If you’re hesitating between visiting Dijon or Beaune, or if you wonder if it’s worth visiting both, this article can help. We went to both cities when we visited Burgundy. They offer a very different experience, so if you have time to visit Dijon and Beaune and the region in between, it’s worth it. But if you only have time for one, should you pick Dijon or Beaune?
How many days do you need to visit Dijon or Beaune?
Ideally, you want to allow one day in Dijon, one day in Beaune and one day in the region in between, especially if you’re interested in wine. But you may not have three days on your itinerary to explore this region of France. If your time is limited, you can speed things up and only spend half a day exploring each of the places. However, for a short visit, my recommendation is to choose between Dijon or Beaune rather than trying to fit too much in a short time.
How to choose between Dijon or Beaune?
There’s no straight answer to this question, as both towns offer different experiences. I personally preferred Dijon for its very charming historic town centre.
What I liked in Dijon
In Dijon, you can easily follow the Owl Trail to see all the most interesting places in the historic town centre. I was impressed by all the various architectures from different time periods. It’s rare to find so many different types of buildings in such a small area.
If you’re interested in learning more about the Climats of Burgundy, recognised on the UNESCO World Heritage List, you’ll find in Dijon the International Cité of Gastronomy and Wine. You can also go for wine tasting at the Cave de la Cité for a large choice of wine (not just from Burgundy) or in town at the Cave du Palais* for a more authentic cellar experience.
For those planning to visit Burgundy as a day trip from Paris, Dijon is the best choice. It takes less than two hours to get there by high-speed train.
The region between Dijon and Beaune
If you have time, you can visit the vineyards between Dijon and Beaune to learn about the Climats directly from the winemakers. You’ll find some of the most famous wineries of Burgundy between Dijon and Beaune, such as Nuits-Saint-Georges, Vougeot and Gevret-Chambertin.
We spent a few hours cycling from villages to a winery (Maison Boursot), then a fine-dining restaurant (La Toute Petite Auberge); it was lovely. You can hire e-bikes, so it’s suitable for most levels of fitness and the entire family. You can find e-bike tours* from Dijon.
Why you may prefer Beaune
The most famous attraction in Beaune is the hospices, a hospital foundation from the Middle Ages to heal the poor. It’s easy to visit with an audioguide and quite unique to learn more about the history of medicine and the different tools they used over time. The varnished roof of the building is also remarkable. You may be able to complete the tour in one hour if you don’t look at the details, but it took us close to two hours.
Beaune is a lot smaller than Dijon. Apart from the hospices, I found the town a lot less charming and interesting. But there are still enough things to do in Beaune to keep you busy for the day, such as visiting a mustard factory (which surprisingly is in Beaune and not Dijon!) and wine cellars.
How to visit Dijon and Beaune
Dijon and Beaune are located approximately 320 km southeast of Paris and 200 km north of Lyon. Motorways will take you there if you’re driving, but taking the train is often more comfortable, faster and cheaper. Once you’re in Dijon or Beaune, it’s easy to reach the other town:
- If you have a vehicle, it takes only one hour to drive between Dijon and Beaune. But it’s worth stopping at a few wineries in between.
- If you don’t have a vehicle, then you can take a train from Dijon to Beaune. There are half-day and day tours organised from both towns to visit the region and the wineries.
Have you been to Dijon or Beaune? Share your experience in the comments below!
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