The village of Gevrey Chambertin is a mere 13km from the centre of the capital of Burgundy, Dijon. Our guests often ask us if it is worth a visit. It is a very fair question, because seen from afar, the city is not the most inviting. However the vast majority of our guests who make the trip, say it was excellent.
It is the history of the city, and its wonderful market, that are the attractions. Today Beaune is the wine capital of Burgundy, but it was not always so. In the 15c Burgundy was approximately 5 times the size it is today, including most of the Low Countries, and land as far south as Nimes. Burgundy was a separate state from the rest of France, and for a period of time, the more powerful of the two. Dijon was the capital, and the magnificent buildings in the old quarter which date back to this period are a powerful witness to the wealth that made the city the European capital of culture. The hills around the city were covered in vines, and from the 6c until comparatively recently, it was Dijon that people visited to find out about and purchase the wines of Burgundy.
The best way to see the city is to follow The Owl’s trail. It sounds a bit naff, but it is an excellent guide to the most interesting parts. You can pick it up almost anywhere in the city centre - small brass owls, set into the pavement every half metre to guide you around the centre.
Clothes shoppers should stock up in Paris or London before making the trip, but for those with a sweet tooth, Fabrice Guillotte is one of the best chocolate makers in France. For savoury tooth, Fallot is the last artisan mustard maker in Burgundy, and their shop and tasting room is in the old quarter next to Notre Dame. And then there is the market - only on Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays. For anyone that loves food, a must visit.
The car park on Rue Condorcet is 200m from the cathedral St Benigne and the adjoining Archeological museum. From the cathedral, you can pick up the Owl’s trail, a clearly marked walkway, that takes you around all the interesting parts of historical Dijon.
The city has a number of advantages over its friendly rival Beaune - the TGV arrives in Dijon, and the trip from Gare de Lyon Paris is only 1.5 hours. It is the capital city, and has a magnificent market and some interesting shopping.