Dijon France Tour Guide by Lisa Hovis
France's flag above the PréfectureMy favorite Dijon café:  Café de la PréfectureSunflowers at my favorite Dijon floristOld steps at ChataeuneufPastries from my favorite Dijon patissierBurgundy LandscapeThe chouette on Dijon's Notre DameVive l'Orangina!Flowers at the Dijon MarchéLe Jacquemart at Notre Dame, Dijon France
See Dijon, France, through the eyes of an American woman who had the privilege to call it 'Home'

What to do in Dijon

The list is exhaustive. There are SO many things to do in Dijon. Look at it this way: I lived in France for two years, and after taking walks around centre ville nearly every day, I could still find something new. Even if it's something small, like a dragon head carved into the corner of a wooden door. Start with a visit to one of the tourist offices and get a free map. For a small fee, you can also purchase brochures with Dijon walking tours. Their newest walking tour brochure is titled "Dijon le Parcours de la Chouette". The "chouette" they are referring to is the owl carved on Notre Dame, which you see in one of the little photos on the top of this page. Don't forget to rub the owl with your left hand to bring luck to you and your loved ones!

  • Shop! Dijon has something for everyone on your list. There are hundreds of quaint & innovative shops. See my 'favorites' page for my top picks!
  • Antiquing - many antique stores are in the quarter around rue Verrerie behind Notre Dame. And on the 3rd Sunday of every month, from 9am - 7 pm, the antique district stores are all open, with vendors in the streets as well.
    Antique Day in Dijon France
  • Visit the canal - the Burgundy canal was constructed at the end of the 18th century. See the obelisk and a monument to Gustave Eiffel, who was born here in 1832. Take a ride down the canal on a tour boat.
  • Just walk, walk, walk! Use the suggested walking routes by the city, or just walk where your legs take you. As long as you stay within the "center village" area, you'll always have something beautiful and different to admire.
  • Sit in one of the many charming parks and enjoy the scenery. Or lay in the grass, close your eyes, and dream.
  • Summer? Check out Lake Kir and the beach! There’s real sand, changing rooms, showers, and beach chairs available. There’s also a beach volley ball area!
  • Rent a bike at Lac Kir! 06 32 35 22 16. There is a store at 7, avenue du 8 Septembre called 'Bourgogne Randonnees' that rents bikes. They also have info on self-guided tours you can take.
  • Borrow a new Velodi bike! Purchase your abonnement 'formule liberte' on-line for 1 Euro, and for 7 days you can ride as you'd like for 0,50 Euros/1/2 hour up to 2 hours. Great for quick bike riding around centre ville with 40 pick-up and drop-off stations!
    One of the many Velodi bike stations around Dijon
  • Shop at Les Halles - Dijon's historic market. Gustave Eiffel, born in Dijon, designed les Halles! Find everything you desire (to eat) on Tuesday, Friday, and Saturday mornings from 9-1. You'll also find antique vendors, clothes & jewelry vendors...tapestries...you name it.
    Les Halles in Dijon France
  • Enjoy a speciality of Dijon: Kir, a delicious mixture of white wine (aligote) and cassis liquor, was invented by one of Dijon's former mayors, Canon Kir. Also --- try escargots burguignon (snails in garlic parsley butter), coq au vin (chicken in wine sauce), boeuf bourguignon ( beef in wine sauce), jambon persille (ham cooked in a terrine with fresh parsley and served cold), pain d'epices (spiced bread), anis bonbons (candies made in the Flavigny abbey), Bresse chicken (poultry from the Bresse region and the only animal produce permitted to use the Appellation d'Origine Controlee designation in France)...the list goes on.
  • Take one of the bus lines to the end of the run! Who knows where you might end up. Stay for a few minutes...stay for a day! And check out the new Diviaciti line, a free bus line that has a route around centre ville M-Sat from 7am-8pm.

Palais des Ducs Dijon France

Palais

  • The Palais des Ducs et des Etats de Bourgogne - topped with the tour Philippe le Bon, a witness to the original ducal residence. The palais was embellished in the 17th and 18th centuries, first by Jules Hardouin Mansart (architect of Versailles), then by Jacques V Gabriel. In the ancient Tour de Bar, Rene d'Anjou, the Comte de Provence was imprisioned. Near the Tour de Bar you can admire the 15th century ducal kitchens and in the cour de Bar, enjoy the 20th century statue of Claus Sluter by Henri Bouchard. The east wing of the the palace houses the Musee des Beaux Arts. Across the Place de la Liberation, stroll by the shops enclosed in the semi-circular seventeenth-century classical style facades.
  • la Tour Philippe le Bon - La Tour was built between 1450 and 1460. Open: Summer (from Easter to the third Sunday in November) open everyday from 9am to 530pm. In winter, open Wednesdays from 130pm to 330pm and on Saturdays and Sundays from 9am to 330pm. Reduced tarif for groups and students. Information call 03 80 74 52 71. Buy your tickets at the Welcome Center in the Cour d'honneur de l'Hotel de Ville. Groups taken up every 1/4 hour by a guide. If you can climb the 316 steps to the top, you will be rewarded with a magnificent 360-degree view of Dijon. The tower reopened May 12, 2001 after being closed for five years. Don't miss this opportunity!

Parks - there are smaller parks in Dijon, but these are the two 'major' parks:

  • Parc de la Colombiere - This awesome park is almost 82 acres, featuring 6,000 trees! Created in 1672 by Antoine de Maerle, a student of Le Notre, and the designer of the gardens of Versailles, connected to the center of Dijon by an avenue named les Allées du Parc-, "la plus belle allée de mon royaume", said Louis XIV of the 1 1/2 km-long avenue. Today, the wider and paved street is named Cours du Parc. The pack is a popular Sunday destination; kids love the animals on site. And you can rent a bike for two!
  • Le jardin Darcy - Named after inventor Darcy, the garden was created in 1880. There is a beautiful stone fountain, and lots of green space to put a blanket down. There is a playground here for your children to enjoy.

Roman Road, Parc de la Colombiere, Dijon

Museums - most are free!

  • Jardin de L'Arquebuse Ave Albert 1er, is Dijon's celebrated botanical gardens
  • Musee de la Moutarde, 48 quai Nicolas Rolin
  • The Musée des Beaux-Arts, one of France's oldest and richest museums. Boasts exceptional sculpture and a collection of 14th - 19th century European paintings. The tomb of Philippe the Bold is here, made between 1385 and 1411 and is considered the best in France.
  • The Musée Magnin, 4 rue des bons enfants, with its beautiful seventeenth-century architecture and its large collection of paintings accumulated by the Magnin family over the years.
  • The Musée Archéologique, 5 rue du docteur Maret. The archaeological museum has some interesting finds, including Celtic jewelery.
  • The Musée de la Vie Bourguignonne, celebrating folkloric costumes, farm implements, and even some storefront facades removed from Dijon's center in the 18th and 19th centuries. Located in the old Bernandine Convent on rue Saint Anne.
  • The Musée d'Art Sacré, with its collection of church treasures, is housed in the Bernandine Convent chapel.

Churches and Cathedrals

  • St-Bénigne church, Dijon's own gothic Cathedral, is a masterpiece of Romanesque art in Burgundy. Saint Bénigne is Dijon's patron saint, and the cathedral of Saint-Benigne de Dijon has an interesting crypt to visit that is dated from 1007! The crypt includes a small rectangular chapel in which the relics of Saint-Benigne were venerated. The crypt is believed to be one of the oldest Christian sanctuaries still visitable in France.
  • Notre-Dame, an impressive thirteenth-century Gothic church housing a 12th century statue of the Black Virgin, one of the oldest in France. Plus see the original 13th century stained glass windows. Don't forget to rub the owl on the outside of the church with your left hand for good luck. A 700 year old tradition! Notice the Jacquemart clock perched on top of the church. Dating from 1383, it was taken from the belfry of Courtai and brought to Dijon by Philippe le Hardi.
  • Saint Michel - lower facade an excellent example of Renaissance architecture. The 16th century building has a triple portal common to 13th century French cathedrals.

saint michel church in Dijon France

Renaissance houses

  • The Rue des Forges, and its sixteenth-century Hôtels particuliers
  • The Hôtel Chambellan - nowadays the tourist office on rue des Forges. Stunning gothic courtyard. Get a look at the former vaulted kitchen where the office is located.
  • The homes located behind the palais' circular section are among the oldest in Dijon. You'll see awesome representations of ancient architechture.

Dijon Mustard

  • Amora mustard museum - Reserve your spot at the Dijon Tourist office. Ask about English tours. When I went only French was spoken. Space is limited. Museum is located in the manufacturing plant at 48 Quai Nicolas Rolin. There are tours everyday except Sunday at 3pm.
  • Boutique Maille mustard store at 32 rue de la Liberte. This 18th century company is a Dijon institution you must see! You can buy mustard here that isn't available anywhere else in the world!

Craftspeople

  • Artisan Tapissier - restores fabric as well as reupholsters furniture. Le Lambrequin, 18, rue Fevret, 03 80 65 41 75
  • Painter - Berthine Marceau's store called "Les apres-midi de Berthine" at 18, rue Charrue 06 82 71 55 72. Open Tues-Saturday 3-6:45. Charming paintings of local scenes, plus lots of other things she has created!
  • Restorers - Ateliers DEILLER-DUCATEL at 17 rue Bieriot 03 80 74 01 27. These artisans restore and save all kinds of objects - paintings on canvas, paper objects, statues, vases..
  • Wine barrels, presses, and lots of other wood objects, plus ceramic art - Art et Tonneaux 5, rue du Havre 03 80 55 54 75
  • Jewelry Designer - Fabrice Lecanu - 2eme etage 3 rue Quentin 03 80 30 21 25
  • Make your own jewelry - Creations Nature et Perles - Centre Dauphine (by the Monoprix entrance) 03 80 30 18 62. Lots of neat supplies to make really innovative items.
  • Etat d'Espirit - 1 bis rue Verrerie 03 80 50 18 27 - really neat objects, silk collars, illuminated sculpture, interesting vases....
  • Framer - L'Encadruer Christian Tiercin, 30 rue Charrue, Tues-Sat 9-1215 and 2-715. 03 80 30 76 56. This is a man who is passionate about framing. Creating the perfect frame for your piece of art is an artform to itself. As a former framer, I relate!
  • Artisan Bottier - Atelier Duval makes classic shoes, personalized boots, 18th, 19th, & 20th century style shoes, clown shoes, medieval shoes! 39-41 rue Parmentier 03 80 74 19 74 duval.bottier@wanadoo.fr
  • Atelier de sculpture Regine Caudwell - 15, impasse Prosper Mignard 06 12 33 23 71 - Amazing bronze work!

Nightlife

  • Le Prive Club- 20, ave Garibaldi
  • Le Blue Note - 13, ave Marechal Foch, 03 80 53 19 53
  • Le Chat Noir - 20, ave Giribaldi 03 80 73 39 57
  • 974 Discoteque - 131 ave Gustave Eiffel, 03 80 45 26 42
  • Le Colors, rue Bossuet, Centre Commercial Dauphine, 03 80 54 21 97
  • Sunset Dancefloor, 9 ave Foch, 03 80 42 96 00
  • Atmosphere Internationale, 7 rue Audra, 03 80 30 52 03 - International students get free entry
  • Caveau du Tempo - 1 bis rue Charles Poisot, 03 80 41 72 58
  • Le Carre - 19 rue Marguerite Yourcenar - three halls with rock, disco, & retro dancing, 03 80 30 52 03
 

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Additionally, all photos on this site are the property of Lisa Hovis. They cannot be reproduced, copied, altered, sold, or used in any way without written permission.