Dijon, France is a charming, walkable town that offers lots of interesting nooks and crannies for the adventurous tourist. There are several museums, and fascinating churches as well as shops and restaurants galore.
Dijon is located in the heart of the Burgundy wine region of France, so the food is hearty and delicious”¦great cheeses, Beef Bourguignon and, of course Dijon mustard.
Follow the little owl pictures on the pavement to take the city walking tour. The owl (chouette) is the symbol for Dijon. Each numbered stage takes in a place of interest, and the whole trail can be covered on foot in around one hour. But there’s no reason to hurry, when you can take your time and enjoy the friendly atmosphere in the many museums, galleries, shops and cafés terraces! The trail starts just outside the Tourism Information Center on Place Darcy, in the heart of Dijon. The Chouette is carved on Notre Dame Cathedral, on the left side of the church as you face the front. Tradition has it that if you rub the owl it will bring luck to you and your loved ones.
Dijon Tourist Information Office
Open: May 1 to Oct 15, Mon to Sat 9am-noon and 1-6pm
Closed: Sun and Holidays
Tel: 03 80 44 11 44
Fax: 03 80 42 18 83
The Dijon Pass is your passport to Dijon that gives you free travel on local public transportation, and entry to 8 favorite attractions. It will give you many other benefits too, such as discounts on various leisure activities.
Tue, Fri and Sat 7:30am-12:30pm
In the streets surrounding Les Halles
Dijon Points of Interest
Palais des Ducs et des Etats de Bourgogne
This palace is the former residence of the Dukes of Burgundy, and later on, the seat of the representatives of the states of Burgundy. Today, the Palais des Ducs is one of Dijon’s most celebrated monuments, and houses the renowned Museum of Fine Arts, which boasts remarkable collections of Renaissance furniture, medieval objects and paintings from such masters as Monet, Courbet, and Gericault.
The church of Saint-Benigne de Dijon retains in its crypt one of the oldest Christian sanctuaries still to be seen in France. The crypt preserves its original layout -an inner circle ringed round by an arcade of eight columns and surrounded by another ring of sixteen columns, with a circular walkway outside this.
The church of Notre-Dame in Dijon, built from the 1220’s to the 1240’s, has aroused admiration for several centuries. Eugène Viollet-le-Duc described it as a “masterpiece of reason”. The building is considered to be one of the great monuments of Burgundian Gothic Architecture.Place Notre-Dame
Eglise Saint Michel (Saint Michel’s church)
Built 300 years after the completion of Notre Dame, the Saint Michael church was built in the Renaissance style. The lower part of the face, or façade, of Saint Michel’s church is a fine example of Renaissance architecture and has a richly decorated doorway that takes you on a time line through the region’s complex history.
Place Saint Michel
Hotel de Vesvrotte
Twenty antiques are embedded in one of the walls of the inner courtyard opening onto the rue Philippe Pot.
House of Jean Maillard, a former mayor of Dijon, the facade of this house built in 1560 is regarded as the finest example of the Renaissance style in Dijon. In the inner courtyard, three arcades supported by Atlantes, an asserted work from Hughes Sambin (ca.520-1601).
Palais de Justice
A former meeting house of the Parliament of Burgundy, this fine example of Gothic architecture, is renowned for its exquisite stained glass and flamboyant design. The beautiful 16th century building is the seat of the former parliament of Burgundy.
Place Emile Zola
Public executions used to take place on this square until the first half of the 19th century. It is now filled with sidewalk cafes and restaurants.
Eglise Saint Jean
Located in Dijon, open all year round and every day and admission is free. Formerly a church rebuilt in the 15th century, Saint Jean now houses the Burgundy National Theater.
Place de la Liberation
Located in Dijon, open all year round and every day and admission is free. This square was designed in the 17th century by Jules Hardouin Mansart to embellish and complete the ducal palace.
Place Francois Rude
The fountain located in the middle of the square is topped with the statue of Bareuzai treading out grapes with his feet in the traditional manner.
Rue de la Liberte
Rue de la Liberté is the city’s shopping thoroughfare. The Maison Aux Trois Visages, the Milliere Watchtower, and the clock on the opposite corner are popular meeting places for all the Dijonnais
Musée d’Art Sacré
The Museum of Sacred Art is housed in the church of the former Bernardine Convent and contains works of art, sculptures, paintings, textiles and gold and silver plate from the 12C to the 20C. The Museum contains sculptures, paintings, furniture and liturgical vases relinquished by the Church on the occasion of various religious reforms. The tribunes, which are open to the public during guided visits, include a major collection of liturgical vestments and ornaments, for the most part from the 18C and 19C.
The museum was established in 1947 in the transept of the church of Saint-Etienne, built in the middle of the 11C (the nave was reconstructed in the 18C). It presents casts of works by the Dijon Sculptor François Rude (born in Dijon in 1784, died in Paris in 1855). Between 1887 and 1910, the Town council acquired or commissioned casts of Rude’s principal works of this illustrious works in order to make this illustrious artist better known.
Musée des Beaux Arts
The Musée des Beaux-Arts in Dijon is one of the oldest museums in France. It is also one of the most impressive not only in terms of its huge collections ranging from Egyptian art to the 20C but also because of the historical interest of the museum building itself – the Palace of the Dukes of Burgundy.
Dijon Restaurant Recommendations
Dame Aquitaine $$-$$$
This fine Dijon restaurant offers French southwestern cuisine, full of flavor with a wonderful blend of regional cuisine. The foie gras and duck in confit, come from Pau; the coq au vin, snails, and lapin a la moutarde (rabbit with mustard) come from Burgundy. The prices are reasonable considering the quality of the food. The dining room, in a medieval crypt, is atmospheric.
23 place Boussuet
Tel: 03 80 30 45 65
Open: Mon dinner, Tue – Sat lunch and dinner, closed Sun
The refined menu at this Art Deco restaurant changes regularly, but cabbage stuffed with snails, prawns with peas, truffles, and sorbets in black-and-white chocolate are among the tours de force. It’s also a remarkable value for the money. Reservations are essential and jacket and tie are required.
10 pl. Wilson
Tel: 03 80 67 74 64
Open: Sep-Jul, Mon dinner only, Closed: Sun
Le Bistrot des Halles $$
This little Dijon restaurant, located across the street from the central market in the old center of Dijon, offers a number of regional specialties such as Jambon Persel. One of Burgundy’s six great master chefs, Jean Pierre Billoux is the cook. This is a good, no-nonsense bistro where you will not have to pay a fortune for delicious, honest food in pleasant surroundings.
10 rue Bannelier
Tel: 03 80 49 94 15
Open: Lunch daily, dinner Mon-Sat only
La Compagnie Bourguignonne des Oenophiles La Toison d’Or $$
La Compagnie Bourguignonne des Oenophiles brings together in one place a gastronomic restaurant, a 3 star hotel, a wine tasting cellar and a seminar center. In this imposing building, constructed during the 15th and 17th centuries, you will discover one of the jewels of architecture , a Gothic courtyard, as well as a collection of figurines. All stand as invitations to taste the finest vintage Burgundy wines, savor the delicacy of the dishes or simply appreciate the serenity of the moment. Reservations required. We enjoyed both the atmosphere and the excellent cuisine.
18 rue Sainte-Anne
Tel: 03 80 30 73 52
Open: Lunch Mon-Sun, Dinner Mon-Sat
Dijon Hotel Recommendations
Sofitel Dijon La Cloche 4-Star
I love Sofitel Hotels and La Cloche is no exception. A wonderfully traditional hotel near Jardin Darcy, the La Cloche has spacious rooms with extremely comfortable beds in the “heavenly bed” category. All the amenities and darn good restaurant food.
14 place Darcy
Tél : 03 80 30 12 32
Hostellerie du Chapeau Rouge 4-star
This charming 16th century Dijon hotel is situated in the old part of town, near the imposing Saint Bénigne cathedral and 5 minutes walking from the railway station. It is a fully air conditioned hotel with bar, three meeting rooms and gastronomic restaurant.
5 rue Michelet – BP 52408
21024 Dijon Cedex – France
Tél : 3 80 50 88 88
Philippe le Bon 3-Star
This Dijon hotel is modern on the inside, but classical on the outside. The rooms are very clean and modern and the service is outstanding. It is associated with the wonderful Les Oenophiles restaurant.
18 rue Ste. Anne
Tel: 33 03 80 30 73 52