Choosing which cities and regions to include in a trip to France can be a challenging task. Dijon, as the capital of Burgundy, is often considered as a potential destination. If you’re wondering whether Dijon is worth visiting or if there are other cities in France that should take priority, read on to discover what we thought about Dijon and if there are other cities in France we’d recommend seeing before.
Five reasons why Dijon is worth visiting
Dijon, a city renowned for its mustard and wines, is definitely worth visiting for those interested in food, wine, history, and architecture. Whether you only have one day in Dijon or a week to spare, you’ll find plenty to do in the city and the surrounding region with superb day trips. Dijon offers a unique experience that differs from Paris or other large French cities. Plus, organising a trip to Dijon is relatively simple.
Dijon is easy to access
Dijon is easily accessible by both train and car.
The high-speed train connects Paris and Dijon in just two hours, making it an ideal destination for a day trip by train from Paris. For those short on time, it’s easy to visit Dijon as a day trip from Paris to experience the best of Burgundy in just one day.
If you’re driving south from Paris towards Lyon and Marseille, Dijon is a convenient and worthwhile detour as it is located near the A6 and A5 motorways.
You can follow an easy circuit around town to travel back in time
You don’t need to plan your trip and activities a lot in advance when you visit Dijon; it’s pretty straightforward. The town centre is easily walkable and finding the best things to see in Dijon is as simple as following the arrows on the ground with an owl drawing. You can quickly get more information about the remarkable buildings on the Owl Trail.
As you stroll around the old town centre, you’ll be transported back in time to different eras. The historic town centre is relatively small, making it perfect for a short visit. However, if you have more time, you can explore some of the buildings to learn more about Dijon and its history. Every corner has a different atmosphere, and the diverse architecture will make you feel like you’re travelling through various time periods.
The buildings in Dijon have unique features
You will see things in Dijon that you may not have seen elsewhere. Make sure to witness the bellstriker (jacquemart) at Notre Dame de Dijon striking the hour; it has been in operation since the 14th century and is one of the most renowned bellstrikers in Europe. Additionally, be on the lookout for the varnished tiles adorning the roofs of buildings in the town centre, a typical style that is exclusive to Burgundy.
Dijon has two UNESCO intangible heritage inscription experiences
For many visitors, experiencing a UNESCO World Heritage site is often the highlight of their trip. In Dijon, you’ll have the opportunity to explore two UNESCO intangible heritage inscriptions:
To learn more about both, head to the International Cité of Gastronomy and Wine, located just a short distance from Dijon historic town centre. This site was constructed as one of the projects to celebrate the recognition by UNESCO of the French gastronomic meal. Additionally, one section is dedicated to the Climats of Burgundy, the vineyards located south of Dijon.
If you want to further explore the local wines, you can visit a cellar in town or even venture out to the vineyards themselves. During our trip, we had extra time in the region and chose to cycle around wineries near Beaune. It was a fantastic experience suitable to different fitness levels that I highly recommend. With minimal effort, you can cover a considerable distance and discover the beauty of the region. E-bike tours* are also available from Dijon.
Dijon is an excellent destination for wine and cheese
Burgundy’s wines are renowned worldwide, and it’s one of the best wine regions in France. There are ample opportunities to sample them in Dijon and the surrounding region. Pairing local wines with local cheeses is a must-do experience, and Burgundy has several delicious options. Époisses, one of the region’s most famous cheeses, is a personal favourite of mine. Other must-try cheeses include Brillat-Savarin and Le Petit Mâconnais. If you’re a cheese lover, you’ll also want to explore neighbouring France-Comté’s excellent offerings, including Comté and Morbier. Don’t be surprised by the size of the cheeses sold in France; visitors are often impressed by their generous portions!
For a true cheese-lover’s paradise, head to Fromagerie Porcheret or visit the indoor market at the Halles on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. You can find some of the best local cheeses there, including my personal favourite, époisses.
To sample some of the best wines from the region, check out la Cave du Palais*, located in the town centre. It’s a popular spot for international visitors who are looking for a wine-tasting experience. While the International Cité of Gastronomy and Wine is a great place to learn about Burgundy’s gastronomy and wines and try local wines and cheeses, you may not get the same authentic experience as you would at the local markets and shops.
Other places in France you may choose over Dijon
Dijon is a must-visit destination in France, especially you have limited time to plan your trip. The city’s small size makes it easy to navigate, allowing you to spend more time enjoying its many attractions.
However, if you’re still not convinced that Dijon is worth visiting or if you want to visit more destinations in France, here are a few suggestions that will please gastronomy, wine and architecture lovers:
- Lyon – known as the world’s capital of gastronomy, many visitors wonder if they should visit Lyon or Dijon during their trip to France as both towns aren’t far from each other.
- Bordeaux – on the opposite side of France in the southwest, Bordeaux is internationally famous for giving its name to a reputed wine, but there’s a lot more to see there!
- Loire Valley – reputed for its royal and medieval castles, the region also hosts many wine producers.
Do you think Dijon is worth visiting? Share your experience in the comments below!
Where is Dijon?
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