Are you wondering if Dijon is worth visiting?
Well, you’re in the right place!
Since moving to France, I’ve made it my mission to uncover every corner of this amazing country. And, today, I want to share with you a city that is often overlooked, Dijon.
From gorgeous cathedrals and enthralling museums to tantalizing cuisine, Dijon has something for everyone. It’s a city that surprised me, captured my heart, and left me wanting to return.
So, to help you decide if Dijon should be your next destination, I’ve put together this guide. It covers all the reasons that make this city so spectacular and why it’s worth visiting.
Table of Contents
- Is Dijon Worth Visiting?
- 15 Amazing Reasons to Visit Dijon
- FAQs About Visiting Dijon
- Conclusion: Is Dijon Worth Visiting?
Is Dijon Worth Visiting?
To answer your question – Yes, Dijon is worth visiting!
As the capital of Burgundy, Dijon has the perfect combination of history, culture, and cuisine. Its cobbled streets, medieval buildings, and beautiful cathedrals are a sight to behold.
In fact, Dijon was a center for arts and culture in the 15th century. So, musicians, artists, and architects alike flocked here. And much of what you see today reflects this patronage. Some of the most notable examples include the Palais des Ducs de Bourgogne and Dijon’s Notre Dame Cathedral.
But that’s not all! It also has the most diverse range of gastronomic restaurants in the country, making it a foodie’s heaven.
With such a variety of attractions, Dijon really does have something for everyone. And it’s great for both first-time visitors and seasoned travelers!
15 Amazing Reasons to Visit Dijon
There are an endless number of reasons to visit Dijon. But I’ve narrowed it down to the top 15. And by the end, I can guarantee that you’ll be adding this remarkable city to your list of must-see destinations.
Now, let’s dive into what makes Dijon so amazing and why you should visit!
1. Rich History
Dijon has a long and fascinating history that dates to early Roman settlements. But its significance in Europe began with the Dukes of Burgundy.
From the 11th century to the 15th century, they called Dijon their home and propelled it toward wealth and prosperity. And it kept this luxurious status for centuries after their rule.
In fact, many of the historical monuments you see today are from the Dukes of Burgundy. They are all intact and have become some of the most popular tourist sites.
Visit the ever-impressive Palais des Ducs de Bourgogne. Then, climb the tower of Philippe le Bon for the most spectacular view of the city.
2. Beautiful Countryside
Dijon lies in the middle of the road between Paris and Lyon, so taking day trips to the French countryside is easy to do.
For the most scenic views head to Belvédère de Talant. Less than an hour on foot, this hidden spot gives way to the best panorama of the surrounding area.
Then there are tons of smaller villages that are not far from Dijon. Some of the most popular towns include Beaune, Besançon, and Semur-en-Auxois. At less than two hours away, these little towns offer a unique look into French culture.
3. Laid-Back Vibe
One of the things I liked about Dijon was its laid-back atmosphere. For me, it’s the ideal stress-free city break.
Compared to Paris, the pace of life here is much more relaxed. Not only that but there’s a surplus of parks and open spaces where you can relax and enjoy the scenery.
One of my favorite spots was Jardin Darcy. Located in the center of the city, this little garden offers a calming escape from the hustle and bustle.
4. Tons of Outdoor Activities
Believe it or not but Dijon has a ton of activities for outdoor enthusiasts. If you’re a nature lover who’s looking for a lush green oasis, head to Arquebuse Botanical Gardens. Here you find gravel walking paths, flourishing gardens, and small picnic areas.
For something more outdoorsy Lake Kir doesn’t disappoint. From endless walking and biking paths to tennis courts, there’s something for everyone. There’s even a beach!
5. Easy to Visit in One Day
There’s no denying that Dijon is a beautiful city with a variety of things to do. And, while you could spend a few days here, seeing the main highlights in a day is more than doable. I, actually, did this myself!
One of the best ways to visit all of Dijon’s best sites in a single day is to follow Le Parcours de la Chouette (The Owl Trail). This self-guided walking tour takes two hours and passes by every historical monument. Not only that but there are explanations at every stop!
6. Delicious Food
With a variety of restaurants, food lovers can sample traditional dishes like coq au vin or more modern cuisine like tartare de boeuf. And let’s not forget the indulgent patisseries that are on every corner.
Below are some of the best restaurants in Dijon:
- Restaurant Chez Léon
- Loiseau des Ducs
Dijon is also home to 30 Michelin-starred restaurants. That’s a whopping number for a town of this size. So, if you’re looking to splurge on a dining experience, this would be the place to do it!
7. Amazing Wine
Not only is the food incredible in Dijon, but the wine is also unparalleled. From Pinot Noir and Merlot to Chardonnay and Pinot Blanc, you’ll find a diverse range of wines here. Stop in any restaurant and enjoy a glass with your meal or better yet tour a winery.
Some of the best wineries to tour are listed below:
Useful Tip: In most cases, you’ll need a reservation, so it’s best to book in advance if you want to guarantee a spot.
8. Breathtaking Architecture
From Gothic cathedrals filled with stained glass windows to buildings adorned with intricate sculptures, Dijon is where art and architecture merge into one unforgettable masterpiece.
The most impressive cathedrals include Dijon’s Notre Dame Cathedral and the Saint Bénigne Cathedral. Then, for the most picturesque street, head to Rue des Forges. Here you’ll find elaborate stone buildings, each one more captivating than the last.
Useful Tip: At the eastern end of Rue des Forges is Place François Rude. This was my favorite spot in Dijon. It’s also where you can find the famous red half-timbered building.
9. It’s the Home of Dijon Mustard
If there’s one reason to visit Dijon this is it!
Believe it or not but in the 17th century, Dijon had exclusive mustard-making rights in France. And it was the sole producer for quite a while. So, of course, sampling Dijon mustard in Dijon is an absolute must.
And what better place to do this than the original Maille boutique on Rue de la Liberté. Here you’ll learn how this local delicacy is made and try some of the finest mustard in the country!
10. It’s Not Overcrowded
Have you ever been to a city that was so overrun with tourists that it felt like a zoo? Think Paris in August.
Luckily, Dijon isn’t like that.
In fact, it’s often overlooked by visitors, most of whom jet off to more popular destinations in France. But let me assure you they are missing out.
This charming French city is known for its spectacular architecture, delicious cuisine, and fine wines – without the crowds. So, whether you’re looking for an authentic cultural experience or simply want to get off the beaten path, Dijon should be at the top of your list.
Dijon is so well-located that it’s impossible not to add it to any itinerary. In fact, it’s what makes it such an attractive destination.
Located in the heart of eastern France, high-speed TGV trains that run from Paris to Lyon stop in Dijon. They are frequent, fast, and inexpensive. Regional TER trains and buses also pass by on a regular basis.
On average trains from Lyon take about one hour while trains from Paris are two hours. A day trip from Strasbourg is also an option. This is what I did and my train took about two hours.
12. It’s a Year-Round Destination
Dijon is a great destination to visit any time of the year. No matter the weather, rain or shine, there is something to do.
During the Christmas season, Dijon transforms into a magical winter wonderland. Buildings are decorated with festive ornaments, crackling chestnuts are cooking on every street, and there’s a pinch of cinnamon in the air. The holiday cheer is contagious and beckons visitors.
In summer, the city comes alive with festivals and outdoor activities. It’s also the best time to visit the vineyards. Rent a bike and explore at your own pace or go on a tour. Either way, you won’t regret it!
Spring and fall are also excellent times to visit. And because these are shoulder season, prices are much lower. There are also a ton of affordable accommodation options and far fewer people.
13. Warm-Hearted Locals
If you’re looking for a warm and welcoming place to visit (or even live), Dijon is for you!
I found the locals to be some of the most hospitable around. More so than Paris, Lyon, or even Strasbourg.
From pointing out hidden gems to offering friendly conversation in local cafés, you’re sure to have memorable interactions here.
14. World-Class Museums
One of the best things to do in Dijon is to visit a museum. These magnificent institutions do a wonderful job of showcasing the city’s rich cultural heritage. And each one offers insight into Dijon’s past and present.
My favorite museums were the Musée Rude (Rude Museum), Musée des Beaux-Arts (Fine Arts Museum), and the Mulot & Petitjean Gingerbread Museum.
Useful Tip: The Rude Museum and the Fine Arts Museum are free!
15. Unique Culture
As one of France’s most important cities during the Middle Ages, Dijon has a culture and cuisine all its own. For centuries it stood as the country’s center for art and intellect. And much of that history can be seen in the city today. From its medieval buildings to its sophisticated wines, the culture of Dijon is no doubt unique.
I’ve been an expat in France for several years and I have to say that Dijon took me by surprise. I never realized how extraordinary this city was. Compared to Paris or Strasbourg, it definitely holds its own.
FAQs About Visiting Dijon
How many days do you need in Dijon?
One day in Dijon is more than enough time to see the highlights. If you want to explore Burgundy and some of the smaller villages, you’ll need two or three days.
Is there a high-speed train from Paris to Dijon?
Yes, there is a high-speed train from Paris to Dijon. It takes about two hours.
What is there to do between Paris and Dijon?
There are a ton of things to do between Paris and Dijon. Some of the most popular towns to visit include Semur-en-Auxois, Chablis, and Vezelay.
What is special about Dijon France?
Dijon is special for several reasons. First, its unique culture and warm-hearted locals are second to none. Then, of course, there are the fascinating museums, delicious food, and fine wines. All these reasons make this underrated city truly extraordinary.
Conclusion: Is Dijon Worth Visiting?
If you’re planning a trip to France, it’s safe to say that Dijon is definitely worth adding to your itinerary. The locals are welcoming and the atmosphere is laid-back, making it a stress-free vacation. It’s also easy to get to from any major city. Then, there are so many things to do you’ll wonder why you didn’t stay longer. And now all that’s left to do is pack your bags and get ready for your trip!
Read More Articles About France
I hope you enjoyed my post about whether or not Dijon is worth visiting and found it useful. Here are some other articles that I think you might find interesting.
- I Hate France – Why Do a lot of People Dislike France?
- I Love France – Why Do You Love France or French?
- Is Paris an Island? Did It Used to Be an Island?