A Travellerspoint blog

Dijon - a gorgeous French city

Day 27 — July 27, 1996 (Saturday)

Rue de la Liberté with flags flying

Rue de la Liberté with flags flying

Decided to get breakfast on the way to Dijon — all breakfasts are the same in France anyway. Only the price varies and that is regional. Loire breakfasts were 15F, Burgundian breakfasts are in the 30-34F range — they just look and taste the same. They are truly saved by the great bread! [Over the years this has also changed. You can get a full English breakfast many places and an American breakfast most places. They have also discovered the breakfast buffet. Personally, I like the old-fashioned bread, confiture and coffee but many people want a more substantial breakfast.]

In Dijon on a Saturday morning not much was open so we ended up eating breakfast in front of the Musée Rude. We searched a little and found pay parking in front of Les Palais des Ducs — perfect because the Musée des Beaux-Arts was our first stop. We got a ticket for seven Dijon museums which we discovered was a waste because you can’t do seven museums in one day, at least not and do them justice. We did make a very good effort though.

Spent the morning in the Beaux-Arts and had just discovered the wonderful modern art section — even the building design is art — when we were chased out so they could eat their sacred lunch.

*****

Porte Guillaume in Dijon

Porte Guillaume in Dijon

We wandered down Rue de la Liberte to Porte Guillaume with its impressive triumphal arch. I put my life in danger to photograph it from near the center of the road . . . . and lived to tell about it! Walked back to Place Rude and up Rue des Forges to Église Notre Dame — a great square beast of a church sporting row upon row of gargoyles above the portal. There is a totally mismatched clock tower with a crazy mechanical clock — a sight unto itself! [Église Notre Dame is often referred to in guides as Cathedral Notre Dame but it is not the seat of the bishop so it is not a cathedral. The cathedral in Dijon is Cathédrale Saint-Bénigne de Dijon a few blocks away from Notre Dame and worth a visit in its own right.]

Eglise Notre Dame in Dijon

Eglise Notre Dame in Dijon


Mural near Les Halles in Dijon

Mural near Les Halles in Dijon


Colorful tile roof in Dijon

Colorful tile roof in Dijon

The Grand Theater

The Grand Theater

Museum of Fine Arts - Dijon

Museum of Fine Arts - Dijon


Wandered the back streets with the old old half-timbered houses and finally decided on lunch at an outdoor café across from the Musée des Beaux-Arts. Lunch over, it was shopping time so we bought some mustards and a mustard jar, a new parking ticket and headed back to finish seeing the modern art section at Beaux Arts. At this entrance I was greeted by an hysterical French woman guard telling me I couldn’t take my little backpack purse with me — the one I had worn at the same museum all morning! I took my money, credit cards and passport out and checked the bag — grumpily! She cheerfully let me take my camera bag and paint pen into the museum! I guess idiots come in all nationalities.

We ran back up to modern art and picked up where we left off for the guards’ lunch. The Grenoble museum really boasted about their modern collection and so did a couple guidebooks, but we found Dijon’s collection to be more extensive, far better quality and very dramatically displayed.

The guard stopped us and asked if we had heard the news. No, we hadn’t. He told us there had been a bombing at the Atlanta Olympic Park during the Summer Olympics. How awful!

*****

Rubbing the owl (chouette) on Eglise Notre Dame in Dijon

Rubbing the owl (chouette) on Eglise Notre Dame in Dijon

Remembered we had forgotten to rub the owl on Notre Dame, so we walked back to the church to see a wedding party — tin cans and all — pulling away from the church. After they left, we walked around the left side and watched carefully. Soon several people walked over and rubbed a spot on the church, so we followed. A man laughed at me, but when he thought we were gone, he rubbed it too. [The story is that if you rub the little owl with your left hand while making a wish that the wish will come true. I did wish to return to Dijon and it did come true. The owl is a symbol of Dijon and there is an owl walk you can get at the tourist office and you follow brass owls set into the streets. It's great fun.]
The Owl's Trail web site

*****

Place François Rude in Dijon

Place François Rude in Dijon

So many museums; so little time. We dashed over to the “Rude” Museum (Musée Rude) and were overwhelmed by three things, (1) the immense size of the sculpture you see as you enter, (2) the paucity of other works, and (3) no one checked our ticket — we could have wandered in for free!
Musée Rude web site

*****

Old Town Dijon

Old Town Dijon

Since “Rude” was so tiny (the collection, not the main exhibit), we made a mad dash to Musée Magnin to see what we could before closing. (A rather chatty guard in Beaux-Arts modern had gotten us behind schedule. He told us he thought he heard there had been a bomb in Atlanta — not good news.) In the Magnin we looked at rooms. There were too many paintings displayed per wall (and not very impressive ones, at that) to actually look at the collection so we tore through the museum glancing at walls of paintings and floors of furniture and quickly realizing we would never again buy a ticket for seven museums in one day.
Musée Magnin web site

We walked slowly over to Notre Dame for Mass at 5:30 P.M. They had song sheets but no missals. Got a little homesick when a man in front of us spilled the collection plate on the floor. (Our youngest did the same at Christmas, but since our church is carpeted, it wasn’t nearly as dramatic.)

Half-timbered house by Eglise Notre Dame in Dijon

Half-timbered house by Eglise Notre Dame in Dijon

Interesting bakery in Dijon

Interesting bakery in Dijon

Mass over, we decided to have dinner in downtown Beaune. Drove back and wandered the old town until we found Dame Tartine and settled in for dinner. We had Boeuf Bourguignon and enjoyed it, but the typical French service took forever and our campground is locked at 10:00 P.M. so I had to forgo my coffee.

Feeling like college freshmen, we made our curfew — sans café.

Posted by Beausoleil 16:20 Archived in France Tagged france dijon 1996

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Comments

So few tourists around you when you were rubbing "la chouette"! When I was there last summer we actually needed to wait a few minutes until everyone else had taken their picture...
Thanks for your look at this nice French city!

by king_golo

We had trouble finding it because there were so few people about. This was in July but in 1996 so times have changed. I can't remember if I rubbed the owl the last time we were in Dijon. Will have to check those pictures. I know there were a lot more tourists though. ;)

by Beausoleil

Nice page Sally! The old buildings on Place Francois Rude look fantastic. Can always rely on your pages for "something special"!

by Mikebb

Yes, those passes that get you into lots of places are often not the deal they seem as you either end up skipping many of them and therefore wasting your money, or rushing around madly and seeing nothing, which is also a waste :( But I'm sure most of us have fallen into the trap in the past before realising, like you, that pay as you go is usually better!

by ToonSarah

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