grand Cru and the world famous Burgundy wines it produces.

la chouette

Nevertheless I feel obliged to continue my pursuit of wisdom, particularly if it involves the ongoing consumption of delicate patisserie and the occasional sip of a Grand Cru wine along the way.

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by Dani Bellamy

Dani Bellamy is a professional writer, who loves travelling. She is currently exploring the fascinating world of collectable Japanese erasers and Kids Pencil cases at this uber Cool Pencil Case site www.coolpencilcase.com.



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