Places to Visit in Dijon, France

In France, Dijon is best known as the historic capital of Burgundy. The city in which the Eiffel Tower builder Gustave Eiffel was born in 1832 is known for its characteristic center, the history of Filip the Bold, the making of the Dijon mustard and the beautiful Musée des Beaux-Arts. The city of Dijon came to prominence around the eleventh century. The Dukes of Burgundy soon acquired the power that accompanied wealth. As a result, the city of Dijon gained more and more prestige and grew into an influential city in the field of art and science. We can still enjoy it today. Distributed in the center are a number of historical sites to discover such as Cistercian abbey (Abbaye Notre Dame de Citeaux),

Top 10 Things to Do in Dijon

#1. Museum of Fine Arts of Dijon
According to, the former palace of the Dukes of Burgundy on La Place de la Libération in Dijon now houses the Musée des Beaux-Arts de Dijon. Both the building itself and the collection on display inside are worth a visit. The palace, which clearly shows the Gothic and Renaissance architecture, was built around the fourteenth century. In the museum you can admire various works of art that cover a period from the Middle Ages to the twentieth century. Well-known works such as those by Monet, Guido Reni, Paul Prud’hon, Titian and the French Felix Trutat have all conquered a place here.

#2. Dijon Cathedral
At the end of the thirteenth century, the construction of the current Dijon Cathedral was started. The Saint-Bénigne cathedral, as the French call it, is named after the first bishop of Dijon. Although the building has endured many centuries and therefore also wars, the appearance of this cathedral has changed little or nothing. The nave shows clear Gothic influences, with the stained glass windows providing a more than beautiful incidence of light.

#3. Palace of the Dukes of Burgundy
In the middle of the central part of Dijon stands the former palace of the Dukes of Burgundy. The palace is located on the Place de la Libération. During the French Revolution, the square was renamed Place d’Armes and during World War II it was called Place du Marechal Petain. Today the palace is open to the public, as the Museum of Fine Arts is located there. The rooms, which today are filled with outstanding works of art from history, were once home to influential figures such as John the Fearless (Jean sans Peur), Philip the Good (Philippe le Bon) and Charles the Bold (Charles le Téméraire). Later on, kings and governors resided there again.

#4. Moses well
In the Chartreuse de Champmol monastery, which was founded in 1377, you can admire a beautiful sculpture by the Dutchman Claus Sluter. The commission for the Moses well comes from Philip II of Burgundy. The seven-meter-high statue depicts various characters from the Old Testament. For example, you can see the prophets Zechariah (with pen and ink), Jeremiah (with book), David (with harp) and Moses (with the ten commandments), Daniel (with his finger pointing at the text) and Isaiah (with his attributes on the belt) clearly. The clear details and the beautifully detailed facial features are very progressive and characteristic of this artist.

#5. Musée Magnin
The Magnin couple left the city of Dijon with quite an impressive collection of art. After the death of the art collector Maurice Magnin, it was decided to leave the art behind provided that a museum would be established for it that would be small-scale and radiate a homely atmosphere. These wishes have clearly been fulfilled in this Musée Magnin. The works of art are mainly from the sixteenth to the nineteenth century. Here too, of course, you will find Dutch art, that of the painter Pieter Lastman. Pieter Lastman had pupils such as Rembrandt van Rijn and Jan Lievens under him.

#6. Notre-Dame de Dijon
In the old center of the city of Dijon is the Notre Dame of the city. As early as the thirteenth century, the construction of this Roman Catholic church that would later enjoy much prestige was started. For example, the construction is still called admirable for the period in which it was built. Much attention has been paid to both the inside and the outside. Outside, for example, you can see about 51 gargoyles on the western facade. The clock, called the Jacquemart, on the tower with accompanying bells sounds every hour and every quarter of an hour. Inside, attention is mainly drawn to the statue of ‘Notre Dame de Bon-Espoir’ Our Lady of Good Hope.

#7. Musée de la Vie Bourguignonne
This museum about life in Burgundy is located in the former monastery Chartreuse de Champmol. You can clearly see how people lived in the countryside around the eighteenth century, the clothing in that period and various pieces of furniture. There are also counterfeit shops such as a grocery store, a pharmacy and a butcher’s shop. In this museum you get a small glimpse into the past.

#8. Jardin botanique de l’Arquebuse
If you’re looking for a peaceful environment, then you’ve come to the right place at the Jardin botanique de l’Arquebuse on Avenue Albert. This five-hectare park was partly designed as a botanical garden by Jean-Marie Morel, an eighteenth-century landscape gardener. Today, this area also houses the arboretum, natural history museum and planetarium.

#9. The owl route
Within Dijon you can take a fascinating city walk: the owl route. You don’t need an app or a map. All you have to do is follow the triangular owls that have been placed on the paths in the historic center of Dijon. The route starts in the Jardin Darcey. In total, the walk has a length of approximately five kilometers. you pass sights such as the Notre Dame of Dijon, the Arc de Triomphe and the owl after which the walk is named. This statue is located in Rue de la Chouette. If you touch this owl with your left hand, it should bring good luck. Whether you believe in it or not, almost every passer-by does this.

#10. Rue des Forges
The center of Dijon has a particularly beautiful characteristic street. Rue des Forges contains a number of beautiful mansions and tasteful facades from the fifteenth century. In between are a few chic hotels that radiate all the luxury and a number of nice shops. During historical walks and tours, the Rue des Forges is certainly not to be missed.

Dijon, France

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