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Better choice for a Sunday visit: Dijon or Beaune?

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Sep 25th, 2015, 03:07 PM
  #1
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Better choice for a Sunday visit: Dijon or Beaune?

I would think Dijon, recognizing that smaller cities/towns can get pretty quiet on Sundays. But then, Beaune has a significant tourist trade, from what I know. (It will be my first visit to either place.) Comments from experienced visitors welcome. Thanks.
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Sep 25th, 2015, 03:18 PM
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Nearly all larger cities I have been in in France are dead as door nails on Sundays - during the week they are lively with workers and shoppers but as stores must remain shuttered under France's archaic labor laws (save some small family-run food stores and such) Dijon I think would not be an exception. But of course that takes nothing away from sightseeing there. Pick up a copy of the Owl Trail at the local tourist office (if open on Sunday or try to download one) that leads you around the town and cathedral - Dijon gives a hoot!

Beaune may be much livelier if during the tourist season but again large stores will be shut I would expect.

If driving Dijon will be a snap to drive around in and park on a Sunday - the contrary on other days (again have not been to Dijon is a while but assume it is like every other large city not with a tourist exemption for some areas as in Paris and resorts and the weeks before Christmas when grand surfaces (hypermarches) and large stores are allowed open for Xmas shopping.

Smaller towns IME can be livelier on Sundays than the typical large French town. Markets - outdoor markets are an exception and some of those attract huge crowds but usually close around 1 pm in smaller towns as do things like small supermarkets that can be open to 1 pm on Sundays or so.
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Sep 26th, 2015, 08:35 AM
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I'd go where you are interested in seeing something. I'm not sure that there is the big difference between Sundays and other days, except for major stores, and there probably aren't any in Beaune anyway (like a big dept store). It's very small. I think Monday is often quieter than Sunday, usually, lots of places are closed Monday, like many museums, but not on Sunday. Some stores where locals might shop for food or something might be closed Sunday afternoon (but a lot are closed Mondays, also, and so are restaurants).

So just choose the reason you want to go to each city, and see what the hours are. Beaune is a major site of tourism, all the few sites they have are open on Sunday, and places are not going to forego selling things to tourists that depend on that. Beaune has a few sites of interest other than wine shops (Hotel Dieu and a Wine Museum, small fine arts museum, I think that's it), but they are big into selling wine to tourists.

Neither of these places has a roving market on Sundays, and the markets will be closed (covered ones).
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Sep 26th, 2015, 10:23 AM
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From my memory most things are closed in Dijon on Monday. It wouldn't be my choice.
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Sep 26th, 2015, 01:29 PM
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I think Dijon kind of needs it's regular chain stores open to feel alive downtown. You can still have some nice walks through the medieval center - - plenty back streets and old character, and enough cafes/bars/restaurants should be open.

Beaune will probably be more normally alive (though it really isn't all that scintillating as a town) because the tourist trade is what it is about, and I imagine they calculate weekend travelers in the mix.

I haven't been to either on a Sunday, but chances are Beaune will make you feel more like you are someplace who is welcome to see you.
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Sep 26th, 2015, 02:46 PM
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Most things are no longer closed on Mondays in most large French cities except for small shops or perhaps some restaurants. At least Orleans where I go often hops as usual on Monday though on Monday morning again some small owner-operated shops may close.
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Dec 15th, 2015, 10:31 PM
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France is having most flexible laws for labors. The working hours is also very limited depending upon the category of industry you work. Sunday is holiday for workers so hardly you find any labor. If you wish you can read full details about french laws at http://www.convention-collective-metallurgie.fr
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Dec 16th, 2015, 01:06 AM
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For a tourist, it does not matter so much whether you are there on a Sunday or an a weekday (some museums are still closed on Tuesdays, but at major tourist places they are open seven days a week). Also, many boutiques are open on Sundays - the French must buy their food for Sunday dinner (while the big hypermarchés may be closed).

If you travel by car traffic conditions are usually much better of Sundays.

So, the question remains: Dijon or Beaune?

Dijon has the feel of a stately city - with an impressive palace and a large cathedral. The inner city may look a bit deserted on a Sunday - what may be good for photographing.

Beaune has more the historical small town feeling. The Hotel Dieu - the medieval hospital which is now a splendid museum - is unique and breathtaking. Beaune is also full of wine boutiques in all the medieval houses, so it will be more lively than Dijon. For a very special wine tasting experience, I always recommend the Marché aux Vins - the setting within the ruin of an old church is fascinating.

You may have noticed that I would favour Beaune - but tastes are different.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hospices_de_Beaune
http://www.marcheauxvins.com/
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Dec 16th, 2015, 06:50 AM
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For the later commenters, it ended up being Dijon, with Beaune on a weekday. It's all documented in detail here: http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...y-170787-2.cfm
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Dec 16th, 2015, 09:22 AM
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SemiMike

We were in France w/o internet access when you originally posted this "Sunday" question - so I didn't reply.

We were in Dijon on a Sunday for Patrimoinie weekend several years ago. Except for the Patrimoinie stuff - everything else was "quite dead". Galleries Lafayettte was not open, non-food shops were not open. Museums & churches were open. What was your experience this year - have things changed since I was there?

Stu Dudley
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Dec 16th, 2015, 10:56 AM
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Things have not changed because the French government is still caving into unions of store workers and do not allow 'grands surfaces" (sp?) to be open on Sundays except in some tourist areas like parts of Paris or some weeks before Christmas - otherwise except for mom and pop stores - Muslim stores are exempted I think - so unless the law has changed in the last few weeks since my son was in Orleans where all large stores were closed still on Sundays (small supermakrets can be open till about noon or 1 pm however) I doubt that Dijon is anything other than dead as a doornail, like most French large cities, on Sundays.
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Dec 16th, 2015, 11:28 AM
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We were in Nancy on two Sundays in September this year - and almost 100% of the non-food shops were closed. One of the Sundays was on Patrimoinie weekend - so people were out & about visiting the Partimoinie sites that were open. We had lunch at Place Stanislas on both Sundays - which was packed. The shopping streets were empty, except in the Palais Ducal area which was having an antique market.

Stu Dudley
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Dec 16th, 2015, 12:21 PM
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Unemployment rates in France amongst young folk I think are higher than optimal yet the unions in collusion with government refuse to open large surfaces stores on Sundays - yes so workers can enjoy say a family meal on Sundays or whatever.

Yet tons of folks would jump to work on Sundays I'm sure - our super stores are often open 24-7 and they never find folks not willing to work - France needs to change these antiquated laws - I mean wait people at restaurants also would want Sundays off too - why should they have to work - why not close restaurants too, etc.?

Some changes have been made but IMO they do not go far enough:

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/wo...-10047597.html
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