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Cities of France - Dijon





When people hear of the lovely city of Dijon, France, mustard is what usually comes to mind.  The city is world-famous for their great tasting moutarde which originated in 1856, when Jean Naigeon substituted verjuice, the acidic juice of not-quite-ripe grapes, for vinegar in the traditional mustard recipe.  But there is so much more to know about this medieval French city. 

Just 90 minutes from Paris, Dijon has managed to fly under the radar of tourists and French locals alike and has become one of the hidden gems of the country. Much of the city infrastructure survived the bombing raids in World War II, so Dijon is widely preserved with incredible medieval and classical French architecture. 

Tradition has it that one of the stone relief sculptures on the stunning church of Notre Dame in Dijon has special powers.  The owl is said to be a good luck charm and if you make a wish and rub la chouette with your left hand, your request will come true. 

Whether you’re looking for a great day-trip to escape the Paris tourism trap or you’re simply looking for someplace new and exciting, Dijon is the perfect choice. 

If you love food, the French culture, and classical architecture you will be more than pleased with what Dijon has to offer. The city is covered with awesome examples of Gothic and early Renaissance architecture. An additional benefit is that cars are seldom allowed in the city center and it’s very easy and safe to walk along the cobblestone laneways while taking in the sounds, smells, and sights. 

Be sure to try out their famous and traditional local drink, Cassis, which is a black currant liqueur that is bright reddish-purple and very sweet. Those who visit typically try the popular Burgundy wine and forget to have a taste of this delicious local beverage. 

For food-buffs, take advantage of the four Michelin-Star restaurants in the city - a very high concentration of amazing food in such a small area. There are also many wine and mustard tours available for those interested in an even more unique aspect of the Dijon lifestyle. Be sure to visit the Maille mustard shop. It has been in operation since 1747 and one of the only places that locals will visit to get the true taste of Dijon mustard. 

With all the narrow and winding streets in the city getting lost is a great way to experience how the Dijon people live. Dijon has been able to keep the medieval aspect of the city fully intact while still pursuing a course of modernization. Nestled between the historic buildings and medieval structures are popular clothing stores, bakeries, delis, and other small shops that cater to the needs of locals and tourists alike. Many people in the city speak English and there is a university close by as well.  

Dijon is one of the most interesting and appealing cities in France.  Try to plan a few days here or for those visiting Paris, consider a day trip to see the highlights of this fascinating city. Full of incredible culture, awe-inspiring architecture, and food and drink that is on par to none, the city of Dijon, France should not be missed.