This past weekend I took a group of ladies to the French Riviera for a trip to the Féte de Citron in Menton, France along the coast. It was too long to travel in one day, so we stopped in the unbelievably charming and lovely town of Dijon. I had not expected to fall in love with this part of Burgundy. I hadn’t heard anything like a “must-see” but I hadn’t heard negative either. So, I was pleasantly and wonderfully surprised to enjoy this amazing city and I look forward to my next visit soon. Here are some highlights from our pit-stop-stop that was much too short in this beautiful town.
Contrary to popular opinion, we did not pass a Rolls Royce with a chaffeur and someone asking us for “Grey Poupon?” Although, there were plenty of dijon mustards (moutarde) to sample and try, we saw and did so much more.
So much more than the spicy condiment this town is known world-wide for, Dijon is quite the charmer with absolutely gorgeous architecture, a cool-young vibe and graciously sweet people. From Germany, the Burgundy region is a wonderful weekend trip and about half way to our trek to the sea.
We stayed overnight at the Hotel Wilson right off the Place de President Wilson. The location of our hotel to the city was key and easy. Its’ quaint feel of the property was authentically French. From being warmly greeted by Sandrine and Elizabeth to being checked out by precious Pascuale. The staff is exceptional and spoke perfect English. My french is not that great.
Our rooms were precious with quirky halls leading to huge-wooden beams in our bedrooms. An elevator is available. We stayed in a “classic” room, however other options are available. Our breakfast was first rate, and in February we enjoyed an open fire in the hearth keeping us warm first thing in the morning.
Of course, we had fresh croissants, coffee, cappuccino, boiled eggs, prosciutto, yogurt and fresh fruit and more!
Architecture and Cool Young Vibe
Dijon makes it so simple to take a walking tour of their town by offering three different “Owl Trails” around the city. It is super easy to follow with an interactive map and these triangle owl medallions on the ground for you to follow. Each trail leads you to a different part of the city with breathtaking architecture.
Sandrine gave everyone a complimentary map and with just a short walk around the Place de Wilson we were led quite easily into the city main square.
However, do stop in at the Office of Tourisme center, I can’t emphasize this enough ~ they always have more information than their websites!
Lots to see and shop
Here are a few highlights of our walking tour ~
- Moutarde Maille Dijon – the samples were out of this world – we could have made a dinner here, some of us did! Be sure to ask for Edwige and Benjamin, bless them, we were so overwhelmed with too many GREAT choices!!
- Office of Tourisme
- Église Notre-Dame
By the time we were done with our walking tour and our adventure on the bus it was time to catch a bite to eat. We grabbed a bite to eat at the lovely Brasserie, Rich’ Bar Bistro, a Bar à vins, where we met Alex our wonderful server, restaurateur, and friendly bartender. Thankfully, Alex was sweet enough to translate the menu for us and we enjoyed a nice dinner and great local wine.
He also introduced some of us to Kir Royale’s (recipe here) a lovely aperitif of (Creme de Cassis) and Champagne. A popular drink with all the ladies this went down way too quickly. But we all decided worthy of maybe two.
Other restaurants in Dijon
One of the best ways to find out where the “in” restaurants are in town is to ask. Sandrine was nice enough to compile a list for us to try ~ Do make reservations if you are a large group. These were on Sandrine’s list to try ~
- Place de theâtre – Brasserie des Loges
- Place de Libération – Le Café Gourmand
- Rue Amiral Roussin – Le petit roi de la lune, Osteria Onnoteca
- Les Halles de Marché – Chez Copains-DZ’Envies, Le Bistrot des Halles
As we made our way back to the Hotel we discovered most of the town lit up and had lively bars and a “happening” night life. I think there is more to investigate in this hidden French gem, called “Dijon.” I’m looking forward to returning soon to find out what I’ve missed in this short stop on our way to the Riviera. (I’ll write more about that in next week’s – blog, “Mesmerized by the French Riviera”)
So much to share Dijon deserved its’ own shout-out! Here are a few things I plan to explore the next time I’m in the region ~
More to Discover near Dijon!
It’s always an adventure when you ©Travel with Wendy!