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Les Halles – The covered market This has to be one of the best markets in all of France. The covered market is stunning – all wrought iron and wide open spaces. It’s said to have been inspired by son of Dijon, Gustave Eiffel. The smells, the sights, the sounds – they’re as much a cultural experience as any museum. Stop off at the stall of Le Gourmet Traiteur for a treat and a true taste of Dijon. Run by three chefs who make everything from pies to tarts, cakes to gingerbread and even a gateau moelleux (sounds like cake and it is but with a snail filling, bit of an acquired taste if you ask me). I had to be dragged away from their nonnettes. The market spills out into the streets around and if you like food, you’ll love the quality produce here. This market made me want to live in Dijon. Open Tuesday, Thursday (inside only), Friday, Saturday Visit a gingerbread museum Channel your inner Hansel and Gretel and head to Mulot & Petitjean’s gingerbread museum and factory. It’s just outside the city centre, a 20 minute walk or take the bus which takes a few minutes. The presentations take you through the history of the firm, founded in 1796, and gingerbread with some innovative museography – portraits which come to life and a collection of artefacts. You also get to see the gingerbread being made (unless you’re there on a machine cleaning day). Afterwards enjoy the gorgeous vintage shop and if you want to take home a memorable treat, take a trolley as the 6kg gingerbread cake is not easy to get in your handbag I discovered. Tour Philippe le Bon For a panoramic view over the city, climb the 316 steps of the 15th century Tour Le Philippe le Bon. It’s said that on a clear day you can see Mont Blanc.
Le Consortium Art lovers will adore this contemporary art venue in a former cassis factory. More than 400 pieces in an ever growing collection which dates mainly from the 1970s. It’s a a thought provoking selection. Don’t miss the book shop with its innovative moveable bookshelves and reading area. Le Consortium publishes around 50 art books a year. And if you’re lucky enough to be there on a day when they have a cinema showing in their private cinema or a music event – you’re in for a treat. Dijon Mustard You didn’t think I’d get through talking about Dijon without mentioning mustard did you? They’re very keen on it here! You can visit a mustard shop, or several, for your tangy fix. I fell in love with the taste bar at Moutard Edmund Fallot with its mouth-watering mixes: cassis, pinot noire and basil to mention just a few. They even had mustard dispensing machines, pop in a euro, pick your favourite and out pops a dinky little pot of yummy mustard. Bibliotheque Patrimoniale Harry Potter fan? You’ll love the city library. Once a Jesuits College, it became a library in the 17th century and groups can take a tour of the whole building with its beautiful wood panelled rooms and painted ceilings. Game of Thrones writer George RR Martin visited and loved the enormous 18th century globe. There are more than 500,000 books, the earliest of which date back to the 9th century. There’s also a specialist collection of food books and menus. Anyone can access the reading room – it has a Hogwarts feel to it, as if Harry Potter might be under the twinkling lights, studying for his wizard’s exam. Now all this culture and fabulous sites are sure to make you hungry. Lucky for you, you’re in the perfect city to indulge – Dijon is a feast for the senses in every way.
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