The city of Dijon is one of those wonderfully mid-size French cities that makes an excellent base if you want to travel around France. There are plenty of exciting options just a short distance away that will add some variety to your itinerary.
Dijon is located in the region of Burgundy (“Bourgogne” in French), an area that was once ruled by the powerful Dukes of Burgundy. With a culture and allegiance that didn’t always align with the French monarchs ruling from Paris, this is an area that has seen a lot of wars and turmoil.
All of which certainly makes for a number of interesting towns and cities nearby to visit. So let’s have a look at the best day trips from Dijon, shall we? Allons-y!
Nestled in the heart of the Burgundy region, Auxerre has a charm that will sweep you off your feet. It is located about 1h40 from Dijon by car.
The city is renowned for its rich history, stunning architecture, and of course, its delicious wine. It dates back to the Gallic era and was a provincial capital of the Roman Empire.
With an ancient cathedral dating back to the 5th century Auxerre was one of the most prosperous cities in the area. The city is part of the famous Burgundy wine region, so is famous for its exquisite Chablis and other local wines.
The old part of Auxerre features quaint cobbled streets and neighborhoods with preserved medieval buildings, along with some timber-framed houses lining the way. If you’re a fan of art, the Musée d’Art et d’Histoire houses an impressive collection of paintings and sculptures.
The sunny city of Lyon is about 2 hours away from Dijon. This was the historical capital of Gaul under the Roman empire.
Located near the Alps mountains and forests, as well as being within three and half hours of the Mediterranean sea, this is a city with a lot of things to visit nearby.
And when you add that the Lyon is famous for being the gastronomical capital with some of the best chefs in France, there are even more reasons to live in Lyon.
The center of Lyon is a small sliver of land between the rivers Rhône and Saône, that is today one of the most expensive parts of the city. La Presqu’île which translates to “almost island”, is a man-made isle that was created as part of a large18th-century urban engineering project to drain the marshes.
With a mix of gorgeous 19th-century architecture, elegant plazas, high-end shops, restaurants, and more Lyon is a wonderful place to live in France. You can read more about the visiting the city of Lyon here.
About 3 hours drive away from Dijon is the Alpine town of Annecy. It is perhaps a little far for a day trip, but this is one town that is well worth the trip.
Located on Lake Annecy, the city is blessed not only with a charming old town but also with some of the most extraordinary scenery in all of France. A delightful combination of medieval France and natural landscapes, it is a town that has attracted visitors for centuries.
From the old Palais de l’Ile to the Château d’Annecy, this was the home of the Counts of Genova. Known as the Venice of the Alps, the town is famous for its many canals.
And with plenty of lakeside beaches, biking lanes and hiking trails nearby, it is a sports-lovers paradise. You can read more about visiting Annecy here.
The town of Avallon is about 1h20 from Dijon, with a history that dates back to the Celtic era. In recent years, Avallon has become famous for the theory that it is the “Avalon” from the old Arthurian legend.
During the Middle Ages, Avallon was a strategic stronghold and part of the territory of the powerful dukes of Burgundy. The town was frequently attacked by invading armies suffered greatly during the 100 Years’ war.
Today, visitors can still see the remnants of Avallon’s rich history in the town’s impressive architecture, ancient ramparts, and numerous landmarks. You can read more about visiting Avallon here.
The small town of Bourg-en-Bresse is about 1h45 from the city of Dijon. It is famous for its Royal Monastery of Brou. It was built by Margaret of Austria, daughter of the Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian I.
This magnificent Gothic monastery is one of the town’s most iconic landmarks and is a must-see for any visitor.
In the Middle Ages, Bourg-en-Bresse became a prosperous trading town, eventually becoming the capital of the historic region of Bresse under the Dukes of Savoy. You can read more about visiting Bourg-en-Bresse here.
If you enjoyed that article you may like to read more about foods from Dijon and Burgundy. A bientôt!