Visit Dijon (Burgundy, France)
During the 14th and 15th centuries Dijon was one of the great cities of Europe, under the rule of the Dukes of Burgundy. To this day it is a bustling modern city - with a great deal to discover among the high number of fine medieval and historic buildings to be found in the city. It is a clean, pleasant city and a great pleasure to visit Dijon, as much for the atmosphere and environment as any specific sights and we strongly recommend you stay overnight if possible to have enough time to make the most of your visit.
Note that while the centre of Dijon is quite compact, certain of the historic monuments of interest are a little stroll away, so be sure to pick up the map from Dijon tourist information office (Place Notre-Dame, next to the church of Notre-Dame) so you don't miss anything.
The main street running through the town is the Rue de la Liberte, and most of the places you will want to see are either along that road or nearby, including the centre of any visit - the Dukes palace, with the Salle des Etats and the Place de la Liberation.
The surrounding streets contain a broad mix of architectural styles - medieval half-timbered houses, renaissance architecture, early churches, grand classical style 18th century town houses...each having played their role in the long and colourful history of Dijon. There are plenty of fine shops and restaurants to detain you, but the main points of historical interest are:
- The Duke's Palace (Palais des Etats), and the adjoining Place de la Liberation. Don't miss the ornate Escalier Gabriel and the Salle des Etats (top of the staircase on the left)
- The Cathedral Saint-Benigne of Dijon and its remarkable crypt, dating back to the 6th century and earlier. This fascinating subterranean place of worship mostly dates from the 10th century, although the small 'chapelle mortuaire' is believed to date back to the 6th century, when it was built in a gallo-roman cemetery (small donation to the church requested as entry fee)
- The Notre Dame region with its church and fine houses - inside the Church of Notre-Dame you can see a very old statue of the black madonna (although apparently the statue was not originally black, the color arriving naturally over the centuries)
- The streets and cafes to the south of the Place de la Liberation
There are several museums in Dijon, with something of interest to everyone. these include the museum of Sacred Art and the Museum of burgundy Life (both in the Convent of the bernardines, towards the south of Dijon centre); the archaeology Museum attached to the Cathedral of Saint-Benigne; the Museum of Fine Arts (in the Palais des Ducs); and the Magnin Museum - a large private collection of 16th-18th century works of art now open to the public in a lovely town house on Rue des Bons Enfants (off place de la Liberation).
The Jardin des Sciences is a complex of museum, botanical garden and planetarium that holds regular events related to science, just off Avenue Albert 1er.
Other Dijon attractions
Markets are held on Friday and Saturday, so these would be the ideal days to visit Dijon.
The Dijon tourist office offers numerous guided tours of the town focussing on different aspects of the history and architecture to be found in Dijon.
Dijon is of course famed for its mustard, and the surrounding region is just as famous for its fine wines. Last but not least the region came up with creme de cassis, which you will know from the drink 'kir' (if you don't know it, take 1 part cassis, pour on 4 parts cold white wine - enjoy as an aperitif on a hot summer evening).
Dijon is twinned with York (England)
Photos of Dijon
Click any picture to start the gallery
Tourist classifications for Dijon
Dijon has received the following tourist classifications: historical protected town centre' (secteur sauvegardé); listed town of Art and History ; village in bloom (ville fleurie) 4*
Address: Dijon, Cote d'Or, Burgundy, 21000 || GPS: latitude 47.327, longitude 5.0439
Map of Dijon & places nearby
Highlights close by
Suggested tourist attractions to visit near Dijon, France
- Quetigny - ville fleurie 4* (6km)
- Château d'Arcelot - remarkable garden (13km)
- Parc et jardin du château de Barbirey sur Ouche - remarkable garden (23km)
- Abbaye de la Bussière - remarkable garden (27km)
- Jardin du château du Talmay - remarkable garden (30km)
- Chateauneuf-en-Auxois - most beautiful village (33km)
- Beaune - ville fleurie 4* (37km)
- Hospices de Beaune (Beaune) - religious monument (37km)
- Jardin à la Faulx - remarkable garden (43km)
- Dole - secteur sauvegarde (43km)
Market days in Dijon: Regular market(s) are held in Dijon each Wednesday & Tuesday & Thursday & Saturday & Friday. (Markets are held in the morning unless stated.)
The French version of this page is at Dijon (Francais)