To continue our journey through Burgundy, our next stop after Epernay was Dijon, the capital city of Burgundy. Staying at the very centrally located Quality Hotel du Nord at Place Darcy, we were within walking distance from all that we wanted to see. It was a simmering hot day when we arrived in Dijon with temperatures hitting 33 degrees celsius. A bit of a shock for us coming from cooler climes.
The Musée des Beaux-Arts is located in the Palace of the Dukes of Burgundy, founded in 1787 but opened to the public since 1799. With paintings, sculptures and decorative arts that span a period from Egyptian antiquities to 20th Century Art. The Palace is located by the Place de la Libération. Walking down Rue de la Liberté, which extends from Place Darcy to the Palais des Ducs is a shopping street where you will find the famous Maille mustard boutique and the delicious spiced bread and cakes from Mulot & Petitjean, founded in 1796. Also close to Place de la Libération is a private museum, the Musée Magnin. The collection of nearly 2,000 artworks belonging to Maurice Magnin and his sister Jeanne who bequeathed it to the State in 1937 along with the elegant 17th Century building that houses the collection.
Place François Rude is a lovely square with a carousel and sculpture in the middle, surrounded by cafes and bars. The area is charming with half timbered, well preserved 15th-16th houses. The 13th Century Gothic Notre Dame of Dijon is impressive. We happened to walk into the Church just as Sunday Mass was being held, always beautiful to witness a service in the old churches. Just behind the Church is the charming Rue de la Chouette, with the mustard boutique Edmond Fallot and the Maison Millière, one of the oldest medieval buildings in Dijon which is now a Tea Salon.
The 19th Century Market Hall Les Halles is an impressive structure of metal and glass designed by Gustave Eiffel, of the Eiffel Tower fame and a son of Dijon. Fresh produce from the area in abundance, meat, cheese, gorgeous fresh seasonal vegetables, a veritable foodie heaven.
To end the day, the aperitif to drink here is Kir, a blend of Bourgogne Aligote and creme de cassis, and for dinner the Coq au Vin, a Bourgogne specialty. It was an enjoyable two days in Dijon with lots to see and experience and a perfect launching place to start our Burgundy wine trail.