The surroundings is also an important wine production region, and Dijon has historically been the centre for regulatory bodies for wine production (some wine classification systems were invented here) and therefore the historical centre of Dijon forms part of the UNESCO World Heritage site “Climats, terroirs of Burgundy“.
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Dijon (map) is the largest city in the eastern French region of Bourgogne-Franche-Comté. It is one of the most beautiful cities in France, and its historic buildings and byways were not heavily damaged by bombing in World War II and are largely intact.
Dijon was for some time the capital of the Dukes of Burgundy. Burgundy was a great power during the 14th and 15th centuries, when the dukes controlled a large part of what is now northeastern France, western Germany, Belgium, and the Netherlands.
The dukes were great patrons of the arts, so Dijon was a major centre of Gothic and early Renaissance music, painting, and sculpture, attracting some of the greatest and most famous artists and musicians from Flanders in particular.
Place François Rude (Place du Bareuzai, map). A central place with beautiful traditional houses, a fountain with a sculpture, with an old carousel, and a lot of cafés and bars. Popular among locals on summer days.
Ducal Palace (Palais des Ducs et des États de Bourgogne, map). A beautiful building, former main residency of the Dukes of Burgundy. Nowdays, the building is splitted between the roles for town hall on its western and central areas, while its eastren area is occupied by the “Musée des Beaux-Arts” (Museum of Fine Arts). It contains priceless treasures and wonderful art that was the property of the Dukes of Burgundy.
Les Halles (map) is an indoor market, designed by Dijon native Gustave Eiffel of Eiffel Tower fame.
Saint Bénigne Cathedral (Cathédrale Saint-Bénigne, map). It was built in the 14th century and is a national monument.
Musee de la Vie Bourguignonne (Museum of Life in Burgundy, map). The museum is housed in the cloister of the Bernadine Monastery and provides a collection of scenes depicting life in rural and urban Burgundy from the 18th century to the beginning of the 20th century.
Dijon holds an International & Gastronomic Fair every year in autumn. With over 500 exhibitors and 200,000 visitors every year, it is one of the ten most important fairs in France.