Dijon is considered to be one of the most beautiful historical towns in France, with its remarkable architectural heritage shaped by history. It is definitely a great cultural destination for its status a city of art and history and for being on the UNESCO World Heritage list with the Climates of Burgundy’s vineyard.
It is known for its beautiful well-preserved historical centre with picturesque streets and typical features from the colourful period of the Grand Duchy of Burgundy, and has been nicknamed the “town of a hundred bell towers.“ because of its so many belfries.
Dijon has evolved into a pedestrian friendly city, with friendly tramway lines and bicycle system, and a largely pedestrian centre.
It is also a huge reference for gastronomy, it is the home of mustard, pain d’epice (gingerbread), cassis (blackcurrant liquor),
Here are a few special gems of the city of Dijon.
The Palace of the Dukes of Burgundy and Tower of Philip the Good
In the heart of the historical town centre, “Le Palais des Ducs” (Palace of the Dukes and Estates of Burgundy) remains the most iconic of Dijon’s monuments, now hosting the City council at its central part. It also hosts the Fine Arts Museum, which has been fully restored with its museography also completely redesigned. Its 50 rooms display a collection of 1500 works of art. This museum boasts one of the richest collections to be found in France.
The Palace is strikingly dominated by the Tower of Philip the Good, a 15th-century look-out post. Climb the 316 steps to the top of it and it offers a panoramic view from a height of 46 metres above the city.
DIJON PALAIS DES DUCS ET DES ETATS DE BOURGOGNE from Ville de Dijon on Vimeo (in French)
The lucky Owl
This is the lucky charm of the people of Dijon, but not just!. It is a stone statuette of a small owl perched on the buttress of Notre-Dame church. Legend has it that, if you stroke it with your left hand, the owl will make your wishes come true!
The Gastronomy of Dijon
As a food and wine capital, Dijon is famous for its culinary specialities which include mustard, snails, crème de cassis, epoisse cheese, chocolate, and gingerbread… and with five Michelin-starred restaurants, a lively indoor market in the city centre and an international food fair, Dijon really is a gourmet city.
In 2021, the ” Cité internationale de la gastronomie et du vin” (international Gastronomy and Wine Centre) opened its doors to reveal an authentic new district in the centre of Dijon (see our special feature on this). It offers an exhibition area of 1700 m² devoted to French gastronomy and wines from the world over.
Dijon also features vibrant local gastronomical recurring venues that contribute to its reputation for the love of the culinary arts. You can enjoy Brunch at the Dijon market halls, unusual tasting venues like the “Wine Thursdays” or the “tower aperitifs” at the foot fo the Philipp the Good Tower.
Dijon will also join Tours, Lyon and Paris-Rungis to promote “Le repas gastronomique des Français®” (the French gourmet meal) and, more importantly, the Climates of the Burgundy vineyard.
A bit of shopping too
The historical centre is a classified “international tourism zone” where the core of 1200 boutiques stays open seven days a week, which is uncommon in France where stores are often closed on Sundays!.