Travels with the Whittles - France, 2017 travel blog

In my hotel, reminds me of "Escape to the country"!!

Dijon Cathedral - note the coloured roof tiles.

Interior of the Cathedral.

Interior of the Cathedral.

Very detailed carving in the pulpit.

The altar of the church.

A lovely stained-glass window.

Do I need a new groovy hat? Yes or No???? No.

In the market today.

Anyone in need of a pig's head - great delicacy!!

You know its fresh as its head is still on!!

Terrines looked great.

A range of spices available.

Inside the covered market area.

Some very 'ripe' cheese.

The figs looked so good.

Yummy fresh radishes!!

My restaurant for lunch today.

Sitting area at the entrance.

Inside the restaurant.

The sign for today's menu, on the table.

My amuse bouche.

My prawn entree was delicious.

A lovely main course.

My amazing dessert.

My goodies to have with coffee.

The dog in its stroller in today's restaurant!!!

Place Wilson has a large fountain in the centre.

Looking throgh the fountain towards the bandstand.

Part of the ramparts of old Dijon.

The Maille shop in Dijon

Part of the Maille display in the store.

Porte Guilluame, 1788.

A polar bear by the sculptor, Pom Pom

Jardin Darcy.

Great floral displays in the park.

Bureau de Poste à Dijon (Dijon Post Office)

You can purchase eggs in 4's at the supermarket as well.

Temperature proof!


Day 10: In Dijon, exploring.

Weather: Warm, sunny, blue skies – YAY!!! Top expected of 24C but I did see 29C at a different pharmacy around 7:00pm.

Steps: 15 300 (8.9km). Hopefully, eating up all those calories taken in!!!

A sleep in was great this morning, so after rising around 9:00am, I had a small breakfast at a local boulangerie with a lovely fresh croissant and pain au chocolat with some juice. From here I walked to Cathedrale Saint-Benigne (Dijon Cathedral), which was a lovely building. Quite light filled and dignified. Again, some lovely stained-glass windows and interesting, more modern light fittings. The present Gothic Cathedral was built between 1280 and 1325, and was dedicated on 9 April 1393. It was not until 2002 that Dijon had its own Archbishop. They had some lovely organ music playing in the background as I wandered around.

I was booked in lunch at 12 noon, so needed to make a fleeting visit to the Halles Centrales de Dijon (Dijon Central Market) which was open just for the morning today. Inside and undercover are many stalls selling fruit, vegetables, cheese, meat, fish etc and around the exterior are more fruit and vegetable stalls, spice stalls and general market stalls with shoes, clothing, household goods etc. It was great to look through the market and see the wonderful range of goods for sale. I must say some of the cheeses were rather ‘smelly’ and did not look too appealing but … You may also note the pig’s head for sale – certainly not to everyone’s taste!!

Leaving around 11:40am, I walked to the restaurant for my lunch booking. It was at Stéphane Derbord in Place Wilson. I had pre-booked this restaurant before leaving Melbourne using La Fourchette, after reading about it and the wonderful reviews. It is another 1 star Michelin restaurant which was excellent. It is a lovely looking restaurant – very up-market in every way. The service was fantastic, as found in restaurants of old including a little brush set to clear any breadcrumbs from the table. All silver cutlery and wonderful serving plates of interesting shape, design and colour.

Looking at the menu you see both “À la carte” and “Table d'hôte” options – choose individually off the menu or follow a suggested menu for a set price. The cheapest menu was for €55 (up to over €100 pp) but they have a special, chef’s choice lunch menu at €28, which I chose – hoping that I would like what was chosen. You do not have any choice, what comes out is what it is. I had faith that I could cope with most things!!

I started with a petite amuse bouche of melon and mint – beautifully presented with a crisp slither of pastry, it was very refreshing. The next course, entrée, was delightful – beautifully fresh prawns served on a bed of mixed lettuce with finely diced watermelon with a basil vinaigrette. It was really good to eat!

My main course, plat, was a very delicate fish in a richly flavoured bisque served with a confit of tomatoes as well as other vegetables – peas, squash, bok-choy and fennel. I needed to use some of the excellent bread to mop up the amazing sauce!! It was so full of flavour yet delicate at the same time. Now, is that bad manners? Hopefully not in France!! Anyway, it was a compliment to the chef that I enjoyed it so much that I wanted to ‘mop’ it up! It was not a huge serving but it was most delicious.

I had a glass of Rosé, which was very dry but nice, as well as a half bottle of Eau minérale aux bulles, mineral water with bubbles. FYI: My table was brushed of crumbs after the main course and cleared to make way for dessert.

Dessert, I must say, was the highlight. It looked amazing and the combination of flavours was très, très bon!!! Very, very good!!! The waiter, with each course, described it in French and then in English. It was called a Soupe aux abricots au biscuit au nougatine (Apricot Soup with Nougatine Biscuit). It had many different elements – poached fresh apricots in a wonderful apricot syrup, apricot ice cream, diced lime and basil jelly, almond cream, shards of a light green coloured toffee with triangles of a very thin, fine nougatine biscuits. I think that was it !! It was beautiful and the flavours all worked so well together - gorgeous. It was served with a separate plate on which was a citrus/lime macaron and ‘sweetmeat’ of an almond mix around a fig filling. This I enjoyed with my coffee, which also came with a coffee flavoured chocolate. Wow, what taste sensations !!

My meal was excellent and again, great value for money for €28 as long as you are prepared to be ‘surprised’ !! I was and it was a wonderful experience. 𯘊

Adding the whole Expérience Française (French Experience), was that an older couple came in for lunch pushing a ‘pusher’ – no, not a grandchild, but a little white fluff ball of a dog, probably a Bichon Frise. The dog was very well behaved and remained in the pusher the whole time, just rearing its head whenever food appeared, possibly in the hope of gaining some, but the owners never gave it any food ! It was just the other side of a small room divider/display area beside me.

I can highly recommend my fabulous experience at Stéphane Derbord and can see why it has achieved one Michel star. http://www.restaurantstephanederbord.fr/en/index.html

After lunch, I returned to my hotel, to update the Blog for yesterday after having ‘issues’ uploading last night. It all worked well this afternoon – YAY!! I started writing today’s Blog while waiting for the upload before heading out again. There were a few more sights I wanted to visit which I did whilst walking around the city, later today. Dinner tonight was a juice mix from Monoprix and an apricot and pistachio tartlet – yummo, but rather different from my delicious lunch. Tomorrow I am off to Beaune, about 40 minutes away.

FACTS ABOUT DIJON:

• Population – 150 000 approximately in City area with another 100 000 in greater Dijon.

• The Dukes of Burgundy made Dijon their home from the 11th Century.

• Dijon became the capital of Burgundy around 1000 AD, but its golden age occurred in the 14th and 15th centuries under the auspices of dukes Philippe le Hardi (the Bold), who as a boy had fought the English at Poitiers and been taken prisoner, Jean sans Peur (the Fearless), Philippe le Bon (the Good), who sold Joan of Arc to the English, and Charles le Temeraire.

• It is 326km south-west of Paris by car.

• Dijon is famous for Dijon Mustard Dijon which originated in 1856, when Jean Naigeon of Dijon substituted verjuice, the acidic "green" juice of not-quite-ripe grapes, for vinegar in the traditional mustard recipe.

• Dijon holds an International and 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.

• The historical centre of the city has been registered since July 4, 2015 as a UNESCO World Heritage site.



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