Visit the Historic French City of Dijon
Located in eastern France on the road between Lyon and Paris, the city of Dijon started off as a Roman settlement, with the region later becoming the home of the Dukes of Burgundy. Between the early 11th and late 15th centuries, Dijon gained prominence financially and politically, as well as being a center of learning and culture. The city's architectural history includes Gothic and Renaissance design, with many of the houses in the city center dating back to the 18th century and even earlier. The palace once occupied by the Dukes of Burgundy currently houses a museum of medieval art and the city hall.
History enthusiasts will enjoy Dijon's architecture and museums. The architecture features polychrome roofs consisting of terracotta, yellow, green and black tiles, arranged in distinctive geometric patterns. Although the city was occupied by German armies for a time during World War II, it escaped the wide-scale destruction experienced by other French cities at the time. Because of this, a number of 12th to 15th century buildings have been well preserved.
Popular attractions in the city include the Musée des Beaux-Arts de Dijon, the Musée Archéologique, the Musée d’Art Sacré, the Ducal Palace and the Church of Notre Dame – where visitors can touch a stone relief sculpture of an owl for good luck. Opened to the public in 1787, the Musée des Beaux-Arts de Dijon is located in the Ducal Palace in Dijon's historic center. Its collection includes the tombs of Philip the Bold, Margaret of Bavaria and John the Fearless – prominent figures in the history of the Burgundy region of France. It is also home to a collection of Egyptian antiquities, Roman art, and famous artworks from the Renaissance.
Known internationally as the home of Dijon mustard, it seems fitting that the city of Dijon hosts the International Gastronomic Fair, attracting more than 200,000 visitors and over 500 exhibitors each year. Dijon mustard was created by Jean Naigeon of Dijon in 1856 when he substituted the vinegar in a traditional mustard recipe with the juice of unripe grapes. Today, Dijon mustard is generally made with white wine and, as its recipe and point of origin are not copyrighted, it is produced in countries other than France. Be sure to enjoy the real thing when exploring the historic French city of Dijon.