20 Must-Visit Attractions in Dijon

| ©Thierryjannolle/WikiCommons

While famous for its mustard and medieval history, Dijon is in fact one of the best-kept secrets in France. The beautiful city has retained the friendly atmosphere of a much smaller town and is brimming with museums, galleries, shops and cafés. With so much to see and do, here is our list of the top things not to miss on your visit.

Tour Philippe le Bon

In one of the oldest surviving sections of the Ducal Palace, the climb to the Philippe le Bon’s tower affords an incredible view of the city, well worth the 46-meter ascent to the viewing terrace.

Place des Ducs de Bourgogne, Dijon

View from the Philippe le Bon tower

1. Notre Dame Church

Church

Church of Notre-Dame of Dijon, Dijon
©Sylvia Edwards Davis
The 13th-century church of Notre Dame is a striking example of Gothic architecture, with a one-of-a-kind façade that features dozens of grotesques figures, some quite predictable, most downright strange. On the outside corner on Rue de la Chouette is the famous little stone carving of the owl, the symbol of Dijon, said to bring good luck to those who touch it with their left hand.

Rue de la Verrerie

This is one of a number of streets in Dijon that are rich in history. Walking along the few blocks from Notre Dame to the end of the Rue de la Verrerie you can easily imagine you are out for your daily shopping in medieval times. The narrow street with its impeccable preserved façades is a magical promenade, lined with chic boutiques, art galleries and antique shops.

Rue de la Verrerie, Dijon

Rue Verrerie

Les Halles Market

The most fabulous covered market is brimming with fresh produce, charcuterie, cheeses, wines, pastries… you name it. Not just for foodies, the market is such a hub of activity in the morning, that it makes for a wonderful spot to people-watch and get a sense for the rhythm of local life and the famous French art de vivre.

Halles Centrales de Dijon

Les Halles market in Dijon

2. Musée Magnin

Museum

Musée Magnin
©Sylvia Edwards Davis
This is a mansion-sized time capsule. The home of collectors Jeanne and Maurice Magnin, the museum houses a rich collection of paintings, drawings and objects, which they left to the state in 1938. Under the terms of the donation, the home and every work of art must be exhibited exactly as specified by the Magnin’s.

3. Musée Archéologique

Museum

Archeology Museum in Dijon
©Côte d'Or Tourisme/F. Bonnard
The museum traces the history of human presence in Burgundy. The setting is magnificent, in the old Bénedictine Saint Benigne Abbey, with artifacts and treasures from prehistoric times to the Middle Ages.

Lac Kir

The man-made lake Kir offers a scenic playground for water sports surrounded by acres of parkland for camping, hiking, biking, and picnicking.

Lac Kir, Dijon, France

Lac Kir, Dijon

4. Musée Rude

Church, Museum

Musée Rude in Dijon
©Côte d'Or Tourisme/F. Bonnard
The Musée Rude is dedicated to the work of the talented artist François Rude and features monumental sculptures and life-size plaster casts, set in the Saint-Étienne church.

5. Musée de la Vie Bourguignonne

Monastery, Museum

Museum of Life in Burgundy
©Côte d'Or Tourisme/R. Krebel
This quirky museum is full of interesting detail. Located in the Bernadine Monastery, the exhibits showcase the costumes, household objects and daily routine of life in the Burgundy countryside. The museum also displays a crypt dating back to the 11th century and remains of the gate of the Roman legionnaire’s fortified camp, on which the church was erected.

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