We followed the Owl Trail to explore the historic town centre of Dijon as a family. This walking tour has 22 steps and takes around one hour, to explore the main heritage sites of the Burgundian capital.
Bronze arrows featuring the iconic Owl
To make sure you see all the highlights of the town of Dijon, all you have to do is follow the bronze arrows built into the pavestones throughout the protected area of the town. Dijon’s Owl is the town mascot. Sculpted into a corner of a buttress of Notre-Dame church, it has become a good luck charm for passers-by who touch it with their left hand, on the same side as the heart. We are looking forward to seeing it with our own eyes and making a wish as we touch it.
But first, we have to stop by the Tourist Office and pick up our tour booklet. In the end, we decided to download the application instead which indicates the closest departure point and then each time we approach a point of interest!
22 steps to enjoy the charm of Dijon
As we leave the Tourist Office, we begin our tour on Rue des Forges, where there are three magnificent private mansions. Then the tour leads us to the church of Notre-Dame, with the Jacquemart automaton on the top, indicating the time.
Then we touched the famous sculpted owl, before going to admire the 15th-century Maison Millière and the courtyard at the Hôtel Vogüe. Along the way, we crossed Rue Verrerie, a typical street from the Middle Ages where there are a number of antique dealers.
In the theatre district, the tour leads us to the church of Saint-Michel which houses the Musée Rude where we can discover the mouldings of local sculptor from Dijon, François Rude’s artworks. We stopped off at the Square des Ducs to get some fresh air in the garden. Then we headed for the Palace of the Dukes and Estates of Burgundy, which now houses the Hôtel de Ville (Town Hall) and the Fine Arts Museum.
We walked across the vast Place de la Libération to reach the churches of Saint-Jean and Saint-Philibert, then the magnificent gothic-style Cathedral of St. Benignus. In this town of a hundred spires, this cathedral features the highest one at a height of 93 metres!
We then reached the official departure point of the tour in Darcy Garden and finished our loop there. At the Place Grangier, we were intrigued by the pagoda-style roofing of the Art Nouveau building next to the Hôtel des Postes.
We ended this short urban walking tour at the Halles de Dijon, built in an Eiffel-style at the end of the 19th century. We were so lucky that it was Sunday! We took advantage of the summer event, “Brunch des Halles” to discover the menu concocted by a local chef from Dijon and we treated ourselves to a meal that was just as delicious as it was festive!