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Dijon Tourism And Travel Guide
18.4° C / 65° F
May to September
2 to 3 Days
Charles de Gaulle International Airport, Paris (262 kms)
Gare de Dijon-Ville
Often referred to as Paris’s little sister, Dijon is a city located in eastern France that once served as the capital of Duchy of Burgundy, and is currently the capital of Cote-d’Or department in the Bourgogne-Franche-Comté region. Through archaeological finds, the origins of the city date back to the Stone Age that eventually went on to become a Roman settlement. Home to the Dukes of Burgundy between the 11th and 15th-century, Dijon became a region of immense power with the dukes being considered second only to the king of France. While it may not hold the same economic importance today, the city’s medieval and Renaissance-era buildings, its renowned museums and galleries and its iconic landmarks make it one of the most appealing cities in France.
The historic city centre of Dijon is also on the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites and features as one of the most culturally pleasing locations in the city. Be a part of the flourishing tourism in Dijon and come discover the hidden secrets of a city that most know best for its mustard, with the help of this travel guide.
How to Reach
Since there is no commercial airport in Dijon, travellers can choose to catch a flight to Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris; trains and buses are available directly from Paris to Dijon. Alternatively, you can also choose to fly into Frankfurt, Marseille, Zurich, etc. and catch trains from any of the above destinations to Dijon.
Dijon’s main railway station is Gare de Dijon-Ville and has train connections to all major European cities. Dijon is one of the important junctions on the line that goes from Lyon to Paris, and also on the east-west lines to Italy, Switzerland etc. One of the fastest ways to reach Dijon from Paris is to take the TGV train, which also has origins from Nice and Strasbourg.
Buses are available to Dijon from various European cities through services like Eurolines. Closest to Paris via road, the A38 and A6 can be accessed to reach Dijon via taxis or rented cars in just around three hours. The A31 allows travellers to get to Dijon from Lyon, Lille and Nancy. The A39 connects Dijon to Geneva and the A36 connects to Switzerland.
Weather & Best Time to Visit
Summer (June – August):
As is the case with most French cities, summers are one of the busiest times of the year in Dijon. Temperatures range from highs of 24⁰C to lows of 12⁰C, with a warm and sunny climate that is perfect for indulging in activities like boating, cycling and strolling through town. Since it is peak tourist season, expect higher rates in all commercial establishments.
Autumn (September – November):
A great time to vacation in Dijon, autumns are characterized by pleasantly sunny weather during the early months of the season with temperature highs of 20⁰C and lows of 6⁰C. Since it is wine harvesting season as well, a lot of tourists visit to be a part of the wine tasting tour that is best enjoyed in this weather. Moderate amounts of rainfall are common as well.
Winter (December – February):
Winters in Dijon can get bitterly cold with temperatures that can reach freezing levels; sometimes reaching negative digits as well. Sunshine received is minimal with average temperature highs of 7⁰C. While winters are not a busy tourist season, the Noël Week witnesses a large influx of visitors due to the Christmas celebrations and festivities.
Spring (March – May):
After the chilly winter season, the springtime of Dijon is a welcome relief with temperature highs of 15⁰C and lows of 5⁰C, which only grows warmer as summers approach. While rainfall is quite common during this season, it is still a good time to visit for people looking to enjoy a quieter vacation and cheaper hotel rates.
Things to Do
Tour of the Ducal Palace:
The palatial residence of the Dukes of Burgundy has been open to visitors and provides a glimpse into Burgundian heritage. The Museum of Fine Arts is also part of the palace and was founded in 1787. It houses collections ranging from the Egyptian era to works of famous artists from the Modernist era.
Wine Tasting Tour:
The Cote de Nuits vineyards are some of the finest wine-producing regions in France and are located just beyond the city boundaries of Dijon. Group tours include visits to the local wineries and plantations with a wine-tasting session at the end. Knowledgeable guides offer great insight into the different varieties of wines produced here while showing visitors around the Burgundy countryside.
The Owl Walk:
Parcours de la Chouette is synonymous with Dijon’s distinctiveness. It is a 22-stop walking tour that takes visitors through the historic city centre with arrows and markers all over the old city to guide them. The tour has been inspired by the owl sculpture engraved on the Notre-Dame Church that visitors touch with their left hand for good luck and make a wish; the brass markers that point to each stop on this tour feature this owl motif.
Where to Shop
While shopping in Dijon usually means food-related purchases for most people, it can be an enjoyable and diverse experience for those looking to take a piece of the city back home with them. Dijon’s main shopping street is the Rue de la Liberte, where travellers will find a wide variety of stores ranging from clothes to liquor to local specialities; a must-visit is the Moutarde Maille store that is known for its exquisite varieties of Dijon mustard.
Au Duche de Bourgogne is a great place to pick up some local Burgundy wines. Souvenir shops can be found all over the city; some notable names among them are Arty Facts, Gingerbread Central, Mulot & Petitjean, and Dijon’s Tourism Office.
Where to Eat
With a gastronomic reputation as exciting as Dijon’s, food lovers will be delighted with the number of delectable options on offer in every corner of the city. Try the traditional beef bourguignon and chicken stew called coq au vin in all local eateries here, but after you have exhausted all the Burgundian restaurants, head to DZ’envies for inventive new dishes featuring African and Japanese flavours mixed with authentic French cuisine. For a real Dijon bistro experience, try Le Piano Qui Fume, which is just popular among locals as it is among tourists; always a good sign for a restaurant. La Maison des Cariatides is housed in a renovated 17th-century mansion and combines an impressive setting with delicious food and an exceptional selection of Burgundy wines.