312km (193 miles) SE of Paris; 320km (198 miles) NE of Lyon
Located in the north of the region, Dijon is the capital of Burgundy. Founded by the Romans, this city of 155,000 residents has undergone a 400 million-euro facelift in the last decade and a half, including a new tramway, an Olympic-size swimming pool, pedestrianized shopping streets, a reboot of its splendid Beaux Arts museum, and restored landmark squares.
On the doorstep of the illustrious Côte d’Or wine region, Dijon combines world-class wines with excellent food. These are being celebrated in the new Cité Internationale de la Gastronomie et du Vin (www.citedelagastronomie-dijon.fr), which opened in May of 2022. The new complex houses a cultural center celebrating French food and wine, a cooking and oenology school, and what's being called a "gastronomic village" which consists of specialty shops showcasing the cheese, cured meats and fish, pastries, and other French delicacies. After admiring the city’s impressive Gothic churches and the sumptuous Palais des Ducs et des États de Bourgogne, make time to get lost in Dijon’s medieval heart: Here you’ll happen upon extravagant hôtels particuliers (private mansions), some of which have colorful roof tiles, a practice that dates back to the 14th century and is found throughout the region.
The city has some interesting events throughout the year; pick up an agenda from the tourist office. In May, vintage motorbike fans arrive for the Coupes Moto Légende to race their bikes around the Prenois race track. Every two years, the Fêtes de la Vigne celebrate local life and traditions on the last weekend in August. In November, the city hosts one of France’s largest food fairs, the Foire Internationale et Gastronomique de Dijon.
As well as being famed for its mustard, the city is also the home of Kir (a mix of white Aligoté wine and Crème de Cassis blackcurrant liqueur, named after former Dijon mayor Canon Félix Kir).