Saturday, 2 May 2015

A day out in Dijon

Not that we have seen it all in our own vicinity, but, as they say, variety is the spice of life.

Flower market - Dijon
Hence every so often we take the opportunity to see something in another department. One of our favourite outings is a day in Dijon. Dijon is the capital of Burgundy as well as that of the Côte-d’Or department (21), and it has a number of interesting things to offer. And I am not just talking of museums; Dijon is a bustling town, with lots of terraces, shops, half-timbered buildings, and, walking through the old town one is surprised time after time by views of yet another roof covered with glazed, coloured roof tiles in interesting patterns.

Roof of the cathedral Saint- Bénigne/td>
Burgundy once was a powerful Duchy, and the Dukes of Burgundy competed with the French King in power, prosperity and not in the least in cultural affluence. The former Ducal Palace, smack in the middle of the old town, hosted, once the power of the Dukes was broken, the Parliament of Burgundy, and presently the Musée des Beaux Arts.

Tomb detail - Musée des Beaux Arts
This is a beautiful museum, with a vast collection of religious art, but also with a department of contemporary art and a special section dedicated to the famous sculptor François Pompon. The highlights of the collection however are the tomb of Philip the Bold and that of John the Fearless and his wife Margaret of Bavaria. Both monuments are beautifully decorated with sculptures of the best (Dutch) sculptors of the late Middle Ages, Claus Sluter and Claus van de Werve.
Another work by Sluter, the well of Moses, can be found where once the Carthusian monastery of Champmol (also in Dijon) stood.

Detail - Well of Moses
This monastery once hosted the above mentioned tombs, which were moved to the Saint-Béningne Cathedral after the monastery was demolished. From there they finally went to the Palais des Ducs.
The originally Romanesque cathedral, which was replaced by the present Gothic church, still houses a Romanesque crypt which is the only remaining lower part of an impressive rotunda. Next to the church one of the former abbey buildings hosts nowadays the Musée Archéologique.

Polar bear - François Pompon
The lower part of the building is the old Romanesque scriptorium and chapter hall, while the first floor is the former Gothic dormitorium. This beautiful room displays capitals and tympanums from the old Romanesque cathedral, as well as remains of other, demolished abbeys in the vicinity of Dijon.

Dormitorium - Musée Archéologique
There is a lot more to admire in Dijon; this was just a random enumeration. For those who think that an outing like this will set one back quite a bit: all museums in Dijon are free of charge, hence the money “saved” this way can be utilised to pay for a lunch in one of the many restaurants in the old centre of Dijon.

Notre-Dame - Dijon
The link to the website of La Tuilerie de Chazelle can be found here.

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