Thursday, August 6, 2009
August 6 - Let the Owl Show You the Town of Dijon
Breakfast this morning was right here at our flat thanks to the owner, Coco (myhomeindijon.com), who thoughtfully stocked our kitchen with a fresh loaf of bread, eggs, milk, fruit, and coffee. We started our day with a visit to Le Grand Optical. Unfortunately David misplaced his prescription sunglasses between Dublin and Dijon and Coco graciously called an optical shop for us with same day service, and also emailed us the French translation for us to copy so that we could explain our situation. Thankfully the optician was able to read his prescription from his current lenses and we picked up a stylish pair of Hugo Boss sunglasses at the end of the day.
The owl is the symbol of Dijon and it is a an engaging and lighthearted ambassador. Visitors can pick up a map of the town with a small booklet of 22 special destinations in Dijon. To find them, all you need to do is follow the small brass triangle owl symbols embedded in the sidewalk. With our map in hand, we set off at once and discovered many fascinating places including a local covered market which comes alive four days a week with colorful flowers, seafood, and an array of fresh fruits and vegetables. At the Tour Phillippe le Bon, a 15th century tower, we joined other enthusiastic visitors to climb to the top for a staggering view of the town. At the top, we noted several buildings with colorful tiled roofs. Dijon's owl is also a symbol of good luck. At one of the stops, we followed tradition by rubbing our left hand (the one closest to your heart) over the image of the owl and made a wish.
The temperature has been close to 90 degrees today so as an interesting diversion from the heat, we spent some time enjoying the art work at Musee des Beaux-Arts where the old blended in with the new to display an extensive array of sculptures, paintings, and Egyptian artifacts. It should be noted that the museums in Dijon are free.
Dinner tonight was at Version Latine, a small restaurant with outdoor tables directly across from the market. We enjoyed a pizza smothered with fresh mushrooms, and a green salad with tomatoes, basil, and mozzarella. Walking around town after dinner, we admired the illuminated historic buildings and stopped at the Place del la Liberation the to watch children run through the water fountains that seem to magically spout out of the pavement. While the children played, their parents could be seen enjoying their dinner at the many candelit outdoor cafes. We wish we were staying longer in Dijon, but as Rick Steves says, "Assume you will return."