Are you staying in Dijon and you’d like to find out more about the troubled past of Burgundy’s capital? The Tourist Office provides a guided tour called ‘Discovering Dijon’ and this is an unmissable activity if you’re looking to learn about the history of the city of the dukes and admire the most beautiful monuments in the protected historic centre.

From the Dukes of Burgundy to the present day

Dijon is considered to be one of the most beautiful historic towns in France with its remarkable architectural heritage shaped by history and close connections with the Dukes of Burgundy and Dijon Parliament.

Find out more about the Great Dukes of the West who, between 1363 and 1477, turned Dijon into a European capital ahead of its time! During the three centuries that followed, parliamentarians had majestic buildings erected in the heart of the city, with around a hundred private mansions.

At the end of the 19th century, due to the city’s industrial growth and urban development, the old ramparts were replaced by the current boulevards we now see around the protected historic centre.

Dijon’s must-see monuments

Dijon’s medieval architecture comes in the form of huge religious buildings dotted throughout the ‘city of a hundred steeples’. The Romanesque church of Saint-Philibert and two icons of Gothic architecture, Notre-Dame and the Sainte-Bénigne cathedral are among this Burgundian city’s most beautiful places of worship.

But Dijon’s most iconic monument, beyond a shadow of a doubt, is the magnificent Palace of the Dukes and Estates of Burgundy. The first of the Valois Dukes, Philip the Bold, rebuilt it from 1365 onwards and transformed the Salle des Etats (Estates hall) into a palace. This evolved over the centuries to include the classical architecture of the façades designed by Jules-Ardouin Mansart, Louis XIV’s architect. The building currently houses the town hall, as well as the prestigious Fine Arts Museum and the tombs of the dukes.

Old Dijon is a 97-hectare protected area of the city with three thousand houses and close to two hundred historic monuments, built in amongst natural spaces in the form of Neoclassical-style gardens and squares. The panoramic view from the ducal terrace at the top of Philip the Good tower is a great way to admire this unique heritage of monuments from a height of 46 metres.

The Dijon art of living

The creation of pedestrian areas around the Place de la Libération, the self-service bicycle service and the development of the two tram routes contribute to making this capital of Burgundy a very pleasant place to live.

Visitors can discover Dijon’s speciality products such as mustard, spice bread and blackcurrant on one of the increasingly popular traditional factory tours, combining history and tastings.

Brunch at the Dijon ‘Halles’ (market hall), unusual tasting venues for the ‘Jeudis Vin’ or the ‘tower aperitifs’ all contribute to Dijon’s reputation in terms of culinary art. On 6 May 2022, the Cité Internationale de la Gastronomie et du Vin (International Centre for Gastronomy and Wine) opened its doors to reveal a whole new district in the centre of Dijon. Alongside the cities of Tours, Lyon and Paris-Rungis, Dijon is proud to promote the ‘French Art of Fine Dining’® , and more importantly, the ‘Climats’ of Burgundy’s vineyard.