Dijon in Burgundy is the historic seat of the Dukes of Burgundy and has a rich medieval heritage.
The capital of Burgundy, Dijon can be dated back to Roman times as a settlement called Divio. Dijon is known as a place of culture and art and the city rose to fame as the home of the Dukes of Burgundy who ruled here from the 11th to the 15th century and built the exquisite palace, the Palais de Ducs de Bourgogne in Place de la Libération. Built in the 14th and 15th century, some Gothic architecture remains but most of the palace that you can see today was built in the 17th and 18th centuries in the Classical style. Standing proudly over the palace is the Tour Philippe de Bon, a 46m high tower that has wonderful views of the city from the top. Other impressive architecture includes the Gothic cathedral de St Bénigne with its Romanesque crypt, the 13th century church of Notre Dame where a small carved owl has become a lucky symbol of the city and it is said that you should touch it with your left hand and make a wish, and the Renaissance church of St Michel. Dijon is also the birthplace of the great architect and engineer, Gustav Eiffel, who designed the Eiffel Tower and worked his magic closer to home with the covered market, Les Halles, in his home city. The city is known for its gastronomy with the world famous Dijon mustard, Burgundy wines and an abundance of blackcurrants. At le Cassissium you can uncover the history of blackcurrant cultivation and the fruit's applications in medicine, gastronomy and perfumery. End your tour of this multimedia museum with a visit of the production process to make the blackcurrant liqueur crème de cassis.
Dijon has several museums that are well worth a look - a museum of sacred art, the Magnin museum filled with paintings, drawings and more in an inhabited 17th century mansion and the Rude museum showcasing the sculptures of the local 18th century sculptor François Rude. There is also the Musée de Beaux Arts inside the Palace of the Dukes, an archaeology museum, and a folklore museum looking at life in the area at the beginning of the last century. Why not take one of the city's guided tours revealing the different ages of architecture and the gastronomy of Dijon? Explore the area around the city and taste the excellent Burgundy wines with lots of wine tours to the vineyards dotted about the countryside. Don't miss out on a visit to the Pressoirs des Ducs de Bourgogne, the 13th century wine presses of the Dukes of Burgundy, in nearby Chenôve less than 15 minutes away. There are also some wonderful green spaces inside the city to discover with the formal Parc de la Colombière featuring over 6,000 trees along its symmetrical paths, and Dijon's oldest public garden, le Jardin Darcy, two of the most popular. On the outskirts of the city you'll find Lac Kir, an artifical lake measuring 37 hectares that has a beach and lots of greenery and is home to many swans and ducks.
Take some time to go shopping in Dijon and explore its markets including the large covered market, Les Halles, where you'll find lots of fresh local produce, find a bargain in the many antiques and crafts shops, and tickle your taste buds by trying some of the wares on offer in Dijon's specialist mustard shops. A visit to Dijon isn't complete without trying some Dijon mustard and the city's other culinary speciality - pain d'épices, a delicious type of gingerbread cake. Blackcurrants can also be found in many local dishes. Sample some of Burgundy's fine wines and the local liqueur made from blackcurrants, crème de cassis, which can be enjoyed mixed with a white wine such as a Burgundy Chablis to make a kir cocktail.
Department: Côte d'Or
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