Intoxicatingly inviting, Dijon — the capital of the Burgundy region — rises amid many of the best vineyards in France. Sure, the city's fame stretches internationally due to its stellar mustard and wines. Yet there's also a wealth of culture, fantastic art, and natural beauty. Add Medieval and Renaissance buildings, and you've got inspired afternoon strolls with loads of opportunities for selfies.
What We Love
Awesome Museums: The amazing Musée des Beaux-Arts is one of France’s most impressive art collections, showcasing work by Manet, Matisse, Monet, and Rodin, as well as pieces from Egypt and the European Middle Ages. It’s located in the Eastern wing of the majestic Palais des Ducs, a group of circa 14th-century structures that once housed Burgundy’s influential dukes. Nearby is the expansive Place de la Libération, dating from 1686. Fascinating, too, is Musée de la Vie Bourguignonne. Ensconced in a former 17th-century convent, the collection spotlights regional village life from centuries ago.
Shop Local: Les Halles, the covered artisan farmers market designed by Gustave Eiffel, who was born in Dijon, sells Instagram-worthy arranged produce and Gallic gastronomy four days a week.
Best Known For
Mustard: This is the centerpiece of France’s mustard region, where the spicy condiment has been refined to a culinary art in an array of flavors and colors. Sample, shop, and savor authentic recipes at the Grey Poupon Maille Boutique and Pain d'Épices de Dijon, among others.
Signature Cocktail: Invented by a former Dijon mayor, the local Kir — two parts white wine to one part crème de cassis, a French black currant liqueur — is a favorite predinner libation.
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Who It's Best For
Classical World Explorers: Wander over stone sidewalks around the medieval structures and Renaissance buildings on the self-guided Owl's Trail. The tour, which weaves through the city’s most charming corners, has 22 stops including the Rue des Forges, lined with noble homes; the medieval Maison Millière; and Tour Philippe le Bon. Tip: Climb the tower for awesome views.
Food Fans: This region of France is an epicenter of classic cuisine. Traditional regional marquee dishes include boeuf bourguignon, creamy-garlicky escargots à la bourguignonne, and coq au vin. Stop in any café, bistro, brasserie, or restaurant for a local speciality or check out one of our favorites — Chez Léon, Chez Nous, La Dame d’Aquitaine, La Maison des Cariatides, Le Bistrot des Halles, and Le Piano Qui Fume.
Don't Say We Didn't Warn You
Far Afield: The original mustard factories aren't located in the city proper. You'll need to factor in travel time to truly experience them.
Laura Manske is a New York-based contributor to ShermansCruise who has also written for Redbook, InStyle, and Cosmopolitan.