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Published: June 13th 2015
Street scene in old Dijon
Wednesday 10 June 2015
We had a great day in Beaune yesterday and everyone assured us we would have a great day in Dijon. So we did some homework with our e-book copies of Rick Steve and Lonely Planet. The list of sights was collated and we were ready for a sunny day of exploration in Dijon.
We made the big decision to let Polly find us a carpark as close as possible to the middle of Dijon. After getting caught in the wrong lane for that quick right turn left turn we found a carpark that was almost empty. Why? A quick check with the non-English speaking attendant who assured us we could park anywhere, we locked the car underground and headed off. For two euros fifty for four hours parking we felt we had chosen well.
When we arrive in a new city we like to locate the Tourist Information Office for a map of the city and location of the sights. So far we have found the offices quite quickly. Today was different. There were no signs pointing the way. As we entered the old town we noticed brass triangles, with owls engraved on them,
An example of a tiled roof
embedded in the footpath. These surely would take us to the Tourist Office. Following this path we passed some very old buildings, buildings with the roofs made famous in Dijon, and finally a large place - place de la Liberation. Fabulous. Standing in pride of place is the Palais des Ducs et des Etats de Bourgogne.
At this time we made a collective decision to have a nice cafe lunch. We chose a quiet cafe, ordered, and waited. It wasn't long before the locals were arriving for their own lunch. Everyone seemed to know everyone else. There were lots of "bonjours", kissing on both checks, and generally calling across the outdoor space to each other. The cafe proved popular so obviously a good choice. As soon as the waiter realised we spoke English his English-speaking colleague took over. So much for improving our French.
After lunch we headed back to the Palais des Ducs which housed the Musee des Beaux Artes. As we entered we were issued with a ticket (free), asked to put our bag in the locker. I had no fifty cent piece or a euro so the very nice receptionist gave me a counter for
The tombs of the Dukes of Burgundy, Musee des Beaux Artes
the security locker. Wow, so France is resorting to plastic counters for money. Some of the wonderful art work on display had been recovered after WWII. Many of the works were altar pieces from very old churches.
We still hadn't found the Tourist Office but we did find St Michael's Church. This must be the cathedral. But no, we spotted a spire and headed off in that direction. Notre Dame de Dijon certainly looked like a cathedral and had all the aura of a cathedral. As we left this church we discovered the elusive Tourist Office. A quick visit and with map in hand we reassessed our walking tour. Looked like we had covered most sights except the cathedral. As weary as we were we continued our tour and made for the cathedral. As we approached the bells began to toll. Rounding the corner we became aware that a funeral was in its closing stages. Not an appropriate time to visit. Our list of future visits continues to grow.
It has been a great day out and lived up to everything we had read and heard. It is obviously a proud city full of history. We even came
Examples of art in the Musee des Beaux Artes
across markers showing the limit of the town in Gallo-Roman times. We will return one day to soak up more of this Burgundy region.
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