The Wonders of Dijon
Updated: Apr 20
last weekend I happened to return to Dijon, the capital of Bourgogne and Franche Comte. It was such a pleasure to be there again. It was a sunny wintery day. I remembered its unique colours from my previous press trip in autumn, and they were lustrous and bright. In my second trip, they were even brighter,
And what are they? You would like to know. In Dijon famously linked to its mustard,(Yes I imagined the mustard's tone dominates the city's decoration, but in reality, I perceived light yellow and blue. The royal blue and yellow manifest in some of the city's interior design and on the building's walls. The old heart of Dijon is exquisite with these old typical bourguignon's roofs construction and style. The monuments prosper of incredibly good and refined taste.
The first thing that struck me was the Darcy square. Darcy's name resonated in my ears, like one of the leading male romantic protagonists in Jane Austin's novel. However he was a significant engineer in Dijon, and he managed to regulate the flowing water system in the 19th century and has turned it clean and drinkable. It was named, after him- Darcy law.
There is a beautiful fountain with a waterfall, nearby the square, in the "Darcy Garden."
We all know the "Triumphal Arch" in Paris, in Dijon it is "la porte" de Dijon. The gate. It is pretty impressive as it makes you feel like you enter the city as an aristocrat, It is the entrance to the main street, "rue de la Liberté."
Beside the arch is a frog's fountain by Sculptor Max Blondat. Children look with curiosity and nativity at a frog. It is already an ideal prelude to Dijon, a city loaded with legends and tales.
In my first visit to Dijon I was accompanied by the charming guide Simon Langeron who shared with me his knowledge, and explained to me significant details about Dijon history and spirit.
Do you believe in an evil dragon's power or an owl's well-being spirit to chase the bad energy and bring all the good you wish?
Then, you are in the right place as Dijon faces the legend of the horrific dragon and the clever and wise owl. If you look above, you notice them exist on some of the monument's roofs. Or on pillars.
As in Brussel, everyone gathers around the -Manneken Pis, in Dijon, a sculpture of a mysterious owl from the 13th century situated on a side wall
of the church Notre-Dame attracts the public's attention. There is a belief that it can execute your wishes, and all you need to do is touch with your left hand on it and the right on your heart and make your wish.
There is a well-known walk in the town, where you follow the sign of the owl set on the ground, it will lead you to the central iconic monuments.
It was exciting to return to Dijon and have a second date with all these monuments, the
Church Notre- Dame de Dijon, which is the oldest cathedral in Dijon, and admire the gothic style of the Burgundy
With the numerous frightening gargoyles decorating the front of the Cathedral.
I thought that the city's old heart could be an adequate theater decoration for one of Victor Hugo's or Zola's novels.
The vibrant market was open on Friday morning, with lots of food stalls. Also, the covered market "Les Halles" was open with other choices of products such as fruits and vegetables. People seem to be relaxed and cheerful at the beginning of the weekend, as they were hanging around, looking for what to buy.
The connection to Paris is not only the gate that reminds of the Triumphal arch or the exact name Notre Dame but also Gustav Eiffel, the architect of the famous Eiffel Tower, was born in Dijon. The Dijonnais obviously are very proud of it. You will see a great carousel with motives from Eiffel's works, it captures your attention as you advance towards the main square.
in the historical square named after "François Rude," the sculptor who was from Dijon and built important sculptures, placed in the city. It is a charming square and a meeting point. There are many cafes and restaurants nearby.
There is a particular coffee house, which is more like an old tea house that one can't miss when visiting Dijon-" Le Comptoir des Colonies."
It is festive and classy inside, inviting you to plunge into the 18th or 19 century. It is friendly and cozy, and the waiter will serve you with a smile and courtesy, delicious coffee.
On every street corner, you will meet culture and style.
One of the first things you notice when you stroll in the paved streets of Dijon is how elegant this city is. the Palais du Duc de Bourgogne is so majestic and royal. Inside there is the town hall. It is located in a splendid square.
In the city there are some beautiful villas, ornamented with sculptures and their interior courtyards are very pretty and invite you to go inside them and look attentively around.
The culture is abundant in this city. There is a massive Fine Art Museum in the center of Dijon, it has an enormous collection of artworks, and there is a restaurant in the courtyard (which has a lovely atmosphere with gastronomic yet hearty cuisine )
It was late in the morning when I arrived there and was stunned by the light which was diffused on the building and the square. They were incredibly glowing.
Another fascinating museum to visit is not in the center but is relatively close by walking or a short bus ride: Le Consortium: It is a modern art museum. Artists worldwide represent there their creations. The architecture of this building and the choice of the collections are exciting
Not far from that area is an old beautiful Synagogue, one of the oldest in France. Inside I was astonished to find how decorative it was.
The Theater of Dijon looks like an old Roman building, and I was surprised to find out that there is a church that now serves as a theatre- Le parvis Saint-Jean.
It would be amazing to watch a performance in that space,
Dijon combines the ancient and the modernity, and I observed that it doesn't rely on its past treasures but continues growing and updating, searching dynamically on how to evolve with the time.
Regarding time. There is another interesting monument on that eternal theme, next to the post, a few minutes' walk from Darcy's square. On square Grangier.
I advise you to go to see it. "Le compteur du temps "by German sculptor – Gloria Friedman.
I even found among the various watches that show the time in different locations in the world, one of my own cities- Tel Aviv.
One of the extraordinary qualities that this city offers is gastronomy: its renowned mustard. ( la moutarde de Dijon) I thought it was the brand itself, but I discovered that the moutarde de Dijon is a well-known worldwide recipe.
So you will find the mustard, the gingerbread among other quality products, and of course the notorious wine, one of the sources of pride of Dijon.
Did you ever see mustard coloured green red or purple?
There are two lovely shops behind the Notre-Dame church specializing in mustard. One with a coffee and tea room, and I bought variously different mustard with different flavours and colours in the beautiful boutique "Edmond Fallot."
On the 6 of May, Dijon will inaugurate a unique site international of gastronomy, to celebrate its high quality of food and products. It will be in the historical center of an old hospital that transformed into a center of gastronomy and wine.
But not only wine and gourmand products, Dijon is also blessed with stunning surroundings and nature. I had a day trip with a guide Bruno Sotty. He told and showed me the wonders surrounding Dijon.
We went in October, discovering the nature around, elegant villas, as houses
with the typical Burgundy designed roofs. Some were covered by then in red leaves of autumn. I enjoyed tasting wine in the winery "le Chateau de Marsannay" where you can also
take guiding tours, and visit.
One impressive "Château du Clos de Vougeot." It is a medieval castle in the heart of Burgundy's vineyards. It hosts special celebrations, during my visit I enjoyed exploring the refined architecture and following the Imprints of the wine and its aroma inside the castle.
For a panoramic view over the city- I went up on the Tour of Philippe le Bon, in Dijon, On the rooftop. I had an overall, impressive view.
On my second visit to Dijon, I felt already familiar with its picturesque lanes and was thrilled to have a more profound observation of the city. I was strolling there carelessly on a lovely spring day.
Dijon opened generously its golden arms, to share with me more delicate tastes and secrets and make sure I would like to come back.
I stayed in the luxurious Grand Hotel de la Cloche. It was a superb experience to be in that elegant and so-comfortable hotel, just right by Darcy's square.
Restaurants – Le Dijon 19. Nice food in an original location,
For lunch, I ate in the restaurant Origine, by Tomofumi Uchimura with tasty and sophisticated dishes.
One of the things I love to do when I arrive in a new city is to try to find where are the nicest coffee shops. There is a good choice of cozy cafés. Many are found in the streets next to the cathedral Notre Dame.
I appreciated a lot the experience offered by the "morning glory café" for a quality roasted coffee and a friendly, layback atmosphere. I also noticed that they have a nice choice of dishes. It is a quirky, cool café in the picturesque rue Godrans
If you like pretty and smart hats, go to the wonderful shop " la chapllerie Bruyas" The shop is tinted with a yellowish-mustard colour..
The seller is particularly kind and helpful, the shop offers a large choice of unique hats.
Text and Images- Niva Josef