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
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
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
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
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.