La Chouette De Dijon (The Owl of Dijon)
You know Dijon from Dijon mustard. But what you don't know is that it's perfect weekend escape from Paris or any other big city in France.
It's a small town that has it's own versions of the Arc de Triomphe, the Notre Dame, and plenty of lush mustard fields that when you pass by, take your breath away.
If you're planning to drive from Paris, it's just over a three and a half hour car ride. You can also take the TGV which is the bullet train. It goes over 140 mph and will get you there in about 1 hour and 40 minutes. It can take longer depending on the schedule, but check here to plan your journey.
Also plan on spending anywhere from $70-90 a person (US dollars) for a one way ride. Prices vary on whether you choose economy, comfort, or premier. In Paris, you can take the TGV from the airport or from Gare De Lyon.
When you arrive to the town, there is an owl trail that will guide you straight to the owl that's on Rue de la Chouette (Street of the Owl). The whole town is completely walkable.
See the image to the left. The owl is on the side of a church that's supposed to be the Notre-Dame of Dijon. People of all ages will constantly come up and touch it with their left hand all day long. They've been doing it for the last 300 years.
Why the left hand?
There's a myth surrounding the owl. If you touch it with your left hand and make a wish, your wish will come true. No one knows who added the owl to the side of the church, but they do know it was defaced by someone with a hammer in January 2001. By May 2001, it was rebuilt.
This owl is a mascot of the town. You'll see souvenirs all around time from t-shirts to purses to wood carvings. If you want a unique gift, ask shop owners for La Chouette au bois (owl of wood). They are not the cheapest, but they are memorable. You can get them at the tabacs shops. Or head to the mustard shop in the alley near the owl, there will be a restaurant, upon entering, turn right and you'll be in a shop where you can buy these keychains.
Honestly, this is one of my favorite places you get to visit in France because it's rich with history, has a cute mascot, and gives you to chance to explore small town life. There are other must-see places in Dijon, but to know where they are...stay tuned for the next blog!