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Trip Report Live from Dijon

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We took the noon TGV from Lyon to Dijon and arrived ninety minutes later. Coco from MyHomeinDijon met us at the train station. I had been emailing with her for several months and she was just as delightful in person as she had been online. She'd been following our somewhat food-centric trip reporting on Lyon and expressed surprise that we were still normal-sized people. On the short drive to the apt, Coco pointed out various sites and talked about her hometown. After parking the car she walked us to the cooking school down the street and introduced us to Valerie who would be giving us a class on Friday. From there we we went to our apt. The apt is every bit as cozy as it appeared online. I had read about Coco and her rental on Fodor’s where she and her apt rental justifiably get rave reviews.

The apt is easy to reach, up one flight of stairs. It is likely one of the best equipped apts we have stayed in. We appreciated Coco’s comprehensive instructions on how things worked. She even showed us how to type the ampersand on the French keyboard. But best of all were the wonderful snacks she left for us...a bowl of fresh fruit, homemade chocolate cake, delicious Nonnettes au Miel (little cassis cakes), and perhaps the best baguette we have had this trip. In addition, the refrigerator and cabinets were stocked with of staples. We promptly demolished most of the baguette with some of the cheese we'd brought with us.
After settling in, we took a walk in the snow around town. Dijon has a small town feel especially after Lyon. The architecture has a strikingly Northern feel to it. We had a Burgundian dinner at Petite Flamande practically next store to the apt. We splurged on aperitifs, champagne with peaches. We both ordered the menu de jour. I had my first snails and coq au vin in years; both were good. GT had a delicious country salad and good beef bourguignon. Desserts were just ok; profiteroles drowning in chocolate and tarte tatin with caramel glace. The wine was an excellent Givry. Total cost for the meal was 86 euros. When we left, it was so frigid that we skipped on walking and instead returned to our comfortable apt.

We awoke the next morning to bright blue skies and had a quick breakfast of fruit and yogurt. We left for the large nearby modern covered market to buy salad ingredients - lettuce, shallots, tomatoes, a red pepper - and anything else that struck our fancy. We stopped on the way back for a replacement baguette and some cookies. By the time we returned to the apartment, the sky had darkened. When we later left for the day, the weather ad turned to intermittent sleet and rain. We spent the remainder of the morning looking at some nearby churches and strolling down the long pedestrian street that branched off Place Liberation. Much of this part of town is old; the side streets had an almost medieval feel. We wandered through the large Galleries Lafayette and visited the nearby original Maille mustard shop. The weather seemed to change continually, first rain, then blue skies, then snow. We wandered further, taking photos as we went. We particularly liked the Musee Rude and its collection of statues

We had a 1:00 lunch reservation at Stephane Derbord on Place Wilson, a little bit of a walk away from the downtown pedestrian area. This restaurant has a very nice modern, slightly deco interior. The owner's wife was pleasant and elegant and we were seated in a nice side room with a view of the ever-changing weather. We requested the surprise menu which is a lunch special for 28€ per person. It should be noted that this menu is not listed and one needs to request it. The first course was a salad and salmon wrapped around a light cheese. Our plats were sliced wild boar with vegetables - celeriac (we think) mixed with carrots and mushrooms. We were not quite sure exactly what dessert was, but it involved a cassis glace with a pastry and a side dish of macarons..all delicious. While the food was superb, the service did not meet the standards of the food. Of particular note was the dilatory wine service. We had ordered a bottle of white burgundy and as is the case at many restaurants the bottle was in an ice bucket a table away. Several times our glasses remained empty and the waiter did not refill them in a timely manner. We joked about going over and getting the bottle ourselves, but refrained for fear of arrest, criminal trial and possible deportation. Our total bill came to 95€, a special treat for sure.

After lunch the skies turned blue and we decided to do the owl trail. Using the guide that Coco provided at the apt, we began to follow the trail which highlights the major historic sites in Dijon. We particularly enjoyed Notre Dame, the architecture of the Palais des Ducs and the Palais de Justice. Throughout the walk we liked the colorful Burgundy roofs and the spectacular statuary associated with the churches. All in all, we had developed a fondness for Dijon, in both its ancient and modern aspects.

Tomorrow - Mustards & Museums

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