Dabbling in Jet Lag
Less than two hours from Paris, in the heart of Burgundy, lies a true hidden gem in France, Dijon. Yes, it’s small, but this little town packs a punch. From classic French architecture to world-class museums, Dijon has it all. And because it’s so compact you won’t need more than a day to see the main highlights. Add it to your tour of eastern France or make it a day trip from Lyon or Paris, either way, you won’t regret it!
So, to help you plan your trip I’ve put together the ultimate guide to spending one day in Dijon. This itinerary covers must-see attractions like Dijon’s Notre Dame Cathedral, the Parcours de la Chouettes, and Musée des Beaux Arts. There are also a few hidden places to take you off the beaten path. You’ll be immersed in culture, art, and cuisine. It has everything to guarantee an amazing trip!
Table of Contents
- Map of Dijon
- One Day in Dijon – 21 Things to Do
- Best Restaurants in Dijon
- Where to Stay in Dijon
- Best Time to Visit Dijon
- How to Get to Dijon
- Frequently Asked Questions
Map of Dijon
Below is a map of Dijon containing all the places listed in this guide. Click here or on the map to open Google Maps.
One Day in Dijon – 21 Things to Do
1. Marvel at the Palais des Ducs de Bourgogne
The Palais des Ducs de Bourgogne dominates the center of Dijon. Overlooking the Place de la Libération, this Gothic-style palace dates from the 14th century. And it served as the formal seat of power for the Dukes of Burgundy until 1848. Today, the palace houses several museums as well as municipal offices.
Address: 1 Rue Rameau
2. Stroll Down Rue Verrerie
It’s true that there is no shortage of beautiful streets in Dijon. But Rue Verrerie is one of the most picturesque.
Like the towns in Alsace, this street is full of colorful half-timbered houses that date to the 15th century. While some are residential, most are antique shops selling unique items. Stop in one of the stores or enjoy a delicious cup of coffee at one of the many cafés.
3. Visit the Original Maille Boutique
Of course, no trip to Dijon is complete without visiting the original Maille boutique. After all, this is where Dijon mustard comes from!
This iconic shop first opened in 1845 and is known for its unique varieties of mustards. Not only will you get to sample different types of mustards, but you’ll also learn about the production process. Then, if you’d like to buy some mustard, sommeliers are there to help you choose the right one!
Address: 32 Rue de la Liberté
4. Take in the Views from Belvédère de Talant
On the outskirts of Dijon lies one of the city’s best-kept secrets, Belvédère de Talant. From the top, you’ll have the most magnificent panoramic view.
It’s an hour’s slog uphill, but your efforts will be worth it. And because it’s not in any guidebook, you’ll have the place to yourself. Go for sunrise or sunset or pack a lunch and enjoy it at the top. Either way, you won’t be disappointed!
Address: 33 Rue Notre Dame
5. Follow Le Parcours de la Chouette
Looking for a unique way to explore Dijon? If so, then following the Parcours de la Chouette (Owl’s Trail) is for you! This charming self-guided walking tour will take you through some of the city’s most interesting sites. It takes about two hours, but you’ll have so much fun, the time will fly. Follow the symbols on the ground or stop by the Tourist Office for a map!
Tourist Office Address: 11 Rue des Forges
6. Discover Dijon’s Notre Dame Cathedral
Located in the heart of Dijon lies the ever-impressive Notre Dame Cathedral. Built in the 13th century, this Gothic-style masterpiece is most noted for its intricate sculptures. In fact, it’s considered one of the most beautiful churches in Burgundy. Take a tour of the outside then head inside for something truly spectacular. Its arched ceiling stretches to the heavens while the gentle light illuminates the altar. It will no doubt leave you in awe.
Address: 2 Place Notre Dame
7. Tour the Musée des Beaux Arts
This stunning museum showcases some of France’s most renowned works of art. Not only that but it’s also housed in the Palais des Ducs de Bourgogne! It’s a chance to explore some fantastic exhibits while touring one of the most beautiful palaces in France. From ancient sculptures to modern art, the Musée des Beaux Arts has quite the collection. They even have paintings by Claude Monet! And best of all, admission is free!
Address: 1 Rue Rameau
8. Walk around Arquebuse Botanical Gardens
The Arquebuse Botanical Gardens is a tranquil oasis amidst a bustling city. Boasting five hectares of lush gardens, this paradise is home to thousands of plants. It’s also filled with winding paths and streams that provide the perfect setting for a peaceful stroll. I spent the morning touring the gardens and had the place to myself. It was a great start to my one day in Dijon!
Address: 1 Avenue Albert 1er
9. Enjoy Porte Guillaume
Porte Guillaume dates to the 12th century when it served as a gate to the city. It’s named after Guillaume de Volpiano who was head of the monastery at Saint Bénigne abbey. While it’s not a replica of the Arc de Triomphe, it does bear some resemblance. So, if you’re visiting Paris this summer, visit both so you can compare!
Address: 13 Place Darcy
10. Discover the Saint Bénigne Cathedral
One of the most iconic and beautiful landmarks in Dijon is the majestic Saint Bénigne Cathedral. Built between 1280 and 1325, this Gothic-Romanesque-style cathedral became a national monument in the 14th century. Today, you can visit the church for free. And, at night, the streetlights illuminate the steeple and highlight its architecture. It was one of the most beautiful things I saw during my time in Dijon.
Address: Place Saint Bénigne
11. Explore Lake Kir
Head to Lake Kir for some outdoor fun! This beautiful lake is surrounded by a whopping 30 hectares of green space. From swimming and sunbathing to canoeing and cycling, there are a ton of activities to do here. It’s the perfect place to escape the hustle and bustle of the city.
Useful Tip: If you’re visiting on the 14th of July, there’s a concert and a fireworks display!
Address: Avenue du 1er Consul
12. Climb the Tour Phillippe le Bon
Philippe le Bon, also known as Philip the Good, was a Duke of Burgundy who ruled from 1419 to 1467. He’s best known for establishing Burgundy as a center for arts and culture. Not only that but during his reign, the region was at the height of its prosperity.
And Tour Philippe le Bon, which overlooks the city, was built as a symbol of his success.
Today, you can climb the tower for some of the most beautiful views over the city. Tours are only offered by the Tourist Office and reservations are necessary. I recommend booking in advance because it’s one of the most popular things to do in Dijon.
Address: Place des Ducs de Bourgogne
13. Try a Glass of Burgundy Wine
Last but certainly not least, trying a glass of wine in Dijon is a must. There is a myriad of great wineries, bars, and wine cellars that do tastings. Of the bars, I recommend La Cave Se Rebiffe. It’s located right in the center of Dijon and has a wide selection of wine.
14. Discover the Maison Millard dit Milsand
Once the house of Jean Millard, who was the mayor of Dijon in 1560. This 16th-century masterpiece was designed by the cabinet maker and sculptor Hughes Sambin. It displays some of the most unique design elements in the city. From lion heads to garlands of fruits and flowers, and trophies, it’s something to see firsthand.
Useful Tip: The entrance is not obvious so be sure to keep your eyes peeled.
Address: 38 Rue des Forges
15. Visit the Rude Museum
The Rude Museum is dedicated to none other than François Rude, a renowned French sculptor. Here you’ll find some of his most infamous pieces, including La Marseillaise from the Arc de Triomphe de l’Étoile. So, whether you are an art enthusiast or simply interested in learning more about this beloved artist, a visit to this unique space is a must. And the best part is, it’s free!
Address: 8 Rue Vaillant
16. Relax in Jardin Darcy
Jardin Darcy is a small park right in the center of Dijon. It’s known for its grandiose terraces, waterfalls, and ponds. There’s even a large sculpture of a polar bear in the center! If you’ve spent the day wandering around Dijon, it’s a great place to stop for a small break and relax your weary feet.
Address: Place Darcy
17. Shop at Les Halles Market
I’m captivated by France’s markets. The authenticity and the bustling atmosphere are so contagious I can’t help but spend a few hours going from stand to stand.
So, if you’re spending one day in Dijon, a visit to Les Halles Market should be at the top of your list.
This vibrant market is filled with fresh produce, local delicacies, and unique souvenirs. Whether you’re looking for a snack or something special to bring home as a gift, Les Halles has something for everyone.
The full market is open Tuesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, so try to plan your trip on one of these days. You won’t regret it!
Address: Halles centrales de Dijon, chez Salaisons de Campagne
18. Tour the Maison Millière
Built in the 15th century by Guillaume Millière, a merchant, and his wife Guillemette Durand, Maison Millière has survived the test of time. In fact, it’s often referred to as the soul of Burgundy.
While it changed hands several times over the years, today, it serves as a restaurant and salon de thé with a small shop. Stop by to admire the charming garden or enjoy a delicious meal!
Address: 10, 12, 14 Rue de la Chouette
19. Relax in Place François Rude
Named after François Rude (like the Rude Museum), this public square is a popular gathering place for locals and tourists alike. In fact, it’s one of the most photographed spots in Dijon!
From its impressive monuments to its vibrant atmosphere, there’s something here for everyone. Meander around the square or stop by one of the bistros for a glass of wine and watch the city unfold.
20. Meander down Rue des Forges
Located near Place François Rude, Rue des Forges is one of the most stunning streets in Dijon. Here rows of charming boutiques housed in decadent buildings line narrow cobbled streets. Some of the most famous include, Hôtel Morel-Sauvegrain, Hôtel Aubriot Maison Maillard, and Hôtel Chambellan. I spent about 30 minutes walking up and down Rue des Forges, and I still couldn’t pull myself away!
21. Admire Saint Michael Church
Located in the heart of Dijon lies the breathtaking Saint Michael Church. This 16th-century church displays a mix of Gothic and Renaissance styles. There’s also a heavy Italian influence, which separates it from the other churches in Dijon. There’s even a small garden next to the church that’s usually empty where you can take a small break from touring the city.
Address: 5 Place Saint-Michel
Best Restaurants in Dijon
Dijon has quite a selection of restaurants, so it can be hard to choose. Here are a few that I recommend:
- L’Arôme – A modern French restaurant with several tantalizing options.
- Restaurant Dijon L’évidence | Restaurant Bistronomique – Excellent food and service at a reasonable price.
- Les Friands Disent – Specializing in typical dishes from Dijon, this restaurant is a must-try!
Where to Stay in Dijon
There is no shortage of places to stay in Dijon. Below are a few places that I recommend:
- Hôtel des Ducs – A beautiful three-star hotel located in the center of Dijon.
- Hostellerie Du Chapeau Rouge – A modern hotel near the historic center. The breakfast here is amazing!
- Hôtel République – A family-run hotel with cozy rooms. It’s the best mid-range option in Dijon.
Best Time to Visit Dijon
- April to June – This is one of the best times to visit Dijon. It’s not crowded, the weather is beautiful, and prices are lower.
- July to August – This is the worst time to travel in Dijon. The prices are at their highest, the crowds are unbearable, and the heat is stifling.
- September to November – This is another great time to visit Dijon. The crowds have thinned, and prices start to decrease. Then, if you’re lucky, you’ll get to see the magnificent fall colors.
- December – If you want to see Dijon’s Christmas market, December is the best time to visit.
- January to March – This is the worst time to visit. The skies are grey and gloomy and it’s cold. And since Dijon doesn’t have any ski resorts, it’s not worth your time.
How to Get to Dijon
How to Get to Dijon from Paris
By Train: From Paris’ Gare de Lyon station trains run regularly to Dijon and take less than two hours. You can book your train tickets online by clicking here.
By Bus: Buses are less frequent (but cheaper) than trains and take between three to five hours. You can book your bus tickets online by clicking here.
By Car: Driving from Paris to Dijon takes three and a half hours (315 kilometers or 195 miles).
By Private Transfer: There’s no easier way to get from Paris to Dijon than by a private transfer. It’s easy and hassle-free. You can book your private transfer by clicking here.
How to get to Dijon from Lyon
By Train: Trains from Lyon Part Dieu (Lyon’s main train station) run regularly to Dijon and take two hours. You can book your train tickets by clicking here.
By Bus: Buses are less frequent (but cheaper) than trains and take two hours. You can book your bus tickets online by clicking here.
By Car: Driving from Lyon to Dijon takes about two hours (195 kilometers or 121 miles).
How to get to Dijon from Strasbourg
By Train: Trains from Strasbourg’s central station run regularly to Dijon and take two hours. You can book your train tickets online by clicking here.
By Bus: Buses are less frequent (but cheaper) than trains and take five hours. You can book your bus tickets online by clicking here.
By Car: Driving from Lyon to Dijon takes about four hours (330 kilometers or 205 miles).
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Dijon, France a Walkable City?
Yes, Dijon is a very walkable city. Pedestrian-only streets wind through the compact city center, making it easy and enjoyable to explore the city on foot.
Is It Worth Visiting Dijon?
Yes, it is worth visiting Dijon! The city is full of beautiful monuments, lush gardens, and cobblestone streets that make it a joy to explore. It offers the perfect mix of history, culture, good food, and wine.
How Much Time Do You Need in Dijon?
In general, one day in Dijon is enough to see the main highlights. If you want to explore Dijon plus other towns in Burgundy, two or three days are necessary.
Do People Speak English in Dijon?
Yes, many people in Dijon speak English. Museums, restaurants, and hotels usually have someone who can understand and speak basic English. But the official language in Dijon is French, so knowing a few phrases will go a long way.
What is Dijon Famous For?
Dijon is famous for its mustard, wine, and exquisite medieval architecture. And, of the sites to visit, the Palais des Ducs de Bourgogne and Dijon’s Notre Dame Cathedral are the most impressive.
Is Dijon or Lyon Better?
It depends on what you’re looking for in a city. For spectacular medieval architecture, Dijon is a great option. But if you’re more interested in visiting a lively city with a ton of things to do then Lyon may be your ideal choice.
I’ve been to both cities, and I have to say they are both great places to visit. If you have enough time, Dijon is only two hours (by train) from Lyon, so you could easily visit both in a single trip.
Does Dijon Have a Beach?
Yes, Dijon has a beach. It’s next to Lake Kir. If you’re looking to cool off in the heat of the summer, it’s a great place to visit.
What to Buy in Dijon, France?
Dijon is famous for its mustard, so be sure to pick up a few jars as a souvenir. I recommend the original Maille boutique. They have the widest selection and there are mustard sommeliers on staff to help you choose! You can also buy Burgundy wine or find some artisanal cheeses at the local market. Finally, if you’re interested in fashion or other accessories, Dijon has several one-of-a-kind boutiques.
Dijon is a beautiful city with plenty to offer! Whether you’re looking for medieval architecture, good wine, or unique shops, it has something for everyone. After visiting Dijon, I was surprised to learn that it’s often overlooked by tourists. So, hopefully, this guide has convinced you to add it to your list of places to visit in France. And you can use this one-day in Dijon itinerary to help plan your trip!
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