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Weekender: la chouette Dijon

A second wedding invitation this summer saw us heading to Rahon on the weekend of 14 July, and we took the opportunity to visit Dijon too. Probably not the best travel move of the year, since our sightseeing day was not only on a Sunday, it was also the 14 July, and just about everything was shut. We explored the town by foot randomly, and with some tips from the tourist information centres that were, surprisingly, open on a Sunday and a public holiday to boot, we found some activities to do.

Dijon

Dijon

Dijon

Dijon

Dijon

The main cathedral of the town – Cathédrale Saint-Bénigne de Dijon – is a curiously plain Gothic cathedral. It lacks the usual flamboyant buttresses, fantastic gargoyles, ginormous stained glasses, and ornated façades. According to the history of the cathedral, its construction nearly came to a halt after the death of then Abbot, Hugh d’Arc, who was responsible for gathering sufficient support to build it. It was eventually completed some 25 years later, with a resulting severe and solemn structure. Nonetheless, its interior is still beautiful by most standards, and worth a visit.

Cathédrale Saint-Bénigne

Cathédrale Saint-Bénigne

Cathédrale Saint-Bénigne

Cathédrale Saint-Bénigne

Cathédrale Saint-Bénigne

We continued our exploration along rue Piron to pass by a couple more churches adjacent to the cathedral, and in this eastward direction, we eventually came to pass the Palais de Justice, Place de la Liberation, Palais des Ducs, Grand Théâtre and St Michel, to name a few of the main sights.

Dijon

Dijon

Dijon

Dijon

Dijon

After a short lunch break, F and I headed back towards the train station for we were due to start a Segway guided tour! On a day where there were less people than usual, we had a lot of freedom to ride around most of the historical Dijon. Here, the standout piece of story (for me, at least) was that of the automated clock of Notre Dame – Jacquemart and Jacqueline stolen from Belgium, and they even have “children” Jacquelinet and Jacquelinette now! Bonus: we were a small group of just 5 people including the guide, so we have access to the guide at all time for questions and chit-chats, which was very nice. We zoomed around to see more of the town – how fun :D

Dijon

Dijon

Dijon

Dijon

Dijon

A visit to Dijon cannot be devoid of the mention of owl, the lucky mascot of the town. La chouette can be found everywhere, from markers on the street to lead people on self-guided tour, to various decorations in shops and restaurants. It all began with a single stone owl of the church of Notre Dame. Legend has everyone making a wish while touching the owl with the left hand, and if Lady Luck smiles upon you, then this good luck charm has done its job right.

Dijon

Dijon

Dijon

Dijon

Dijon

Before catching our train back, we also had just about enough time to climb the tower of Philippe Le Bon, perched over the Ducal Palace. The 300+ steps took us high up to enjoy a panoramic view of the town and its environs, and a guide with us also recounts the history and story of the tower, the palace, and the characteristics of the town and its region.

Dijon

Dijon

Dijon

Dijon

Dijon

Our visit was brief, and could certainly benefit from an extra day had we had the time to stay longer. The public holiday also rendered many museums shut from visits, and we did not have a chance to scout out manufactures of the famous Dijon mustard nor tour the surrounding wineyards of Burgundy. I guess this mean yet another French town to put on my “to-revisit” list. We did, however, grab some pain d’épices to keep me munching and happy.

Can I just say again how much I enjoy discovering France?



Category: Europe, France, Travel

Tagged: , , , , , , ,

6 scribbles & notes

  1. med says:

    very very nice….owls galore hehehe

  2. Stunning photos, comme d’habitude!

  3. Chloé says:

    Ooooh, I’ve been to Dijon a couple times (or 3 times even? oups) but always for work. I did manage to explore the city center quite a bit on foot, but basically never went inside any of the buildings. The city is lovely, but now I know I must go again to climb up the tower of Philippe le Bon :) Thanks for the tip!

    • Lil says:

      we explored mostly the exteriors too, so it was nice to climb the tower and get a panoramic experience. i highly recommend the segway tour though!

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