|Bonjour (bohn-zhoor) Good day.
Ca Va? (sah vah?) How are you? - (the reply) Ca Va. (sah vah.) I'm fine. The translation to English must leave out more than the feeling and the inflection.
Our visit here is exciting, fun, and very enjoyable. The sights we chose to see are close to our apartment allowing time to rest and relax when we choose to take a break.
Dijon as you know has world famous Mustard plus something you might not know, a long ago former mayor Mr. Kir, created a liquor named Kir (one we have not tried yet), plus the lake here is named after him.
We are staying at "My Home in Dijon" our apartment provided by our wonderful, energetic hostess Corinne (Coco) Jacaquin. (log onto www.myhomeindijon.com). The apartment is 1/2 block from the Palais des Ducs et des Etats de Bourgogne (The Palace of Burgundy) which places us in the middle of the old town Dijon.
Coco asked what drew us to Dijon. The reply is our interest in visiting a smaller town in France with the characteristics of a quite place having great character and a friendly place to visit. Dijon has scored high on all counts and met our greatest expectations.
Dijon was founded around 300 AD. Eventually 23 towers were built as part of the cities defense. One of these towers can still be seen. Many building and structures in the old city date back 1,000 years and are in use as hotels, churches and museums.
The Town Hall "Tour de Bar" was built in 1365 by Philip the Bold and is the most ancient part of the Palace of Burgundy. Several Major churches built 700 to 800 years ago are in use, some have sections dedicated to historical art and archaeological artifacts. Saint Philibert about the year 1000, Saint Benigue was rebuilt in the year 1000 to house an abbey. Notre Dame is a masterpiece of Burgundy architecture of the 13th century.
Notre Dame is famous for other features as well as being an ancient church. First there is the clock "Jacauemart" that crowns the church. The clock was a gift from Philip The Bold in 1383 for the support of the war in Flanders by the people of Dijon. After several centuries Jacquemart (a man) was joined in the 17th century by Jacaueline (his wife) in the 18th century by a Jacquelinet (their son) and the 19th century by a Jacquelinette (their daughter). The family are the bell ringers of the church.
The second famous feature of Notre Dame is a small owl on an outside pillar facing the North side of the church at eye level. Over the centuries the Owl has come to be a symbol of good luck when you rub it with your left hand while making your wish. The Owl, well worn over the centuries, is one of the most visited sites in Dijon.
In the Place Francis Rude is the famous Statue of the Grape Harvester and this statue is the most photographed and painted feature in Dijon. The locals call the square "Place Du Bareuzai" because when crushing grapes they comes out with "Bas Roses" or "red stockings".
We visited other sites like the towns first public garden, the Jardin Darcy (Darcy Park) with a "white bear" which is a tribute to the famous sculptor, Francois Pomon.
We also enjoyed a wonderful walk around Lake Kir Northwest of downtown. The park around the lake provides beautiful strolls allowing us to enjoy relaxing times where we reflected and contemplated on the gift of our adventure in Europe and now our visit to Dijon.
Two museums were very easy to visit. The museum Magnin, an art museum, is located across the street from our back door; the entrance can be viewed from our window. The Museum of Fine Arts (Musee des Beaux-Arts) is across the street from our front door. We also visited the Archaeological museum to see many artifacts from the general area.
Thanks to our hostess, who picked us up at the train station and then took us on a tour of the immediate area, we were introduced to many great places. The Central Market at Les Halles, sells a variety of fresh and prepared foods, clothing, accessories, etc. We visited the market several times purchasing items for our meals to prepare and enjoy in our apartment. I cooked a pork roast with fresh carrots, potatoes, onions and mushrooms all produced locally. We both agreed this was the best pork we can ever remember eating.
We also shopped at The Ou Duche De Bar, a small shop at the North end of our building in the "square" across the street from the Palace. Michael (pronounced Mee-shell or close to that)is a friend of Coco's who selected two excellent French wines for us. A white wine for a shrimp dish and a red wine for our meal of pork roast. Michael included a small gift of mustard with ginger bread, an excellent choice which added great flavor to our pork.
Our time remaining here is short, both we and Coco hate to see our departure, however, Sissach, Switzerland beckons
Pour maintenant, Au revoir (Goodbye for now)
Love and blessings to all,
George and Kay