01 – 02/09/2016
Paris to Dijon was approximately one and half hours by train. A comfortable commute.
After dropping our bags at the hotel, which was conveniently located right next to the train station, we went off wandering. That’s pretty much all we did while in Dijon. But it was a welcome change after being so on the go in Paris.
Over our two days, we wandered in and around the church of Saint Michel de Dijon, the cathedral of Saint Bénigne de Dijon, the church of Notre Dame, Musée Rude, Poste Grangier, and the Palais des Ducs de Bourgogne in Place de la Liberation.
Being the mustard capital, we had to sample the goods. We popped into Maison Maille. I’d never imagined there to be so many different flavours of mustard! Raspberry and basil, fig, saffron, black truffle, beetroot, gingerbread, walnut and white wine. The mustard had a bit more bite to it than I’m used to when I think of the Dijon mustard back home. It was more reminiscent of hot English mustard, going right up your nose after the initial taste. I liked it.
Amy and I had been saying we wanted to find an old second-hand bookshop, and Dijon delivered. This bookshop had books on a range of topics (cooking, politics, religion, history, astronomy, etc.), dating back as far as the 1700s! They were selling pretty cheap too. I would’ve loved to pick up one or two to add to my book collection, but I just didn’t have the space. So instead I opted for an old postcard that was posted in the 1940s. I’ll have to try translate the short message.
We also stopped in at a boutique grastonomique, where I tried fois gras for the first time. Wrapped in jambon, with a small nip of chilled sweet wine to finish. Delicious. We ended up buying some for lunch because they had a 2-for-1 special. Safe to say, lunch was calorie-rich that day. I have to admit that I was done after the first few mouthfuls. But I thought, how often do I actually eat fois gras? So I ended up eating it all.
On day two we caught brunch at Les Halles marché. There was an array of stalls – fruit, vegetables, bread, seafood, cheese, meat (with skinned rabbits and whole birds with the head and feet included), antipasti. There was even a stall selling Asian food, and a wine bar when you just need to a break from food shopping. We picked up a few things for lunch – a small cantaloupe, some jambon, a baguette, and a bottle of wine. The butter knife that we bought in Versailles came in handy. It had cut through the melon like butter.
What started off as a simple photo of me in front of a doorway with a baguette, quickly became #doorwaysofdijon. I have no idea how. But it added a little fun and purpose to our meandering.
We wanted to do the Philip the Good Tower tour on our last evening, but they had cancelled tours due to a free concert being on in the Place de la Liberation. We never found out what the free concert was for, but it was a fun way to wrap up our time in Dijon. The first band we saw was really good. They had an old school funk soul sound. The second act (Declan McKenna, a British lad who looked to be about 15 years old) wasn’t as good. Maybe I was just jaded after his super long sound check. He was entertaining though. He played all original songs, which weren’t bad, but we just wanted at least one cover song that we could sing and dance along to. Specifically, Breezeblocks by Alt-J. I’m not sure why we were desperate for that particular song, but in hindsight, I’m glad he didn’t sing it. I don’t think he would’ve suited it.
I really liked Dijon. I didn’t know much about it when I arrived. Just that it was home to Dijon mustard. What I can say now though, is that it’s a modest yet charming city that’s made me even more excited to explore what else France has to offer. All in all, a fabulous albeit short stay in Dijon.