What to Do in Dijon

March 23, 2018 2:51 pm12 commentsViews: 72

Dijon, best known for its mustard, is often not given any other credit than for this colorful condiment. However, visitors will be surprised to learn that the city’s mustard factory and museum have shut down as a result of difficult economic times. This is no reason to pass up on a trip to Dijon, even just for a day.

Mustard will be the last thing on most visitor’s minds upon discovering inviting cobblestone streets lined with gothic and medieval architecture, green parks dotting the cityscape, free museums, and pleasant pedestrianized shopping streets. Everywhere throughout Burgundy’s capital, one can find regional specialities to taste.

Getting Around in Dijon

It’s beneficial to first stop by the tourist office in Dijon for a free city map. There is one located just minutes down the street from the train station on Avenue Foch/Place Darcy. Here, visitors can also purchase a map that gives a description of each main sight in Dijon.

Dijon is small enough to walk around, but for those plagued by tired feet, unaccomodating weather, or those who’d just like to relax, the free miniature shuttle bus is a great way to get from attraction to attraction and see the city. The green line on the city map shows its route and its stops throughout the city center.

Several other city bus lines operate within Dijon and its outskirts. Bus fares in 2009 cost 1 EUR or approximately 1.30 USD.

Dijon’s Owl Tourist Trail

The owl (la chouette), a symbol of Dijon, originates from a small owl found on the outside wall of the Gothic spired Notre-Dame church, guarded by hoards of gargoyles on rue (street) de la Prefecture. Good luck supposedly awaits those who touch it with their left hand. There are several gold owl plaques on the ground throughout the city center that denote a place of interest. Visitors should not miss the towering Abbey St. Benigne and its Burgundian style colorful, tiled roof.

Musée des Beaux-Arts

The art museum in Dijon is free of charge and wonderfully diverse. Its permanent selection ranges from early Burgund, Flemish, Italian, German, Swiss paintings to modern African art and French painting after 1960. Huge windows in the museum allow visitors to admire the medieval architecture on the streets as well. It’s a lovely place to get lost in for a few hours on a cold, wet or sluggishly warm day.

Specialities of Dijon France

Whether shopping around or tasting them at a cafe or restaurant, it’s worthwhile to spend some time enjoying regional specialities. Leaving the Musée des Beaux-Arts and walking out into the Place de la Libération, visitors will come upon a shop called Au Duché de Bourgogne.

The man inside is eager to help and provides pretzel sticks for a free Dijon mustard tasting. Each color in a rainbow of mustards, from tarragon green to black currant pink is recommended with a particular food or to make a salad dressing.

One of the most popular drinks in France, “kir”, originates from Dijon. This drink is made with Burgundy white wine and black currant cream. It’s a perfect excuse to stop sightseeing and people watch at a cafe.

Whether or not visitors choose to follow the trail of owls around Dijon or simply wander aimlessly, everyone who visits is bound to find something appealing, even if it is simply a taste of Dijon mustard.


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