France Itinerary & Day Trip from Dijon

Jan 12th, 2004, 03:55 PM
  #1  
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France Itinerary & Day Trip from Dijon


I was going to take my Dad to BeNeLux this May, instead I'll be going solo to France.

Due to work and social constraints, I'm departing the US 4/29 and departing France 5/9. This sticks me with two holidays: May Day (5/1) and 1945 Victory Day (5/8).

Right now my itinerary is:

3 nights Lyon
2 nights Beaune
4 nights Dijon with a day trip

I'll be in two bigger cities for the holidays when more stuff should be open. No Paris this time because it costs more. I've spent 17 nights in Paris in the last 2.5 years so I don't feel like I'm cheating myself.

All my travel will be done by train. I hate to drive and navigate while going through wonderful wine country without being able to drink it.

Finally my questions.

With travel time and a day trip I'll have one afternoon plus two full days in Dijon. Is this too much time?

Any good day trips from Dijon? I'm leaning towards Langres, but not for any real reason. I've just heard that it's a pretty, little, walled town. I can get to it on the train. They have their own cheese which I really like.

I'd rather see most of a smaller town than have an agonizing taste of a city and have to leave in the evening. I like history, old churches, small museums, architecture, food and wine much more so than hiking, biking and other more outdoorsy things.

Thanks!
indytravel is offline  
Jan 12th, 2004, 07:37 PM
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A day in Dijon would be about right. From there I would head over to Autun to see the splendid cathedral, with the carvings by the master Ghisilbertus, and the Roman ruins. The part of the town up by the cathedral precincts makes for good exploration.

Now, about drinking that wonderful wine...you will need to do some research ahead of time to see which of the wineries you want to visit (if that's your agenda) are open without advance reservation. Some are; many are not. Most of the wine villages, however, have one or more tasting rooms. But I think you will have some trouble getting to most of these just by train.
Underhill is offline  
Jan 12th, 2004, 08:28 PM
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Dijon is one of our favorite French cities. They have a very nice art museum there, the Beaux Arts in the Palais des Ducs. There are quite a few museums right in the downtown area that you can easily reach on foot. The market area is nice and there are lots of interesting places to eat or have a coffee.

When you visit Notre Dame in Dijon, go around to your left (facing the cathedral) to the little side street and rub the stone owl carving on the side of the cathedral. Superstition has it that you will return if you rub it. It's always worked for me! Continue on down the street as there are some very old and interesting houses within a block.

Looking for a day trip, see if you can get to Beaune either by train or bus. We stayed in Beaune, drove to a distant suburb of Dijon, parked our car and took a train into Dijon. I'm not sure how far the train goes in the other direction though.

Beaune is a great day trip. It has the walled city part, lots of great wine tasting right in town, the magnificent Hotel Dieu, wonderful food, great souvenir shopping, horse and carriage rides, history, art, architecture. There are little squares where you can sit and people watch too. (They also have an incredibly friendly La Poste if you need stamps!)

Burgundy is one of our favorite areas. Enjoy your trip.
SalB is offline  
Jan 13th, 2004, 06:24 AM
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Thanks Underhill and SalB!
indytravel is offline  
Jan 13th, 2004, 11:52 AM
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I too love Langres, the cheese that is. But the town did not reveal much when we stopped there last summer. Troyes would be far more interesting, and perhaps doable on your way back to Paris (cut out one day from the rest of the itinerary).
Michael is offline  
Jan 13th, 2004, 12:46 PM
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Revising my advice--unless you are allergic to driving, why not rent a car for a day and visit small Burgundian villages: Noyers /s Serein, Semur en Auxois, Montréal (the church pews have nice carvings)?
Michael is offline  
Jan 13th, 2004, 03:45 PM
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Thanks for the input Michael. I spent 3 nights in Troyes a couple of years ago and found it to be a very interesting town. On the same trip I spent a night in Chaumont too and liked it.

Though I'm not allergic to driving, it isn't what I really want to do. I have to commute to work every day at home. For me vacationing is not having to get behind the wheel. I have done it in Europe. I've certainly seen some incredible sights by driving. But it's not something I go out of my way to do, especially if I can find a public transportation alternative.

Autun looks wonderful (thanks underhill!), but the train connections are a little ugly. It doesn't have good train connections between Lyon, Beaune or Dijon if I tried to rearrange my schedule. I may just bite the bullet and take the 6:00am train from Dijon to Autun. But it's vacation! I'm also looking at Auxerre, but sncf.com is being cranky right now. I'll try again later.

Any other suggestions are more than welcome. And thanks again so far everyone.
indytravel is offline  
Jan 13th, 2004, 05:01 PM
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If you are interested in military architecture, Belfort might be an option, but rather as a stopover on the way to Paris. I believe that the Paris-Basel line passes through Belfort.
Michael is offline  
Mar 3rd, 2004, 01:03 PM
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You may be interested in visiting Vezelay. It's a beautiful town with a historic abbey. It's within driving distance from Dijon.
ouzogirl is offline  
Mar 3rd, 2004, 02:12 PM
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Another suggestion would be to go to Vezelay and see the Basilica there. It is a stellar example of the Lombard style of church construction (very different from the gothic).

Insofar as the rubbing of the owl's tummy is concerned, university students are supposed to do that to get good luck on their exams. I never heard that there was another superstition about returning to Dijon if you rubbed the owl.

I was a student at the Universite de Dijon for a summer course in the 1970's. It is a very nice small city.
LaurenSKahn is offline  
Mar 3rd, 2004, 02:29 PM
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Another vote for Semur en Auxois, Vezelay and Basilica Ste. Madeleine. It was amazingly beautiful. Also, as a day trip try Abbaye de Fontanay and Flavigny. Those were my favorite areas in Burgundy.

Here's a site to my trip pictures last November. Perhaps it will give you some ideas.

http://www.worldisround.com/articles/29830/index.html

quimbymoy is offline  
Mar 3rd, 2004, 03:48 PM
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There may be many superstitions about the little owl. He's been rubbed so much he's nearly disappeared. The last time we were there, they had varnished him to keep him from disappearing. It's tough to be an owl in Dijon!
SalB is offline  
Mar 3rd, 2004, 06:13 PM
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I'll have to make sure I find the owl in Dijon. I might as well get a rub in before it's gone!
indytravel is offline  
Mar 3rd, 2004, 06:43 PM
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Another crazy story about European travel:

Yes, this is about Dijon.

During the 1999-2001 school year my daughter did her junior year abroad at the Universite de Montpellier.

Wait, this is about Dijon.

I joke about her year abroad saying that she majored in European trains.

One time on AOL someone asked if anyone could tell them how to drive from Paris to Montpellier and asked what the tolls were. I replied with some of the information and asked if the poster's daughter was in the William & Mary program at the Universite de Montpellier. I was told that the daughter was at the University of Tennessee but knew a lot of the W&M students at Montpellier.

What came next was truly astounding (and about Dijon). The poster told this story about her daughter going to Dijon (see!) the weekend before with one of the William & Mary students to visit a family that had hosted the William & Mary student's mother 20 years previously.

Of course, by now you should have figured out that the poster's daughter had been to Dijon the previous weekend with my daughter mooching from my old French family. Insofar as hosting the mother, however, it was more than 20 years ago!

And there goes another internet great coincidence (about DIJON!).
LaurenSKahn is offline  
Mar 4th, 2004, 02:56 PM
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Oops, I forgot to mention that both girls rubbed the owl's tummy for good luck on their exams!
LaurenSKahn is offline  
Mar 4th, 2004, 06:23 PM
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Quimbymoy - thanks for sharing the pics from your trip to Burgandy! We are planning to be in Burgandy in October - have been to Vezelay, Semur,& Eposisses - so enjoyed those pics. We are looking forward to seeing some of the other places as well.
blh is offline  
Mar 5th, 2004, 01:15 PM
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blh, you are welcome and i hope you have a wonderful return trip to burgundy! i loved it there and hope to return there one day.
quimbymoy is offline  

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