The Most Unique Things to Do in Dijon

Dijons historical centre
Dijon's historical centre | © Andrea Schaffer / Flickr

Dijon is packed with top-notch restaurants, excellent wines and stunning architecture, but if you’re looking for some truly unique things to see and do in the amazing capital of Burgundy, check out these slightly bizarre attractions.

1. Discover a medieval 'robot' family


Every 15 minutes the bells in the famous Gothic Notre-Dame church ring out. Lift up your eyes to the top of the bell tower and you’ll see a family hard at work. Banging on the bell with his heavy hammer is Papa Jacquemart, who was installed in 1382. His wife Jacqueline joined him three centuries later, and then came along their two children – son Jacquelinet in 1741 and daughter Jacquelinette in 1884. The familial figures have led to this mechanism being one of the best-known automats in France.

Église de Notre-Dame, Dijon, France

Jacquemart family in Dijon’s Notre-Dame church | © Christophe.Finot / Wikimedia

2. Check out the curse of the 'Maison sans Toit'


Once you spot the building it does have a slightly sinister aspect compared to the beautiful half-timbered homes around it. There’s something off, and then you realise that it doesn’t have a roof so the empty dormers look like empty eyes. Urban legend has it that the house belonged to a pastry chef whose famous meat pies and patés – made according to a secret recipe – were found on the best tables in Burgundy. One day, a lady cried into the streets that she couldn’t find her young son – let’s just say that the recipe was no longer so mysterious when they inspected the basement of the infamous shopkeeper. He was condemned to death and the roof of the house removed as a sign of shame.

15 rue Bossuet, Dijon, France

3. Rub an owl's belly

Building, Church

Dijon is full of fascinating old stories and legends. The symbol of the city and unofficial good-luck charm is an owl, and you’ll find the original inspiration on the outside of the church of Notre-Dame. This unusual Gothic building is famous for its carvings but also for the legend of its outdoor occupant. The little stone carving of the chouette is said to bring good fortune to those who touch it with their left hand. The carving was vandalized in 2001 but later restored and now once again enjoys local celebrity status.

1 Rue de la Chouette, Dijon, France

The good luck chouette in Dijon | © Wikimedia / StéphaneMarie

5. Seg in the city

Ask at the tourism office to take part in a Segway tour of the historic centre of Dijon – the coolest way to see the sights. You can join solo or with your friends and will be able to choose from three different itineraries.

11 rue des Forges, Dijon, France

Segway tour in Dijon | © Fanny Bonnard / OT Dijon

Discover a 4th-century hero

Dijon’s cathedral is dedicated to Saint Benignus, as it is built on the martyr’s burial site. His sarcophagus is still visible in the crypt of a tomb, which was originally made to look like a pagan burial site to send his persecutors off the scent. It succeeded and not only deceived his opposition but also survived the collapse of the original church in 1272, an earthquake in 1280 and the French Revolution.

Place Saint-Benigne, Dijon, France, +33 (0)3 80 30 39 33

The eerie crypt of Saint Benigne

6. Counting bubbles

Burgundy may be renowned internationally for its red, but there’s a little secret treasure well known to locals – Burgundy’s sparkling wines. They can’t be called Champagne because they’re not created in the region and the grape composition is slightly different, but they are just as interesting and enjoyable (and less pricey). The Imaginarium tells the story of the Crémant de Bourgogne in a fun and entertaining way so you can discover this fantastic bubbly.

Avenue du Jura, Nuits-Saint-Georges, France, +33 03 80 62 61 40

The Imaginatrium wine-centric infotainment | © Imaginarium Bourgogne

Have a Kir in the cradle of Kir

Kir is a popular apéritif made with a splash of crème de cassis – the local blackcurrant liqueur – topped up with aligoté white wine. It used to be called blanc-cassis, but after Félix Kir, Mayor of Dijon, offered it to visiting delegates after World War II, it became known as Kir; there’s also the Kir Royale version made with sparkling crémant wine.

Kir, the official drink of Dijon

7. Adrenaline on ice

Yes, ice hockey is big in Dijon, and you can catch a game featuring local team Ducs whenever the Ligue Magnus (top division of the men’s ice hockey league) has a game at the Patinoire Trimolet. Escape the tourists and hang out with the locals to gawp at a sport as exciting for spectators as it is for players.

1 Boulevard Trimolet, Dijon, France

landscape with balloons floating in the air


Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world

Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.

Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.

Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.

Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.

We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.

Winter Sale Offers on Our Trips

Incredible Savings

Edit article