Wednesday, April 25, 2012

A Day Walking in Dijon

Halfway through our week in Dijon we were starting to get the feel of a town that the locals were most proud of. You could tell by the cleanliness of the streets and the helpfulness of people as you walked the streets regardless of the time, especially in the area we were staying.

On our first encounter with our host, Coco - she introduced us to Dijon's owl and "le Parcours de la Chouette" or the Owl's Trail. There are 22 points of interest which are marked with small brass owl plaques. We found several but if you were to do all and spend some time at each point of interest, it would take all day. We took in many of the Owl's recommendations over the days we stayed in Dijon.
The Trail starts outside the Office of Tourism.

There are 22 spots in Dijon with a brass plaque with the impression of an owl to point out Dijon's major attractions.

One of the attractions on the Owl's Trail is the Moutarde Maille shop that Sue needed to explore - As can be seen on the side of the building, Antoine Maille founded his Mustard business in 1747 after running a vinegar business in Marseilles. Folklore has it that Maille encouraged the locals to rub his vinegar on their bodies to protect themselves against the plague.

As you walk the Owl Trail you note the various centuries of architectural change from medieval stonework and half timbered buildings.

The Burgundian nobility, Dukes of Valois established the Palais des Ducs with it's high rising tower. We were fortunate to be in an apartment in a street that led into the half circular "square" and it was one of the first sights that you would be confronted with each morning.

And if you were foot weary, you could always take a little bus to the various Dijon sights.

Another view from inside the gates of the 15th Century Palais des Ducs - a place to watch the passing parade of locals on their way to work or school - or in the evening when they come out to play.

As we turned into a small curving back street we were confronted by this structure - I wish I could tell you more of its history.

The ornate gates as you enter Palais des Ducs.

Coco told us to be bold and if there was a gate or door slightly ajar, then walk in and you might discover a grand home. She was right on many occasions.
The Place Francois Rude is named after Dijon born sculpture Francois Rude.
There's a statue in the middle of the square of a naked man squashing grapes which I was told was one of his works.
Leaving Dijon for Paris to study further, his works can be seen in the Louvre and Musee d'Orsay. His statue of Joan of Arc stands in the Luxembourg gardens and he also contributed to the bass relief on the Arc de Triomphe.

During our walk we wandered into this wonderful building with the gorgeous staircase. BUT, note the building peeking at you from the left of the picture.
Here's a full view - how different is it from it's neighbour?
During researching our time in Dijon, I came across this etching from days gone by of the same two buildings. Nothing much has changed when you study the picture very closely.
If ever you find yourself in Dijon, you'll discover "le Parcours de la Chouette" a great experience. Like us, don't rush it and maybe break it up over a couple of days if staying for a full week. Dijon deserves it.
Next Wednesday we'll show you the village of Dole, not far from Dijon and then our last full day in Dijon.


  1. I loved those owls, I thought that they were a great idea. Some of these photos I recognise, many I don't. It is a place I would really love to go back to with a bit more time than last time. I would also like to see Rheims again. Maybe we can a plan a trip sometime to do them both en route to the UK.
    Not long now, I hope the weather improves for you, it is foul here at the moment!!!! Diane

  2. And we have had constant rain and getting cold as well so I think we might be in training for your weather.
    Will make contact on the weekend about our route to Loire.
    Maybe time to have a coffee.

  3. Dijon looks like an interesting place.

  4. CW - It is - it is. would always go back and arounf Dijon is also worth doing - next Wednesday we go to Dole not far from Dijon.
    After that we are "really" in France for the whole of May so I guess we need to change our Blog masthead to "Everday in France".


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