Europe

24 Hours in Dijon

A paragon culinary capital in wine-mad Burgundy, Dijon is a wonderful (gourmand and gourmet) escape. Birthplace of that famous pungent mustard – a quintessential French ingredient if ever there was one, even if Canada provides the inherent mustard seed – the city is home to some of the best restaurants in France. Dijon, 150,000 people strong, is a city that takes wine, food and, indeed, culture very seriously. The vineyards of Burgundy – just outside the city – proffer some of the most desirable liquid gold in the wine world. Visitors must explore, without fail, the 60 km Route des Grand Crus, which snakes through the exquisite Côte d’Or escarpment, past scenic hill towns, pastures, farmland and vines galore.

Place Fran̤ois Rude, Dijon РPhoto credit

If you can spare more than a day in Dijon, do so. If not, tackle this top 10.

10. Cathédrale Saint-Bénigne de Dijon

Dijon Cathedral is a late 14th century gem but the original city church pre-dates the current one by close to 1,000 years. Well worth a few minutes of post-café au lait contemplative silence.

Where to stay: Mercure Dijon Centre Clemenceau

9. Jardin botanique de l’Arquebuse

A fine botanical garden just outside the heart of the city, within a verdant swath of parkland.

8. Musée de la Moutarde

How can you visit Dijon and skip the Mustard Museum? Sacrilege!

7. Saint-Seine-l’Abbaye

Some 30 km northwest of Dijon, the spectacular Saint-Seine Abbey is under the proverbial mainstream radar and a complete throwback to another time and place.

6. Abbaye de Fontenay

The Cistercian Abbey of Fontenay is one of the prime archetypes of Cistercian abbey architecture left in Europe. For that, UNESCO gave it a World Heritage Site pat on the back in 1981. 69 km northwest of Dijon (hit it up after Saint-Seine).

5. Musée Archéologique

Dijon’s modest but charismatic archaeological museum unfurls a strong collection of artefacts.

Where to stay: Best Western Hostellerie Du Chapeau Rouge

4. Puits de Moïse

The “Well of Moses” is a nonpareil sculpture monument by 14th century Dutch master Claus Sluter. Visitors can – and should – arrange a glimpse of it at the Centre hospitalier spécialisé La Chartreuse, about a 20 minute walk west of the cathedral.

3. Musée de la Vie Bourguignonne

The Museum of Burgundy Life is a wonderful, whimsical look at the traditional culture of the foremost region in France.

2. Palais des ducs et des États de Bourgogne

The Palace of the Dukes and Estates of Burgundy is, in our humble opinions, a future UNESCO World Heritage Site. A marvel of a linchpin landmark.

1. Musée des Beaux-Arts de Dijon

Within the palace complex, the excellent Fine Arts Museum of Dijon lures art history grad students from all over the continent. Familiar works by the likes of Brueghel the Elder, Rubens, Manet and Monet grace the gallery walls.

Where to stay: Sofitel Dijon La Cloche Hotel

Dijon City Guide

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