So the most important part of a city is how it came to be....because without that....well, the city wouldn't exist......
So we go back a few years ago to....ohh....around Roman times, Aurelian, 270ish after Jesus, my home-boy! So these romans didn't have us Texan's capability to properly road trip, and needed a little pit stop between Lyon and Paris...which is ooonly 290 miles, OMG freak out!....what boobs! So they decided the now called Dijon was a good place to create a pitstop...
No no.....I'm not talking about no Flying J here people! These were the ancestors of the french,
They needed something scenic and pampering with birdies, flowers, running rivers and prime vineyard weather! So naturally they came across this piece O land and gave it the name Divio....or more formally Divionense castrum....which, by the way, sounds like a male private parts surgical procedure. Well really this roman word castrum thingy means a chunk of land designated for military purposes, but whatever, they were just pansies and couldn't hack a simple road trip! So time went on, the castrum became a functional city, with gentiles and all.....then a future saint, Benignus (we'll call him Bennie), came along around the 12th century and did his saintly works and transformed the citizens into God-fearing, guilt-loving Catholics and they made a church in his honor....
and declared Bennie the patron saint of Dijon! They later created the city anthem and called it "Bennie & The Jets" but just recently it was taken off the official records because Elton John filed a law suit stating too many royalty checks were being sent to the Dijon government and it was his version of Bennie & the Jets that was the popular one, so Dijon needed to find a new anthem ? And the french don't know how to put up a good fight....so they obeyed?
**Yes I made this photo
This whole 12 century Bennie Fever was a big hit! He unfortunately was martyred, but they sold t-shirts saying I Heart Bennie, and had Bennie Bobble Head Dolls, the whole works. They also became such fanatic Catholics that they built enough churches to be called "The City of 100 Church Bell Towers"
A few hundred years before this though, the city of Dijon became super famous because some royalty dudes called, Phillip the Bold, John the Bald, and Charles the Pimp...
decided it was a great place to put their palace...
and its throne, more commonly known as the seat, for the Duchy of Burgundy? Don't ask, just read. This Duchy idea is just a nice word to mean the rich royalty folk were playing musical chairs with the land, while the 99% working class were working the land and making it the famous wine and gastronomical monstrocity it is today. (I would like to make it known that I just condensed words and pages of Wikipedia information into 2 sentences for you)
So lets talk about what the 99% working class of Dijon created in these years of Duchy Musical Chairs....
They created the process of making the world famous DIJON MUSTARD!
They created the infamous SPICED BREAD!
They created the foundations for the world famous Burgundy Wine Regions and Wine Making!The drive from Santenay to Dijon, known as the Route Des Grands Crus, passes through the major vineyards of Burgunday.
They created numerous types of delicious cheeses, particularly Epoisse! Burgundy's legendary stinky cheese, Epoisses is a soft-centered cheese usually made from cow's milk with a rind washed in marc, the French equivalent of grappa, aka wine grape brandy. It is banned from the United States, because it is unpasteurized. This cheese is very very strong and smells like my arm pit after running 3 miles....but it is sooooooooooooooo gooooooooooood!
They created the delicious Cassis Liqueur, or blackcurrant liqueur. The famous Kir drink also originates from the city and was created by the former mayor of Dijon, Canon Felix Kir. The drink is made by mixing this cassis liqueur and white wine, especially the Burgundy Aligote, or Champagne.
Not to mention they built the city by hand from the ground up! And they did such a great job that the city is famous for having the largest amount of buildings more than 300 years old, which are still standing!! Dijon also is known for having the most varying types of historical architecture than any other city. Now I am no architecture whiz, so there is no way I am going to date these for you, but the following pictures are the different types of architecture over the centuries that are still standing in Dijon.
**Gothic Style Architecture
***The region's architecture is distinguished by, among other things, the Burgundian roofs, made of tiles glazed in terra cotta, green, yellow and black and arranged in eye-catching geometric patterns.
***The full street is preserved architecture from what it looked like in the Middle Ages
***Well I know its not architecture, but in my very mature mind, its just plain funny!
The walking route to discover all of these historic features of Dijon can be found by following the small triangles on the Owl's Walking Trail:
with 22 stops in front of the historical points in downtown Dijon. They look like this....
So why the owl? Legend has it that an architect in charge of drawing the blueprints for the Cathedral Notre Dame in Dijon, saved an injured owl on the side of the road on his trip to Dijon. To repay him for his help, each night the owl flew all over Burgundy to find the best architecture styles to tell the architect how to design the cathedral and greatly please the Dukes. The design for the cathedral was a huge success, and to give honor to the little owl, the architect had a small owl carved into the side of the cathedral. To this day it is the good luck charm for Dijon, and it is said that if you rub it with your left hand, it will be bring you good luck!
To finish out our journey......here are some other random facts about Dijon
*Twas the birth place of:
~Charles de Gaulle = former french Prez
~Henry Darcy = a french engineer who made several important contributions to hydraulics, so thanks to this guy you crazy mexicans can do that crazy lifting/dropping thing with you car.
~Gustave Eiffel = designed the Eiffel Tower, the Statue of Liberty, and the 4 Horse fountain from my Lyon Herstory Blog!
~And this lady?
Dijon is also host to the annual Gastronomic Fair at the end of October, for those of you still puzzled..., that means its a food fair, with over 500 exhibitors and 200,000 visitors every year, this is one of the ten most important fairs in France.
Dijon is also home, every three years, to the international flower show Florrissimo.
Dijon also is a host city for the famous Fete de la Musique (Music Festival) every June 21 in various cities worldwide (created by the french), celebrating the summer soltice with live musical groups playing on street corners, food, fun, and lots o drunk folks...lasting until til the wee hours of the morning.
Population of Dijon 150,800 and 236,953 for the greater Dijon area.
There are many museums in the city, including one dedicated to mustard and steak!
Dijon has on average 158 days of rainfall per year. Lucky Me!
AND THAT MY FRIENDS IS MY 'HER'STORY OF DIJON!!!
HOPE YOU ENJOYED!!
Look forward to the next blog, about my recent wine tasting festival adventures!!
This is Veronique, the American formerly known as Ceci ... signing out!!