Cultural activities

Dijon, the former capital of the Dukes of Burgundy, was the seat of the most powerful European state of the late 14th and early 15th centuries-- more powerful than even the king of France-- and the center of the city, with its ducal palace, impressive bourgeois houses,  and ancient charming streets, reflects this wealth.  Dijon, the capital of modern Burgundy, with a population of approximately 125,000 in the metropolitan area, is a city of art and culture, home to six museums (the Fine Arts Museum is the second most renowned museum in France after the Louvre), several theatre companies, an opera company, and numerous music and dance festivals which are held throughout the year.  

 

 

Burgundy is world-renowned for having one of the richest and most varied French cuisine:  escargot, Burgundy beef stew, cassis (black currents), coq au vin, a wide array of regional cheeses, poached-eggs in red wine sauce... and of course mustard!  

Here you enter the region of some of the most celebrated wines in the world. Starting from the southern tip of Dijon and continuing for 45 kilometers to the south is the Côte de Nuits, home to the reputed wines of Nuits-Saint-Georges, Pommard, Meursault, Vosne-Romanée, Chambolle-Musigny, Clos de Vougeot, and Puligny-Montrachet, to name a few. To the west lies Chablis, with its elegant white wines.  At the southernmost tip of Burgundy, the refreshing wines of Beaujolais are created. And in each village, dozens of winemakers are ready to welcome you into their caves for a chance to taste their wines.  

Within two hours of Dijon lie some of the most important historical sites in France.  Vézelay, a major pilgrimage site of the 11th century and starting point of one of the medieval routes to Santiago de Compostela, holds the haunting romanesque Basilica of the Madeleine (UNESCO World Heritage), where St. Bernard preached the Second Crusade.  It was also the site chosen by St. Francis of Assisi for the first of his monasteries in France.  The Abbey of Fontenay (UNESCO World Heritage) is one of the most ancient Cistercian churches preserved in France.  Beaune, a half hour's drive away, is a charming village complete with ramparts encircling the town and the most magnificent hospital for the poor (14th-century) in France.

 

Socializing

For the traditional holidays-- Christmas, Epiphany, Easter-- families and friends come together for the other delights of France:  crepes, chocolate, spice breads, pastries...


Day trips and Excursions

The Alliance Française organizes visits to the workshops of local craftsmen, such as pastry bakers, printers, a lute maker, visits to the regional daily newspaper, an escargot-raising farm, a local radio station, a barrel-maker (cooper) for wine, a barge trip on one of the many regional canals, a tour of the Chateau du Clos de Vougeot,  and trips to Paris.  Each month, we offer a themed guided tour of a different local museums.