Wed 11 Dec - Dijon, France


The weather pattern seems to be set in Dijon, with a few subzero degrees throughout the day, foggy and therefore humid and cold. Today we decided to check out a few of Dijon's indoors attractions and they were good and they were all free. What else can you hope for?

Our first visit was going to be to Musee de la Vie Bourguignonne, the museum that covers the Bourgogne region where Dijon is, but since that didn't open until 10am, we decided to try out the free mini shuttle buses that zigzag town.

Easy to catch the gratuite (free) bus - just look for one of these bus stops and flag down the driver when the bus approaches.

There is seating provided for 10 people with a few more passengers who can stand up. Di took this photo from the very end of the bus.

We managed to go almost a full loop on the free commuter bus before we exited sort of in the vicinity of Musee de la Vie Bourguignonne.

No problem finding the site of the Musee, as it is in an old convent, but where do you go next? Yep, through that little opening in the background.

And then across a courtyard, with cloisters of course, until you find the "grand" Musee entrance. This is it...

Once inside the museum though it was all good. The museum covered a lot of the earlier Bourgogne life including this kitchen. Di was impressed.

Hans though was not so impressed with the length of the beds. His feet would be way outside the end of this and other beds on display.

As noted, the building used to be a convent and its old shell was still there to be seen. We liked these timber beams coming out of the walls.

Artifact from Dijon's religious past.

How rude?...and same to you guys. Try to be a bit more polite, will you?

Nooks and crannies at the Musee de la Vie Bourguignonne.

Of course, a museum about life in Bourgogne would be incomplete without references to mustard.

We were not quite sure what this was supposed to depict other than that mix all those ingredients together and viola, mustard comes out of your backside.

Excuse me sir, would you have any grey Poupon? (With apologies to Wayne Campbell, Aurora, IL)

And this moutarde (as mustard is called in French) dispenser. They loved and still love their mustard in this region.

A selfie in front of a model of a somewhat familiar building...Gustave Eiffel was a local Dijon celebrity.

We loved this optical illusion. Can you tell that the stairs are all painted on a wall?

The Musee de la Vie Bourguignonne was an impressive mix of everyday and commercial life in the region. They had even reconstructed a number of shops for all to see. This shop would have sold spices, sirops, chocolate and lollies...

...and this of course is a modern(?) pharmacy / chemist.

A selfie in the courtyard of Musee de la Vie Bourguignonne, once frequented by nuns.

After our first museum for the day, which we very much enjoyed, we decided to have a coffee break.

We had earlier seen a cool looking tea salon / coffee shop not far from Musee de la Vie Bourguignonne, but when we stepped in and tried to make ourselves comfortable just after 11.30am we were abruptly told that they were now serving lunch only, despite two women sitting next to us sharing a pot of tea. Disappointment.

Plan B, the easy way out, was McCafe. Yep, a McDonalds was not far from there (nothing is far in old town Dijon). Fast, informal and cheap with 1 Tea and 1 Coffee costing us 4€. As Di says when we use Maccas, there is always a place for McDonalds too and Hans, despite his general resistance to the big M, has to agree.

Next up was Musee des Beaux-Arts de Dijon, and to get there we had to go through this enormous door with the biggest keyhole that we had ever seen.

Do you believe us now?

Spot the entrance to Musee des Beaux-Arts de is there in the picture. They certainly don't make the museum entrances easy to find in Dijon. Solution: behind the third small arch of those five is the entrance. Go figure.

We entered this other free museum Musee des Beaux-Arts de Dijon which is spread over 3 levels, in a portion of the old Duke's Palace, but we decided to concentrate on level 1 as it had a local flavour.

This is a family tree from the Dukes of Burgundy, with their reign finishing in 1477 when the Duke of the time, Charles the Bold, died in battle.

The Bold one had no son, so the French King annexed the power of the duchy to France. The money however went with the daughter, Marie, and therefore to her husband when she married a Hapsburg in Austria (not that they needed more wealth!).

Don't you just love the names given to the Dukes? Sounded like mafia names or London East End crims.

The second room you enter contains two tombs.

Closest to the camera is the tomb of John the Fearless and his wife Margurite from Bavaria and behind is the tomb of his father Phillip the Bold.

Why Phillip's wife (John's mum) was not there with him was not explained.

Looking from their feet...

Watch out Di, the lion is trying to lick your neck.

The Musee has quite a large collection of Renaissance art, some of it lent to the museum from the Louvre in Paris.

This room had a nice touch with a drawing facility set up in its middle, complete with a sketch pad, heater / air conditioner depending on what time of the year it is. Nice.

The old palace must have been huge as the Musee on 3 floors is just a small section of the building. The rest of the building appears to used by the government of Dijon.

There were many rooms in long rows along the perimeters of Musee des Beaux-Arts de Dijon and it was not a busy place. For most of the time we were on our can just see the security lady catching up on her foot dangling there in the 3rd room (with apologies to Raymond Chandler).

OK, we hate to say this, but we liked the interior of Musee des Beaux-Arts de Dijon better than the interior of the Chateau de Versailles. And this particular room, while not big, we liked the most. It felt genuine in its pseudo rundown state, was lovingly decorated including the colours and was basically just very interesting.

The same room as above but from a different angle.

The mirror of course is there so you can see the ceiling painting without breaking your neck, but we couldn't help experimenting with an alternative selfie.

Not only Goldmember (from the Austin Powers movie with the same name) liked gooooooold.

The Dukes and various religious orders seemed to be pretty fond of it too. There were a few of these altar screens present in the museum which all had religious motifs and could be opened or closed. In gold, they depicted scenes from the bible to help focus your prayers.

It was approaching 2pm and a light lunch beckoned after our exploration of the Musee des Beaux-Arts de Dijon and guess what, we went back to the same McDonalds as earlier today. Easier and cheaper than lots, probably most, of alternatives.

Hans got himself a baguette, pastry and drink in an adjacent shop, but Di bought herself a fillet of fish there and we ate the whole lot inside the Maccas. We had a gourmet dinner of local food planned for tonight and we just did not need a 2 or 3 course lunch as well!

On the way back to our hotel we stopped at a shop selling local goods and got some presents to bring to Germany which is where we are going next. Lazy few hours followed...

Our dinner location was chosen yesterday - L'Escargot - at it serves food of Burgundy and some local specialities had to be tried. We arrived at 7.25pm thinking that it opened at 7pm when it opened at 7.30pm. Oh well, there was another family of three who were there ahead of us and we all were let in just as we arrived. Lights were quickly switched on and we were in business.

A restaurant called L'Escargot must of course have a big snail somewhere and this red one was on the bar counter.

Food, glorious food. We tried some local delicacies as they formed part of a suggested 3 course local menu.

Yep, Hans had the poached eggs in red wine sauce that had been recommended to him and it was really delicious. It is known as Les œufs pochés en meurette in French or at least in the menu of L'Escargot.

Main was for both of us another Burgandy delicacy, the Le bœuf Bourguignon or Beef Bourgogne.

All washed down with a carafe of Bourgogne red wine which we forgot the name of and La poire au vin de cannelle et son sorbet cassis or cinnamon covered pear with sorbet as dessert.

All classic local dishes and wine from the Bourgogne area made it a very locally oriented meal (although we saw (and did smell) that the people on the next table had snail with lots of yummy smelling garlic sauce around the small creatures). Maybe that is more local today. Who knows?

Good night from our last night in France for this trip. Au revoir. We have liked Dijon, the real, non-tourist feel of the town and the mix of old and new, like funky music everywhere (consistently) surrounded by 600 year old buildings.

Tomorrow we go back to Germany by train via a short stop in Basel, Switzerland. Bon Soir.


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