This has taken me ages to get round to writing! The school holidays have really taken their toll on me 😂 I don’t know where the bloody time goes. On the plus side, just a week left and one of them is back to school. Sadly it’s the easiest one, I’m left with the kraken for another week after that. Come mid September though, the summer will be a distant memory and we’ll all be making Christmas plans!
I’m going to keep my summer alive by trudging though our summer holidays, one destination at a time. Our first stop was Dijon, France, so here’s a post all about it…
Dijon is the capital city of the Burgundy region of France. The whole area is obviously renowned for its wine making, and obviously, its mustard (if you don’t buy any mustard have you even been to Dijon?!) Although, fun fact, most of the mustard seed used to make the mustard is now imported from Canada. The beautiful fields of yellow surrounding Dijon are actually rape seed, not mustard seed. As a product, Dijon mustard isn’t an IPG, so some of what you pick up in supermarkets and delis, isn’t actually made in Dijon.
We picked Dijon as somewhere to visit simply by putting a pin in a map, looking for somewhere no more than 6 hours from Calais for the first stop of our road-trip. And I’m so glad we did.
The first thing that struck me as we arrived Dijon was how pretty it was. The medieval architecture and cobbled streets made it feel like we’d gone back in time. You obviously have to ignore the fact that in the main shopping street those medieval buildings are now occupied by the likes of McDonald’s and H&M 😂
Where to stay
We stayed at the City Loft Apparthotel right in the centre of Dijon. It was a nice big room with 2 double beds, and a little kitchen area. We were only stopping one night so our only requirements were that it was clean, and close enough to the centre that we wouldn’t have to drive anywhere. It was both those things. I also like simple hotels where there’s less chance of my kids breaking anything 😂 I’m always on edge if we stay anywhere fancy.
There are loads of hotels in Dijon, so have a look through sites like Booking.com and see what’s available.
A lot of Dijon is pedestrianised, so when you’re booking a hotel, check it’s got parking. If not, there are lots of secure car parks nearby. We actually parked in an underground car park about 200 meters from the hotel. It all felt very safe though (unlike some other places we stayed!) and even strolling around late at night, it all had a lovely family feel.
Where to eat
Im a stickler for trying local cuisine when I’m abroad. I don’t see the point in travelling somewhere and not trying what locals have spent years perfecting. I quite often drag the family off the beaten track to some remote location just to try and find a restaurant I’ve read about on a random blog or website. I didn’t have to here though, there are some fabulous restaurant and bars slap bang in the middle of town. Obviously with my two in tow, we generally avoid the fine dining establishments (of which there are plenty) and try to find somewhere more relaxed.
If you’re looking for the more upmarket, then there are some fabulous suggestions in this article The London foodie – Dijon
For us, we wanted simple and quick. As much as I would have loved to have spent hours devouring a five course meal, with boeuf Bourguignon, or coq au vin, the kraken would never allow that. Also it was about a million degrees out, and even I can’t eat a stew in that kind of weather 😂
We settled for a few beers in a lovely tree lined square called Place Émile Zola. It’s full of little bars, cafes, and restaurants, and you can sit and watch the world go by.
From there we went to Casa des crepes for some dinner. It was delicious. I had the tartiflette crepe, the mister had the Saint-Jacques, the boy had one with chicken, avocado, cheese and red pesto, and the kraken had the kids menu which was a ham and cheese crepe. They were no more that 10€ each, and were massive! As much as we wanted to tuck into the delicious sounding desserts, we could only manage to share one fig one between us. It’s definitely worth a visit if you’re in Dijon with children.
I asked the waitress to surprise me with a beer, and she bought out the most delicious dark beer, it almost had a coffee taste. My husband had a cider. Be warned, it’s strong!
The next day we had a few hours before we had to move on so after a wander, we had lunch at Au Moulin a Vent. No research had gone into this, we were simply exploring and stopped somewhere before the kraken got her hangry on. I’ve seen on trip advisor it doesn’t get great reviews, but we had a perfectly acceptable lunch of quiche Lorraine and Croque Monsieur, and they were fab with the kids, even bringing the kraken a little booster cushion so she could reach the table 😁
Things to do
There is so much to do here, you could easily fill a whole weekend. We unfortunately only had a day or so, so we had to cram it in a bit. We also visited on a Sunday, just before the public holiday for Bastille day, so lots was closed.
The best thing we found was the Owl trail. You can pop to the tourist office and get a map (3.50€) or some hotels have them. You simply follow the little owl plaques all around the city and it takes you on a route covering all the places of note. If you don’t stop and go in any of the places then it takes around an hour.
There is a fabulous market, it’s huge (and some things are a little expensive) Les halles. One of the best markets in France, you could easily lose yourself in here for hours.
There is a fabulous shop that’s definitely worth popping into called Mulot petit jean. They have been making gingerbread for over 200 years and it’s a treasure trove of lovely things. You’ll pass it on the owl trail. You can’t miss it, it’s so pretty, it looks like Christmas ❤️
You’ll also go past Place de la liberation which is a great place to stop for a drink and watch the world go by.
Unusually for France, the museums in Dijon are free, so if it’s open it’s worth popping into Musée des beaux-Arts which gives a lot of information about the history of the region
And that was the end of our very brief, but very enjoyable, stop in Dijon. We found a bakery, a cheese shop, a patisserie, and a deli, and stocked up with a picnic, ready to move on to Lyon for a picnic tea in the beautiful Parc de la tete d’Or, but you’ll have to read about that next time. (When I pull my head out my arse and get round to writing it!)
We will definitely come back to Dijon, I might leave the kids behind next time though so I can get myself on one of those vineyard tours…