Pardon Me, But We Ask You Don’t Pass on Dijon
This word "Dijon" conjures up the image of a pseudo-sophisticated old man in the back of a limo, asking a passerby if he has a certain mustard. Get this out of your head. The historic capital of the Burgundy region will allure and captivate all of your senses, just like a fine Dijon mustard.
Use your France Rail Pass, or Eurail France-Switzerland Pass and easily arrive into Gare de Dijon-Ville from Paris, Lyon or Lausanne in less than two hours thanks to the high-speed TGV.
A few blocks from the rail station is the Dijon tourist office at 15 Cour de la Gare near Place Darcy. Here you can get information and a brochure on where to pick up the "Owl's Trail." This self-guided tour brings you to most tourist sites in Dijon. The route is marked on the sidewalk by brass tiles featuring a little owl. When you come to a point of interest there is a number marked on the ground. Look up the number in your brochure for more information on that particular sight. (All cities should work like this.)
What will you see on your tour? Dijon has a rich history dating back to the Roman Empire. The entire region of Burgundy was a place of wealth and power and was one of Europe's epicenters of art, science and schooling. Since 1722, the University of Burgundy has brought students from the world over who seek knowledge across a variety of disciplines.
See where the city started with a visit to the Musée Archéologique. At the Musée de la Vie Bourguignonne, view what life was like in Burgundy over the centuries. It also has some interesting artifacts from the 1889 World's Fair commemorating the inauguration of the Eiffel Tower.
One of the most historic buildings in this ancient province is the Palais des Ducs et des Etats de Bourgogne, which symbolizes the semi-independent status of this fertile region. Today, the palace is the town hall and not open to the public. However, there's a fine museum on site, the Musée des Beaux-Arts. The museum features a superb combination of the prestigious architecture of a ducal residence and one of the richest collections in France, thanks to the legacy of the Dukes of Burgundy. Find everything from Egyptian Art to 20th Century modern painting.
You can easily travel to other oene-rific cities in Burgundy : Chablis is known as the “Golden Gate” of the region for its great, eponymous wines. Certainly don't leave without sampling a Kir, a popular French cocktail made with a measure of crème de cassis and topped with Chablis white wine. Just 20 minutes by train from Dijon, visit the Marché aux Vins for their “dégustation des vins.” In this ancient church you can taste nearly 20 regional wines. Talk about punch-drunk love.
All of Burgundy has fine food, drink, châteaux and museums, plus plein air markets and painting-worthy landscapes. Here's where you come to get down with the locals (who don't take limos with sandwiches sans mustard.)
Drink up – and toast the authentic French atmosphere you came for, traveling by train helps you make the most of every minute!
To learn more about preparing your trip to France, visit Atout France by clicking here if you’re a US resident or here if you’re a Canadian resident
Contributed by: Miles, Travel Consultant, has traveled extensively throughout France and loves the TGV!