This is a post of a lovely, walkable city that will charm all wine, gastronomy and history lovers.

From Markets to Mustard! This capital of Burgundie is calling you to get all its tastes. And you will not know all of these existed!

The province was home to theĀ Dukes of BurgundyĀ from the early 11th until the late 15th century, and Dijon became a place of tremendous wealth and power, one of the great European centres of art, learning, and science. The Dukes of Burgundy controlled a big tranche of eastern France, the Netherlands, Flanders and Luxembourg.

The Palace of the Dukes and the States of Burgundy (Palais des Ducs et des Etats de Bourgogne) is arguably the most iconic monument in Dijon and even in the Burgundy region. A visit to Liberation Square (Place de la LibĆ©ration) to admire the spectacular palace is a must-see when visiting Dijon in one day. Its mix of architectural styles testifies to its historical importance. Itā€™s been listed as a historical monument.

You can find it at Place de la LibĆ©ration. This is the most important square of Dijon. Down through the centuries, the square has had many names. Upon completion in 1686, it was dubbed the Royal Square. During the French Revolution (from 1789 until 1799), the statue of Louis XIV that stood at its center was destroyed and the square was renamed Place dā€™Armes. It was subsequently named Imperial Square under the Empire in 1804, Royal Place during the Restoration in 1814, and once again was known as Place dā€™Armes in 1831 under the Monarchy of July. During the German occupation in World War II, it was renamed Marshal PĆ©tain Square. Finally, in 1944, it was given its current name, Place de la Liberation.

From this square you can straight your view on Saint Michael church. Towering 16th-century church with an intricate Gothic facade. Quite monumental and grandiose.

The city has retained variedĀ architectural stylesĀ from many of the main periods of the past millennium, including Capetian,Ā Gothic, andĀ Renaissance. Many still-inhabited town-houses in the city’s central district date from the 18th century and earlier. These are called colombage.

These half-timbered houses in Dijon are tucked into a narrow lane in the historic old town. They are known as theĀ maison des trois visages, or house of three faces. Look closely, however. Though they may look like three separate houses but they are actually two; one was modified to have two gables instead of one.

These oldest remaining half-timbered houses in Dijon, which date from the 15th century, have a distinct Alsatian influence (the Alsace region in north-eastern France and is famous for its its colorful half-timbered houses). Snoop around a little more and you will come upon a street where almost all the buildings exhibit half-timbered style. Fittingly, many of them are antique shops.

Dijon’s architecture is distinguished by, among other things,Ā toits bourguignonsĀ (Burgundian polychrome roofs) made of glazedĀ terracottaĀ tiles of various colours arranged in geometric patterns.

The Church ofĀ Notre-Dame of Dijon is a masterpiece of 13th-centuryĀ Gothic architecture, it is situated at the heart of the preserved old centre of the city. The church contains the statue of Notre-Dame de Bon-Espoir, formerly called theĀ Black Madonna. The church’s decorations also include two symbols of Dijon: theĀ jacquemart (bell-striking automaton)Ā and the owl.

So what’s the story with the Magic Owl of Dijon? For over 300 years this little carving has been the cityā€™s good luck charm.Ā She is carved into a corner of the oldest church in Dijon as the cityā€™s symbol and unofficial talisman.Ā If you touch it with your left hand and make a wish, your wish will come true. Nobody knows why it was added – but here we are – with the mysticism.

In the stylish old centre youā€™ll have fun discovering more of the history and the people. Rue des Forges is in the cityā€™s conservation area, and is both a favoured shopping artery and a way to admire some the cityā€™s most handsome old buildings. Wedged between the posh boutiques are mansions belonging to distinguished inhabitants from Dijonā€™s history.

Dijon Cathedral, or theĀ Cathedral of Saint Benignus of DijonĀ (French:Ā CathĆ©drale Saint-BĆ©nigne de Dijon) isĀ a GothicĀ monument building, from 13th century. Philip IIIĀ orĀ Philippe le Bon (14th century) wasĀ Duke of BurgundyĀ of theĀ Valois dynasty found his resting place here. During his reign, theĀ Burgundian StateĀ reached the apex of its prosperity and prestige, and became a leading centre of the arts.

My favourite part is Dijonā€™s covered market called Les Halles. It is an official monument historique and was constructed of cast iron and glass in the 1870s. Very art nouveau. City markets in France are always something to see, but few are as large or beautiful as this one. I noticed the animal motifs in the spandrels between the great arches, the medallions of Ceres (Greek harvest goddess) and Hermes (god of trade). We havenā€™t even got to the food yet, which eye-opening to say the least.

So many French staples come from around Dijon. Thereā€™s Coq au Vin, the mustard, the Burgundian wine, the onion soup… theĀ Beef bourguignon – the classic braised beef stew…!

I couldn’t resist but not visiting one of the caves and doing some wine tasting and shopping. The most famous wines produced here, and those commonly referred to as “Burgundies,” areĀ dryĀ red wines made fromĀ pinot noirĀ grapes and white wines made fromĀ chardonnayĀ grapes. I bought myself a chablis. šŸ™‚ The story must be continued…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.