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Discover Delectable Dijon in 1 Day
Come and take a stroll through its quaint streets with me ...
Dijon is a foodie destination not to be missed. If you have never visited before, it is well worth a day of your time to explore lots delicacies. Dijon is a really pretty place too. All the sites are within easy walking distance, so it makes a lovely place to spend a relaxing day or two.
Where we Stayed - Grand Hotel La Cloche
We based ourselves at the famous Grand Hotel La Cloche. It is a really luxurious place to stay and located right in the centre of Dijon – just perfect for a short break. Yes – there are cheaper options, but if you are only staying for a short time, why not treat yourself? See the Accommodation Review for more details.
When to Go
Late November is a lovely time to visit. There is s real buzz about town as all the Christmas decorations are going up. Slightly wobbly looking ladders reach high up to wonky balconies as garlands of lights and fir tree are carefully strung between them. The streets are quiet, the shop windows enticing and a myriad of cosy cafés and restaurants provide welcome warmth if the Winter chill starts to bite.
Dijon in 1 Day
I love a list me. When I have a lot to do, just writing it all down in a list makes me feel good. When I am on a trip, compiling a list of things I want to see and do brings a sense of purpose. Actually seeing and doing all those things then becomes strangely even more satisfying than it would have been without my list in hand.
If you like lists, then Dijon won’t disappoint you. I made two rather long lists for my day in Dijon: The Owl Trail and Dijon’s Delectable Delicacies.
Dijon in 1 Day - The Owl Trail
Dijon is a lovely old town whose buildings date back to the 13th century. History surrounds you during your visit here. The Tourist Office have put together a walking trail through all the many historical points of interest.
A day walking at a fairly relaxed pace was plenty of time to explore all of the 22 sites on the Owl’s Trail and 11 more on the Rousseau and Zola detour loops. That makes 33 sites in all, which is quite some list?!
The sites are connected by a network of pretty streets full of independent shops with irresistible windows. You have just a small flavour of the quaintness of the buildings and all ] the shopping delights that await you in the photos below. Most of the centre is pedestrianised too, so visiting on foot is a real treat.
Dijon - Must Do Sites
So – follow the owl on a journey through Dijon’s pretty streets. Look for the signs in the pavement and the squares that mark each of the must see sites.
If you are staying at the Grand Hotel La Cloche, the Owl Trail starts conveniently right outside the front door.
- Jardin Darcy – Guarded by the white polar bear you see in other places around the town
- Hotel de la Cloche – The Beautiful Facade
- Porte Guillaume – An 18th C triumphal arch that was once part of the ramparts
- Post Office – Place Grangier
- The Covered Market – (Tue/Thur/Fri/Sat). Look out for the famous Poulet Bresse!
- Place François Rude
- Rue des Forges and its grand 13thC buildings
- Notre-Dame – just a few 13thC gargoyles remain – the majority are false replicas
- The Owl – It is good luck to rub it with your left hand (the hand closest to your heart) as you pass by. The poor little thing is well worn these days, which hopefully means that many wishes have been granted?
- Maison Millière 1483
- L’Hotel la Vogüé Then take Rue Auguste Comte, which marks the start of the 6 stages of the Rousseau Loop which meanders through a district of medieval timber framed houses and arcades of antique shops, crafts people and traders. Look out for Rue Chaudronnerie – a foodie heaven with La Boutique de La Truffe where you can buy – amongst other delicacies – foie gras entière and Bourgogne Truffles.
- Place du Théâtre
- Place de la Sainte Chapelle – Museum of Fine Arts As well as housing a huge collection of artwork, this free museum is a good place to shelter if you are unlucky enough to have bad weather on your visit. Closed Tuesday
- Square des Ducs
- Palais des Ducs – Town Hall
- Tour Philippe Le Bon. In season (for a fee), you can enjoy an aperitif at the top as you take in the aerial view of Dijon. Or in cooler months, maybe a glass of hot wine and a slice of Dijon’s pain d’épices? Book at the Tourist Office, which is right by the Tower.
- Place de la Libération
- Palais de Justice (Law Courts)
- Private Mansion and Place Jean Macé – the start of the Zola Loop. If you are on a day trip, now might be a good time to stop for some lunch? See below for a pitstop suggestion.
- Saint-Jean and Place Bossuet
Lunch - Urbanités
A good place to stop for lunch before you explore the Zola Loop of the Owl Trail is Urbanités, 9 Rue Charrue. A typically French bistro serving a good and satisfying Plat du Jour (Today’s was Jambon with Moutard). They served a rather nice, light Beaujolais Nouveau with that too, which got the afternoon off to a good start!
Fascinating Facts - Poulet Bresse
Poulet de Bresse has appellation d’origins contrôlée status. It can be produced only from white chickens of the Bresse breed raised within a strictly defined area in the former province of Bresse in Eastern France. Dijon is just to the North of this area.
Around 1.2 million Poulet de Bresse birds are produced each year – a tiny proportion (circa 0.1%) of the total annual production of chickens in France. Around 200 breeders follow the strict controls in place to conserve the high quality standards in force. Their left leg carries a metal ring carrying the mark of the producer. They are traditionally sold with their head and characteristic dark blue legs still attached.
Of course, they command premium prices – but maybe – just maybe – this is the best chicken you will ever have tasted?
Dijon in 1 Day - The Zola Loop
Hidden Gem - The Museum of Burgundian Life
As you meander through the grooves, statues, interesting facades and beautiful windows strewn through the Zola Loop, be sure not to miss the fascinating Museum of Burgundian Life.
It is tucked away in the back streets of the Saint-Anne district, but is well worth seeking out and spending a good bit of time exploring the exhibits there. Unbelievably, it is free to visit – a real Hidden Gem!
This free museum has many carefully curated exhibits dating back to the 12th Century. You will also find delightful recreations of 11 of the shops that used to line the streets of old Dijon.
Peer inside the windows of the “modern” pharmacy, the furrier, the hat shop, the butcher, the furrier, the biscuit shop, the clockmakers, the toy shop and the hat shop.t. Imagine what life was ;ike back then.
Most intriguing of all for me though, take a look inside the hairdressers and the photographer’s studio …
Spot the rail of specially selected outfits you could choose to wear to pose for your family portrait or “selfie”.
Gaze at the lavish background shot you could be pictured against. Sport a hat you couldn’t afford to buy or stick your head through the portrait with the hole?!
The hairdresser’s is equally fascinating.
Dijon by Night
If you are visiting Dijon in the Winter, as we were, then the night will start to draw in pretty early and your thoughts will likely turn to where to sample some of the culinary treats that Dijon is famous for. Walking back through the town at night gives you a different view as the city lights begin to twinkle.
Dijon's Delicious Delicacies
Dinner - Hotel du Nord Restaurant Porte Guillaume
As thoughts turn to dinner, then I can highly recommend the Hotel du Nord Restaurant Porte Guillaume
This restaurant prides itself on offering gastronomy at low prices. It isn’t a cheap restaurant – but it is reasonably priced. They have a local seasonal menu priced at 38 euros for 3 courses.
A variety of local delicacies are available for entrées including jambon persillée and (if you are brave enough, which I definitely wasn’t!) burgundy snails. For the main course, we chose regional dishes of beef bourguignon and coq au Vin, (made with red label farmhouse chicken from Burgundy. Both were very carefully served at the table from copper pots, with not a drop of their delicious sauces spilt. The dessert menu is equally tempting and again, beautifully presented.
Now – it’s time for the second list of my stay – Dijon’s Delicious Delicacies.