Two days in Dijon

edventuremama's picture
12 years
10 years
8 years
6 years
2010-02-26 to 2010-02-28

The weather in Dijon in February is chilly.  I know, I know, we shouldn’t complain when we’ve not seen a single flake of snow in nearly a year and we were swimming in early December... but we’re cold.  Maybe it is just that we got thoroughly chilled as we left Marseille, standing the the frosty pre-dawn darkness for over an hour waiting for a train we thought would never come. 

Dijon mustardsThe weather, like the famous Poupon mustard, was grey, in Dijon this weekend.  Grey, and, dare I say it, cold.  That didn’t stop us from trekking all over town and soaking up the history and culture of this fabulous little place.  You’d think that after a year of touring “quaint medieval” villages, we’d just yawn at the local cathedrals and roll our eyes at one more museum.  Not so.  

In fact, the church in the middle of town made a big impression on the boys on two fronts:  

One: It has a really cool bell with two enormous figures seated on either side of it with hammers that strike the bell on the hour.  

Two:  It has the single most impressive array of gargoyles of any church we’ve ever seen... the dragons are practically jabbing their elbows into the dogs and scrunchy faced old monks on either side of them, competing for the attention of the on lookers below.  I’m quite sure more than one traffic accident has been caused by a tourist falling off of the sidewalk (like I did) trying to take in the crowd dripping off of the front of the cathedral.

Our first afternoon in town we took a long walk (the boys were hunting for the brass plaques on the sidewalks all over town with owls carved into them... part of a tourist walk we didn’t take).  We were planning our attack for Saturday and scoping out the best place to buy mustard... which we did, along with baguettes (of course) olives of two varieties, a little jar of tapenade (not very French) and some pretzels... to dip in the mustards. The kids split their evening between tasting the authentic Dijon mustards: blackberry, tarragon, peppercorn and “regular Dijon,” and running with tongues hanging out toward the bathroom for big drinks of water!  All of the mustards were pronounced, “Good and spicy!”

One of the best things about visiting Dijon (besides the mustard!) is that all public museums are free.  We managed to fit in visits to two on this weekend:  

Dijon museumMusee des Beaux-Artes was first. This museum is housed in the palace of the Dukes of Burgundy, and its highlight is certainly the room containing their tombs. It holds a beautiful selection of paintings and sculpture (“This looks like the castle yard out of Narnia, Mom!” Elisha stage whispers in front of the non-English speaking docent).  Unfortunately, the lighting doesn’t do a lot of it justice... but we enjoyed it anyway!  The whole ceiling of one room is a wonderful fresco which is viewed, without injury to the neck, in a well placed mirror.  Ezra, ever the art critic, took a nonchalant look in the mirror and said, “Yeah, well, it’s nice, but it’s not the Sistine Chapel.”  What can you say to a six year old with standards like that?  

The Musee de la Vie Bourguignonne (Museum of life in Burgundy) was our favorite.  What a great museum! (And the price was right!)  Filled with wax figures in period dress and interesting furniture arranged as rooms of a house on the first floor and as an array of shops, from the butcher, to the hat maker, to the clock repair shop, to the mustard and biscuit factories on the second floor, this place was a wealth of information.  If you ever find yourself in Dijon, don’t miss it; it is right next to the old convent housing the Musee d’Art Sacre.

Of course you must walk the streets, stop into a bakery for a baguette, and if you’re lucky, happen upon a provencial market filled with fresh veggies, jewel toned preserves and the classic French woven baskets, for sale in big piles on the sidewalk. Dijon isn’t a big place, but it’s pictuesque, and well worth a weekend stay!

Dijon mustards
Dijon market
Dijon market
Dijon museum
Dijon museum
Dijon museum
Dijon museum
Dijon museum
Dijon museum
Article Type: 
In-Person Impressions


Do you have any church pictures to post?

By branko

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