On our way back to Amsterdam and the plane home, we visited two cities in France: Dijon and Reims. Dijon was a convenient stop along the way and a very historical city. It also has great mustard!
After driving around and finding the tiny entrance to our hotel’s underground parking garage and circling down three levels, we were convinced we were descending to hell – but we found a spot and a lift to take us up to the street. The hotel was a block down the street and blessedly air-conditioned.
Dijon has an old city center, which we decided to explore early the next morning before it got hot. There are no cars there, just pedestrian ways, and it has a grand entrance!
The houses are amazing and well-preserved, some with spectacular architecture.
We stopped on one of the several stores we saw on our wanderings to buy mustard! Dijon mustard is one of the world’s best condiments as far as I’m concerned and we bought one large jar for ourselves. We later learned that Dijon mustard is not made with seeds from Dijon but from Canada!
The best part of our morning walk was the visit to Dijon’s Notre Dame. Considered a masterpiece of 13th-century Gothic Architecture, it is situated at the heart of the old city. There are 51 gargoyles on the western façade – I read that these are dummies — decorative rather than drain spouts. There are functional gargoyles on the lateral walls of the church and the walls of the apse.
Once inside, I was fascinated with the ceiling with its Gothic arches, the spectacular rose window, and some of the statuary.
One of the other churches in Dijon is the Dijon Cathedral, which showed something typical for Dijon – the colored tile roofs.
Dijon has a large immigrant population, and the only time we felt unsafe during our entire trip was our first evening there. We came down to go out to dinner and the hotel lobby was swarming with gendarmes — there had been a large demonstration somewhere nearby, and they were just checking out various places in proximity. With the language barrier, we didn’t learn anything more.
The other adventure we had in Dijon was a burgundy wine tour, which I’ll tell you about next!