My husband came to Dijon for 3 days of work, so I decided to come with him. Usually on work placements he is alone for the journey there and back, but also in the evenings and for dinner etc. So, I thought this time I would come along to keep him company but also so I can explore Dijon a bit during the day.
I have never been to Dijon before and wasn't sure what to expect but I actually really liked the city. It seems like a student city and a great place for young people, as there are lots of nice restaurants, cafes and shops to look around.
Whilst we were in Dijon we had some regional food. I had some snails, which isn't unusual for me as we have them quite often at my in-laws house, but they were cooked differently. They were in a delicious garlic sauce and served by 6 as a starter. I also tried a beef bourguignon which comes from this area of France. Again, it was very delicious and I'm glad I got to taste this dish whilst in this area.
I had a wonderful couple of days visiting this beautiful city, but I'm not sure that I would come back. The reason being that after the first day, I felt like I had already seen everything there was to see in Dijon. It's a small city where you can walk around very easily, which is lovely, but it also means that you can quickly see all of the churches, buildings, shops etc.
I would recommend coming here if you're in France and wanting a city that you can visit for a day or maybe a weekend, however, I wouldn't come for more than 2 or 3 days.
Whenever someone talks about Dijon, the first thing that comes to mind is mustard! So I visited several mustard shops while in Dijon. The most famous mustard brand is Maille. Maille sells lots of different flavours including 'Raspberry & Basil', 'Green Herbs' and 'Dried Tomatoes & Piment d'Espelette'.
You can also buy gift boxes of Maille mustards which I quite liked the idea of. It would be a perfect Christmas present for someone you know who loves mustards and unusual food combinations!
Close to the Dijon train station is this cute little park called Jardin Darcy. It has a pretty water fountain with benches all around. The steps at each side lead up to more benches under some beautiful trees and a little monument.
This is a nice quiet place in Dijon to come for lunch, a picnic, a walk or even just somewhere to sit outside. It was quite a popular place with locals having lunch together in the summer sunshine.
Eglise Notre Dame de Dijon
There are lots of churches in Dijon, but this was one of my favourites. I really liked the gothic architecture and the almost gloomy & mysterious interiors.
This church is also famous for having the bird carving on the outside wall. It's supposed to represent an owl which, if you place your left hand on it while making a wish, is meant to bring you good luck. I'd love to say it worked for me, but I couldn't get anywhere near it with the crowds of tourists!
Eglise Saint Michel de Dijon
Another church! This one was situated towards the East of Dijon but it was still close enough to the centre to walk to. I loved the outside of this one as it reminds me a little of the Eglise Saint Sulpice in Paris, which was one of my favourites when I lived there.
I really liked the entrance to this church with the columns and figures around the door. It's very typical of a lot of French churches so it has a lovely familiarity to it. It's entrance is similar to that of the Notre Dame in Paris.
Musée Rude is an art gallery/museum just next to the Eglise Saint Michel de Dijon towards the East of the city. François Rude was a famous sculptor from Dijon who made the 'Départ des Volontaires' which adorns the Arc de Triomphe in Paris along with several other famous pieces.
The Musée Rude (formally The Church of Saint Etienne) houses some plaster casts of Rude's most iconic works such as Napoleon and Joan of Arc. Next to the sculptures are the Roman remains and a crypt dating from the 3rd century.
Dijon Cathedral, also known as 'The Cathedral of Saint Benignus of Dijon' is a beautiful and huge Roman Catholic church in the centre of Dijon. It's a gorgeous old church with lovely white interiors and decorations.
I particularly like the huge organ at the back of the church. I think people often look towards the front of churches and don't look at what's behind them, and usually the back is my favourite section.
Tip : there is a great little Irish pub facing this church which does Happy Hour called Flannery's. You're welcome!
Place de la Liberation
I'll be honest, I didn't research Dijon before visiting, so whilst wandering around I stumbled upon Place de la Liberation. It's a beautiful huge square with restaurants & cafes both sides looking onto the Hôtel de Ville de Dijon (aka the town hall).
I visited during the day and it was lovely watching the children playing in the water fountains! We also came her for food one night and although the food wasn't amazing, it was a lovely location for dinner, drinks and people watching.
Dijon has a lovely market building which is not very common in France. I find that market stands are mostly outside, so it was kind of unique to have everything all in one place. The building itself was a lovely metal structure with interesting details.
The market has lots of fresh fish, cuts of meat, various cheeses, fresh eggs, loads of fruits, local wines and anything else that is edible. There were also market stalls around the perimeter selling textiles, pots and other foods. There were also restaurants and cafes around this area that looked nice.
Other Dijon Architecture
I loved walking around Dijon looking at all the different types of architecture. There are amazingly huge churches next to really cute old buildings. There was the huge Place de la Liberation next to small boutique shops.
I liked the real mixture of styles, influences and history. It was fun walking around, not knowing what you will see next.
So here are some of my favourite architectural gems I found.