27 Dijon attractions recommended to visit
Although most of us know Dijon for much of its mustard and glorious medieval events, in reality it is one of France’s best-kept “secrets.” This wonderful place keeps the friendly atmosphere of a small town, while it is full of museums, galleries, stores and cafes, which are very popular with tourists. So here are the things to pay special attention to during your visit to Dijon.
Museum of Fine Arts
Museum of Fine Arts | Photo: Elliott Brown / Flickr.
Museum of Fine Arts, is one of the most important and rich museums of France. Its galleries, located in the east wing of the Ducal Palace (Palais des Ducs) can be considered a work of art in itself.
The Salle des Gardes, a wood-paneled room that houses the tombs of the Dukes Jean the Fearless and Philip the Fat, is a particular attraction.
Other sections are devoted to Egyptian art, the Middle Ages in Burgundy and Europe, and the six centuries of European painting from the Renaissance to the present.
Of the greatest artistic value are the works of the primitives of the 13th and 14th centuries. Looking at these works, you can trace how the perception of medieval artistic and aesthetic images changed in the tradition of the masters of Italy, Switzerland and the Rhineland region.
There are works by masters of the old school, including masterpieces by Lorenzo Lotto, quite a few naturalistic sculptures by Dijon native François Rude (1784-1855), and works by Manet, Monet, Matisse and Rodin are also on display.
Note the “hidden” Pompon room at the back staircase, decorated with stylized animal sculptures by François Pompon (1855-1933) himself, born in Solier in Burgundy.
Address: Musée des Beaux-Arts de Dijon, Rue Rameau, Dijon, France.
Palace of the Dukes of Burgundy
Palace of the Dukes of Burgundy | Photo: Elliott Brown / Flickr.
This monumental palace was once home to the powerful Dukes of Burgundy. Its neoclassical façade overlooks the Liberation, the magnificent central square of old Dijon, built as early as 1686.
The east wing of the palace houses a chic Beaux-Arts museum, the entrance to which is next to the Tour de Bar, a low 14th-century tower that was once a prison. The rest of the palace is occupied by municipal offices, where tourists are not allowed.
Address: Palais des ducs et des Etats de Bourgogne, Place de la Libération, Dijon, France.
Church of Notre-Dame de Dijon
Church of Notre-Dame de Dijon. | Photo: emmett anderson / Flickr.
Located a block north of the Palais des Dukes, the Church of Notre-Dame de Dijon was built between 1220 and 1240. The three-tiered facades of this church are guarded by vicious gargoyles separated by two rows of columns.
On one of the belfries, every quarter of an hour an old Horloge a Jacquemart clock strikes. In 1383, Philip the Fat brought it back from Flanders as a spoils of war.
The address is Église Notre-Dame de Dijon, Place Notre Dame, Dijon, France.
Rue du Chouet.
Rue du Chouette | Photo: Elliott Brown / Flickr.
Located north of the church of Notre-Dame de Dijon, rue Chouette is named after the little stone owl (chouette) carved on its corner.
Locals believe it brings happiness and wisdom to all who stroke it, so fortune hunters from all corners of France have long flocked to this spot.
Address: Rue de la Chouette 21000 Dijon France.
The Tower of Philippe the Good
Philip the Good’s Tower | Photo: Elliott Brown / Flickr.
The height of this tower of the mid-15th century is 46 meters. It adjoins the Ducal Palace and offers a fantastic view of the city. On a clear day the horizon can be seen up to Mont Blanc.
Address: Tour Philippe le Bon Place des Ducs de Bourgogne, 21000 Dijon, France.
A bakery of honey cakes.
During the French Revolution, Mulot & Petitjean established one of their few bakeries where French artisans made the famous honey cakes. Nine generations later, descendants of the founders have turned part of their factory into an interactive museum.
English-language audio guides and animated virtual tour guides will tell you the story of the creation of Dijon cupcakes and walk you through the production process.
You can then sample local products, including another Mulot & Petitjean specialty called “jacquelines,” a meringue-covered pastry filled with nougat or hazelnut.
There are several Mulot & Petitjean shops in the city. One of them is located on Place Bossuet.
Address: Mulot & Petitjean, Place Bossuet, Dijon, France.
Museum of Burgundian Life
Museum of Burgundian Life.
This museum is located in a 17th century Cistercian convent. It tells visitors about the peculiarities of the rural life of the Burgundians of past centuries, using illustrations depicting the clothing, customs and traditional crafts of those times.
On the first floor a whole street has been recreated with a nineteenth-century pharmacy, a grocery store, a furrier’s shop, a watchmaker’s shop, a toy store and many other typical establishments of those times.
Address: Musée de la Vie bourguignonne, Rue Sainte-Anne, Dijon, France.
Museum of Archeology
Museum of Archeology.
The museum displays truly amazing artifacts from the Celtic, Gallo-Roman, and Merovingian cultures, among which the stunning 1st century AD bronze statue of the Celtic goddess of water, Sequana, standing on a duck-boat stands out.
Upstairs is the Early Gothic Room (12th and 12th centuries) with the characteristic arches held up by two rows of columns.
Address: Musée Archéologique de Dijon, Rue Docteur Maret, Dijon, France.
Musee de Magnyon.
Musee de Magnyon.
In 1938, passionate collectors Jeanne and Maurice Magnin donated their historic mansion to the state so that people could enjoy the magnificent collection of art they had been collecting for 55 years.
Collections include stunning works from the Italian Renaissance as well as striking examples of Flemish and medieval painting.
Address: Musée Magnin, Rue des Bons Enfants, Dijon, France.
The House with the Caryatids
House with caryatids.
The striking Renaissance façade, replete with stone caryatids, atlantes and ornate bas-reliefs, rightfully makes this one of Dijon’s most memorable buildings. The house with the caryatids was built by the rich Puffier family at the beginning of the 17th century.
Address: La Maison des Cariatides, Rue Chaudronnerie, Dijon, France.
Hôtel de Vogüé
Hôtel de Vogüé.
Located behind the church of Notre-Dame de Dijon, the 17th-century Vosges mansion is known for its exquisite courtyard with intricate Renaissance stone carvings. Step into the pink archway of this house and you’ll see for yourself.
Address: Hôtel de Vogüé, Rue de la Chouette, Dijon, France.
l’Arquebuse Botanical Garden
The Arquebuse botanical gardens.
This is a delightful place for Sunday strolls. The park is located south of the train station and covers an area of 5 hectares. The park has a splendid rose garden, arboretum, brook and pond with live birds.
Address: Jardin Botanique de l’Arquebuse, Avenue Albert 1er, Dijon, France.
Maison Maillard | Photo: Elliott Brown / Flickr.
This Renaissance house was built in the mid-16th century for Jean Maillard, then mayor of Dijon. The facade of the building is lavishly decorated with garlands, lions, and other decorative elements.
Address: Maison Maillard dit Milsand, rue Forge, Dijon, France.
Aubriot Mansion | Photo: Damien / Flickr.
The elegant facade of the Aubriot Mansion, which dates back to the 12th century, owes its current splendor to the restoration work completed in the early 1900s.
Address: Hôtel Aubriot, Rue des Forges, Dijon, France.
Dijon has many green areas that are ideal for picnics, and one of the best can be found in this cozy park nestled between the train station and the historic city center.
Address: Jardin Darcy, Place Darcy, Dijon, France.
Guillaume Gate (Arc de Triomphe)
Guillaume’s Gate (Arc de Triomphe). | Photo: champmol / Flickr.
This monumental 18th-century arch can be called the western gateway to the pedestrian historic center of Dijon.
Address: Porte Guillaume, Place Darcy, Dijon, France.
The Well of the Ancestors
Ancestral Well | Photo: Allie_Caulfield / Flickr.
This famous group of six prophets, carved between 1395 and 1405 by the court sculptor Claus Slüter and his nephew Claus de Verve, is located on the grounds of a mental hospital one kilometer west of the train station.
Address: Puits de Moïse, boulevard du Chanoine Kir, Dijon, France.
Saint Michael’s Church
Saint Michael’s Church.
Originally this church was conceived as a building in the Gothic style, but the work was not completed and later the western facade was decorated in the Renaissance style, so the result is a rather unusual building.
Its two 17th-century towers are topped by stone domes with glittering, gilded spheres.
Address: Eglise Saint Michel, Place Saint-Michel, Dijon, France.
The Mansion of Chambellane
The Mansion of Chambellane.
The 17th-century Chambellane Mansion is one of many buildings on the rue des Forges, once owned by local nobility. Alas, its most interesting part – the courtyard with its magnificent spiral stone staircase leading to the remarkable vaults – is closed to the general public.
Address: Hôtel Le Chambellan, Rue Vannerie, Dijon, France.
Saint Benigny Cathedral
Saint Benigny Cathedral.
This magnificent cathedral in Burgundian Gothic style was erected in the early 14th century for the Benedictine abbey and the many pilgrims who came here to worship the relics of the great martyr Benignus (who is believed to have brought Christianity to Burgundy in the 2nd century AD).
Address: Cathédrale Saint-Bénigne de Dijon, Place Saint Bénigne, Dijon, France.
Rue de Verreri
This is one of the many streets in Dijon with a rich history. Walking along the Verreri, you can easily imagine that you are in medieval times. The narrow street, surrounded by the old facades of impeccably preserved buildings, is a magical promenade with chic boutiques, art galleries and antique stores.
The address is Rue Verrerie, Dijon, France.
Mustard brand Maille
We couldn’t write an article about Dijon without mentioning the mustard brand of the same name. One of the major mustard brands, Maille, has its own stunning boutique in Dijon, located in a medieval building on the city’s main pedestrian street.
Here you’ll find hundreds of varieties of this spice that you can’t buy anywhere else in the world. The combinations of ingredients are so stunning that your relationship to Dijon mustard will change once and for all.
Address: Moutarde Maille Dijon, Rue de la Liberté, Dijon, France.
Consortium Exhibition Centre
Consortium Exhibition Centre.
“Consortium is known for actively supporting new talent from around the world. The art center moved into a new building of more than 4000 m² in 2011, and since then it has hosted more than 200 different exhibitions.
Le Consortium’s mission is to promote and develop contemporary art and to educate new generations of artists.
Address: Le Consortium, Rue de Longvic, Dijon, France.
Entrance to Parc de Colombière.
This wooded park was created in the 16th century by the governor of Burgundy, the Grand Condé, and was designed in keeping with the spirit and fashion of the time. The result is lush landscapes and an oak tree-lined promenade crisscrossing 33 hectares of green parkland.
Address: Parc Collombière, Cours du Général de Gaulle, Dijon, France.
The Grand Theatre. | Photo: Mélanie / Flickr.
The site on which the Grand Théâtre stands today was vacated following the demolition of the Sainte-Chapelle church, which in the Middle Ages was part of the Ducal Palace. The Grand Théâtre gained its current appearance in 1828, and since then it has been the main opera house of the city, hosting world-class performances.
Address: Grand Théâtre, Place du Théâtre, Dijon, France.
Port du Canal in Dijon
Port du Canal in Dijon.
What was once a commercial port on the busy Burgundian waterways has now become a marina for pleasure boats and tourist vessels.
Along the canal there is a lovely garden and tree-lined promenade that connects the canal to nearby Lake Kyre.
Address: Péniche Cancale, Port Du Canal, Dijon, France.
View of Lake Kyre.| Photo: Pascal / Flickr.
Artificial Lake Kyre is a scenic area for water sports surrounded by parkland that is great for camping, walking, biking, and picnics.
Dijon – the most detailed information about the city with photos. Main Dijon sights with descriptions, travel guides and maps.
Dijon is a city in eastern France and the capital of the historic region of Burgundy. It is located in the Côte d’Or south-east of Paris between the valleys of the Saône and Rhone Rivers. Dijon is one of the most beautiful cities in France, which in the Middle Ages was the capital of a powerful duchy. The Dukes of Burgundy were patrons of the arts, so the city was a major center of Gothic and early Renaissance music, painting and sculpture, attracting the greatest artists and musicians of the time. Dijon is also known for its gastronomy (especially mustard) and wines.
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Geography and climate
Dijon is located in the hilly plain of the Côte d’Or region of Burgundy. The city lies at the confluence of the River Suzon in the Hauts, 310 km from Paris. The climate is temperate maritime with warm summers and cool winters.
The streets of Dijon
- Population – more than 150 thousand people.
- Area – 40.41 km2 .
- Language: French.
- Currency is euro.
- Visa – Schengen.
- Time – Central European UTC +1, in summer +2.
- Dijon is well connected to a number of major French cities (in particular, Paris and Lyon), as well as Switzerland, Belgium, Italy (Milan, Florence, Rome and Turin). There are high-speed trains from Charles de Gaulle airport to Dijon.
- The owl (la chouette) is the main symbol of Dijon. The figure of an owl from the 16th century is carved on the facade of the cathedral. Also this bird’s sign marks the main tourist routes.
- Rue de la Liberté – the main shopping street of Dijon. It extends to the east of the Ducal Palace. Here you can buy the real Dijon mustard (Maille).
- The capital of Burgundy is famous for excellent cuisine. Interestingly, some dishes that many consider American originated in this historic region. Traditional delicacies include Jambon persille (meatloaf) and Pain d’epices (gingerbread). Burgundy is also famous for its excellent wines and liqueurs.
Dijon, strategically located between the Rhone and Saône valleys, has been important since antiquity. Already in the Roman period the city was surrounded by high and thick walls. After the collapse of the Roman Empire settlement was occupied by the Burgundians. After a while the area was subdued by the Franks. Dijon was conquered and destroyed by the Saracens in 737, and by the Normans at the end of the 9th century. At the beginning of the 11th century, King Robert of the Capetig dynasty took over the city and all of Burgundy. In 1137, a great fire almost completely destroyed the old settlement. In 1183 Dijon was granted city rights.
Evening in Dijon
Dijon’s prosperity began after the capital of Burgundy was moved here. The city became one of the most important and largest cities in France. Dijon had its heyday in the 15th century, under the reign of the Dukes of Valois. It was then that the city was home to the great masters of the Gothic and Renaissance. And Dijon itself was considered one of the European centers of science, culture and art. At the end of the 15th century, Burgundy became part of the French kingdom. In 1513 the city was besieged by the troops of the Holy Roman Empire, but was not taken.
Architecture of Dijon
During the Franco-Prussian War of 1870, the city was besieged by the Germans. Dijon was also occupied by German troops during World War II.
Dijon’s Old Town is a World Heritage Site and is renowned for its splendid late Medieval and Renaissance architecture. The historic center has many original old streets with a wonderful historic atmosphere and half-timbered houses, as well as a number of ancient churches.
The Ducal Palace is considered the main attraction of Dijon. Its origins go back to a small 3rd century fortress built to defend against barbarian invasions. In the 14th and 15th centuries, the palace was significantly rebuilt. The oldest surviving part of the building (the Tower of the Tour de Bar) dates back to that period. The last major alteration dates back to the 17th century, when the palace acquired Baroque features. The former residence of the Dukes of Burgundy is famous for its incredibly rich art collection.
Notre Dame is a medieval church from the 13th century and a magnificent masterpiece of Burgundian Gothic style. This religious structure has a remarkable facade decorated with a triple row of grotesque gargoyles. The 14th-century tower features a unique astronomical clock. The church has an austere Gothic interior. It also houses the precious 11th-century “Black Virgin,” one of the oldest medieval wooden sculptures to survive.
To the east of the church are beautiful old mansions.
Saint Benin Cathedral
Saint Benin Cathedral is a monumental example of Burgundian Gothic architecture. The church was built between 1280 and 1314 on the site of an ancient Benedictine abbey. The cathedral has a superb Gothic structure and includes a Romanesque doorway and Doromanesque capitals from an earlier church. There is also an original Romanesque crypt with a superb collection of Roman and medieval antiquities.
Saint Michel is another impressive masterpiece of vivid Gothic architecture with remarkable carved portals (doorways). The church was founded at the end of the 15th century on the site of an earlier Christian religious structure. It took a long time to construct and its structure reveals features of Renaissance architecture.
de Vogüé is one of the most valuable historical buildings in Dijon and an example of Renaissance architecture. An interesting feature of the building is the tiled roof decorated with bright geometric patterns.
Church of Saint Pierre
St. Pierre is a 19th-century Gothic Revival style church located on the edge of the old town. It was built on the site of a 12th-century medieval church that was destroyed during the French Revolution.
Church of Saint-Jean
The former Church of Saint-Jean is one of the oldest religious buildings in the city. This beautiful Gothic church was founded in the 15th century and was significantly damaged during the French Revolution. The building now houses a drama theater.
Rue des Forges
Rue des Forges is one of the central streets of old Dijon, which is famous for its stores and beautiful old architecture.
Rue de la Verrerie
Rue de la Verrerie is a charming narrow street with half-timbered houses.
St. Philibert Church
The Church of Saint Philibert is an ancient Romanesque church from the 12th century. The building has not been used for many years, but has been open to the public again since 2016.
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