Is it necessary to present Dijon, the historic capital of Burgundy and a Mecca of French gastronomy? The prefecture of the Côte d’Or offers visitors a rich and exciting architectural and cultural heritage. But beyond the city of the Dukes of Burgundy, there are many sites to explore. Of course, the vineyards of the Côtes de Nuits, but also natural sites, beautiful ruins, and charming localities. What are the 15 places to see in the region around Dijon? Follow the guide and let’s go on a trip less than 40 km from the centre of Dijon!
What does Dijon mean to you?
Fallot’s Dijon mustard?
The timber-framed houses of the historic centre?
Beautiful gothic churches?
The charming Place de la Libération?
Dijon is all this… and much more!
But for now, let’s go outside the city walls to explore its surroundings…
Staying around Dijon
To plan your accommodation around Dijon, click on this link to booking.com or browse the map below:
What to see around Dijon?
Let’s get to the heart of the matter with 15 ideas of what to see around Dijon.
Dijon is located in the north of a very touristy wine region… To avoid having to write an encyclopaedia on the subject (!!), I have voluntarily limited myself to a small selection of 15 destinations within a maximum radius of 40 km.
► Do you have any suggestions for visits around Dijon? Write them in the comments at the bottom of the article!
Here are the 15 places we will discover around Dijon:
- Mont Afrique and Notre-Dame d’Etang
- Fixin, Fixey and Gevrey-Chambertin
- Château du Clos de Vougeot
- Butte de Vergy
- Abbaye de Cîteaux
- Valley of the Venelle
- Sources of the Seine
To help you, I have included links to the corresponding tourist offices for most destinations around Dijon. Do not hesitate to go there to get personal information on natural or cultural sites to discover, hikes to follow or the program of upcoming events.
Let’s start this little trip around Dijon with a site close to the city centre and yet so exotic!
Summit 13 km southwest of Dijon
Mont Afrique is one of the prominent peaks of the Côte d’Or, a group of hills dominating the Saône plain between Dijon and Beaune.
The summit reaches an altitude of 600 metres. Mount Afrique can be recognised from Dijon by its radio tower standing on a high tabular hill. To reach it, take the D108G towards Corcelles-les-Monts.
Mont Afrique offers many possibilities for hiking. The summit tour is one of the favourite walks of the people of Dijon. It provides fine views of the region around Dijon: the Saône plain to the east, the Ouche valley to the north and, on a clear day, the Alps and Mont Blanc to the south.
Not far from Mont Afrique, the monument to Notre-Dame d’Etang is a landmark in the landscape for visitors arriving in Dijon from the Ouche valley, whether by the canal, train or road.
The monument dates from 1896 and consists of an octagonal chapel topped by a lantern tower, supporting a colossal Virgin and Child statue.
There is a beautiful view of the Ouche valley and its surroundings from the monument.
Village 12 km southwest of Dijon
Located in the vineyards around Dijon, the wine village of Fixin (pronounced “fissin”) has a beautiful Romanesque church. Saint-Martin de Fixin dates from the 12th and 15th centuries.
In the village, you can also discover the Fixin washhouse, one of the most beautiful washhouses in Burgundy. It dates back to 1827 and is fed by a source of ferruginous water.
The Noisot Museum and Park
On the heights of Fixin, the Museum and Park Noisot of Fixin is a “Napoleon I Museum”, including a forest park developed in the 19th century.
In the hamlet of Fixey (pronounced “fissay”) is another, much older church. Rising above the vineyards, Saint-Antoine de Fixey was built in Romanesque style in the 10th and 12th centuries. Note the glazed tile roof, which is more elaborate than the Fixin church.
The village of Gevrey-Chambertin is located on the Route des Grands Crus along the Côte de Nuits. Its Grand Cru wines (including the famous Chambertin) enjoy a worldwide reputation for prestige.
In the upper part of the village, the Castle of Gevrey-Chambertin is an 11th-century fortress with a 2.3-hectare vineyard.
The Sires de Vergy built the castle with its square towers. They gave it to the Abbey of Cluny in the 13th century.
The church of Saint-Aignan dated to the 13th century and was remodelled in the 14th and 15th centuries. See its beautiful Romanesque portal.
Clos de Vougeot
Castle 20 km south of Dijon
Surrounded by vineyards, the Clos de Vougeot castle is a symbolic place in Burgundy. It deserves to be called the Acropolis of Burgundy!
The Clos de Vougeot estate extends over 50 hectares of walled vineyards. It produces one of the best red wines in the world.
Although the Cistercian monks planted the vine around 1100, the current château dates from the 16th century. Nowadays, it is the “Confrérie des Chevaliers du Tastevin” headquarters founded in 1934. Its motto is “Never in vain, always in wine”.
The castle houses the wine museum where you can discover the impressive cellars and presses of the 13th century.
Town 24 km south of Dijon
Halfway between Beaune and Dijon, the small town of Nuits-Saint-Georges is the capital of the Côte de Nuits vineyards.
The main asset of this picturesque town is its 17th-century belfry. Its beautiful lantern-shaped belfry houses an automatic carillon of several bells that set the town’s pace of life.
In the winegrowers’ district of Nuits-Saint-Georges is the 13th-century Romanesque church of Saint-Symphorien.
The interior of the church is surprising with its pink and white walls. The sobriety of its architecture is characteristic of the Burgundian Romanesque style.
Butte de Vergy
Summit 27 km south of Dijon
The Butte de Vergy is a mystical hillside in the Hautes-Côtes region where the ancient Burgundian and Frankish tribes settled.
It is located between Dijon and Beaune (one could almost speak of the Dijon hinterland!)
The hill of Vergy is crisscrossed with marked paths. Some lead to the orientation table, and others to the ruins of the former Saint-Vivant monastery (end of the 9th century), a daughter house of the Abbey of Cluny.
In the valley, you can discover several picturesque villages, including Reulle-Vergy. Take a break to admire the 12th and 13th-century church of Saint-Saturnin.
Also in the village is a curious town hall combined with a washhouse (19th century).
There are two options for reaching the Vergy hillock.
- The shortest from Dijon: reach Gevrey-Chambertin then take the D31 to Semezanges. Join L’Etang-Vergy by the D35.
- The longest way: reach Sainte-Marie-sur-Ouche by the A38 and follow the D35 through the château de Montculot.
You can reach Dijon via Nuits-Saint-Georges (D25).
Castle 35 km southwest of Dijon
You have to turn off the D974 Dijon-Beaune road to discover the fairytale castle of Corton André, established at the foot of the Corton hill.
The castle and its magnificent roof with glazed tiles typical of Burgundy date from the 19th century. It occupies the site of an 18th-century castle. It is now part of the “Maison Pierre André” wine estate. This vast 150 hectare estate extends over the three communes of Ladoix-Serrigny, Aloxe-Corton and Pernand-Vergelesses and includes the grand crus Corton (red) and Corton-Charlemagne (white).
Charlemagne? In fact, it is said that in the 8th century, the emperor Charlemagne owned a vineyard of about 70 ouvrées (about 3.5 hectares) behind the present castle. In 775, he donated it to the canons of the Basilica of Saint-Andoche in Saulieu.
Castle 40 km south of Dijon
The wine-growing village of Savigny-lès-Beaune is famous for its imposing castle built around 1340 by Jean de Frôlois, Marshal of Burgundy.
Visitors come to the castle to admire the fantastic collections of thousands of Abarth cars, trucks, motorbikes, aeroplanes, as well as vineyard equipment (tractors) and fire-fighting equipment.
The church of Saint Cassien (named after a bishop of Autun) has a massive 12th-century Romanesque bell tower with a square base and an octagonal spire. The choir and transept, in Gothic style, date from the 15th century. The nave and aisles are an 18th-century addition.
Town 40 km south of Dijon
Beaune proudly bears the prestigious title of Burgundy wine capital.
The UNESCO listed town has many relics of its prosperous past. Old houses, churches and ramparts still show that Beaune was an important centre of art and culture in the Middle Ages.
Stroll through the narrow cobbled streets and quiet squares to discover many old buildings such as the Maison du Colombier, the belfry, the Hôtel de la Rochepot, the Maison du Chapitre…
The church of Beaune
The collegiate basilica of Notre-Dame dates from 1125-1130. It is one of the last great Romanesque churches in Burgundy. Reach the garden to see the remains of the late 13th-century cloister.
The fortifications walk
The ramparts still enclose the old town. A 2.5km walk takes you along the walkway with views of the watchtowers and bastions.
The Hospices de Beaune
The 15th-century hospital known as the Hôtel-Dieu is Beaune’s main tourist attraction.
Nicolas Rolin, chancellor to the Duke of Burgundy, founded a hospital for the poor in 1440. Together with his wife, Guigone de Salins, he wanted to house the sick, the poor and the elderly.
Completed in 1457, the complex is a masterpiece of medieval architecture. Above all, it is an emblem of the golden age of the Grand Duchy of Burgundy.
The hospice is famous for its massive, multi-coloured roof. True to Burgundian tradition, it is decorated with green, yellow, brown and sienna glazed tiles.
Inside, the large “Salle des Pôvres” (Paupers’ Room, 51 metres long) has 28 wooden beds lined up in two rows.
The building also houses Rogier van der Weyden’s marvellous altarpiece of the Last Judgement (15th century).
Abbey 24 km south of Dijon
The abbey of Notre-Dame de Cîteaux was founded in 1098 by Saint Robert de Molesme on a plain covered with reeds (or “cistels”, hence the abbey’s name).
This “New Monastery” sought the life of poverty and austerity lived by the monks of earlier years, based on the Rule of St Benedict.
In the 12th century, the abbey experienced a meteoric rise in Christianity. Within 40 years, the humble abbey of Cîteaux became the head of an order of 343 abbeys.
The abbey played a significant role in Burgundy’s wine industry, notably at Clos de Vougeot. It was suppressed during the French Revolution, emptied of its treasures, then transformed into a country house, a refinery, a phalanstery, and then a “disciplinary colony”, a centre for young offenders.
Today, the abbey no longer has any vineyards but produces a very popular cheese, Cîteaux.
The abbey church has long since disappeared. However, the old library (1509) and the long Definitory building (1699) can still be seen.
Town, 34 km southeast of Dijon
The section of the Burgundy canal from Dijon to the Saône runs in a straight line to Saint-Jean-de-Losne. The town is now France’s leading tourist river port.
The Saint-Jean-Baptiste church dates back to the 16th century and combines the flamboyant Gothic (choir, transept) and Renaissance (nave and portal) styles. A bell tower with turrets tops the church, and the roof has beautiful glazed tiles.
The oldest house in the village dates from the 15th century. It now houses the Maison des Mariniers and its small exhibition on inland navigation.
If you have a little time, you can continue your visit to Dole, the sub-prefecture of the Jura. The historic town is 22 km from Saint-Jean-de-Losnes (about 25 minutes).
Town 34 km southeast of Dijon
On the road from Dijon to Dole, Auxonne is an old stronghold, for a long time a border town between the Duchy of Burgundy and the County of Burgundy (Franche-Comté).
The town owes its charm to its castle built by Louis XI and its ramparts on the Saône river lined with shady alleys.
The church of Notre-Dame (13th-15th centuries) is the landmark of Auxonne thanks to its lantern tower. Located above the crossing, it has the particularity of being topped by a slender twisted bell tower.
Before visiting the interior, take time to look for the gargoyles and statues of prophets that embellish the church’s exterior. Inside, admire the 15th-century Burgundian statues: the Virgin with Grapes (in the absidiole) and the polychrome statue of St Anthony.
The Porte de Comté (Comté Gate), dated from 1503 and was part of the medieval fortifications of Auxonne, now disappeared.
The large tower of the Auxonne castle houses the Bonaparte museum.
Castle 37 km east of Dijon
A castle around Dijon that looks amazing!
With its 13th century square keep topped by a lantern and its neo-classical main building, Talmay castle is worth a visit.
The castle and the French garden are open to visitors. From the top of the tower, there is a fine view of the surroundings. You can see the hills of the Côte d’Or to the west, the Langres plateau to the north, and the first foothills of the Jura to the southeast.
Pesmes in Franche-Comté
If you still have some time left, take a trip to the village of Pesmes (Haute-Saône) 22 km to the east. A member of the Most Beautiful Villages in France, Pesmes occupies a picturesque site on the banks of the river Ognon.
Natural site 36 km north of Dijon
Tourists visiting the area around Dijon will look south towards the vineyards of the Côtes de Nuits and Côtes de Beaune.
Perhaps he will explore the green hills of the Côte d’Or… Rarely will he think of venturing north of Dijon.
And yet, there are some very rural places, where fields, meadows and forests form a relaxing countryside.
To discover them, take the road to Selongey. The church in this town, 36 km north of Dijon dates back to the 13th century.
Then follow the D27 towards Vernois-lès-Vesvres via Foncegrive.
You will pass through the green valley of the Vennelle, a natural area through which the Venelle flows. The site comprises meadows framed by Champ Pensier and the Champberceau forests.
To the southeast of Selongey and not far from Is-sur-Tille, the small village of Saulx-le-Duc occupies a very picturesque site north of Dijon.
The village houses cling to the eastern slope of the Butte Saint-Siméon. At an altitude of 482 m, the top of the hill offers a panoramic view of the whole region, and on clear days, of Mont Blanc.
The village has some old Burgundian houses. Some are decorated with statues or sundials.
From the top of the Butte Saint-Siméon, the ruined castle of the illustrious Burgundian noble family of Saulx dominates the surroundings.
There is a good view of the road from Luxerois or the D112 coming from Diénay.
Sources of the Seine
Natural site 37 km northwest of Dijon
French pupils learn that the River Seine has its source on the Langres plateau.
This high limestone plateau is located in the departments of Haute-Marne and Côte d’Or. It takes its name from the small historic town of Langres.
But the sources of the Seine are much closer to Dijon than to Langres… in fact, you won’t notice that you are on the Langres plateau… because we are in Burgundy!
What to see at the sources of the Seine?
At the exact location of the spring (in the commune of Source-Seine) is an artificial cave built in the 19th century to protect it.
It contains a statue of the Seine goddess Sequana, a dog and a dragon.
Since the 19th century, archaeologists have uncovered the buried remains of a Gallo-Roman temple and numerous ancient objects.
This is where the Seine “takes its first steps”…
And here is the very first bridge over the Seine!
In 2020, there are precisely 257 bridges over the Seine (from roads to railways to footbridges) and eight ferry crossings still in use in Normandy.
Curiously, the city of Paris has owned the source of the Seine since 1864. This may no longer be the case soon, as the Burgundy-Franche-Comté region has expressed an interest in acquiring the land around the spring.
Village and castle 42 km west of Dijon
The old village of Châteauneuf-en-Auxois dominates the surrounding countryside of the Auxois in a picturesque setting. It is part of the association of the most beautiful villages of France, as is Flavigny-sur-Ozerain.
From the perched village, there is a magnificent view of the Auxois countryside, the Burgundy canal and the A6, the famous “autoroute du Soleil” linking Paris to Lyon.
The village is laid out in a regular plan around the Grande Rue and the Rue du Centre, with houses dating from the 14th to 18th centuries. The castle that still watches over the village from the top of its medieval towers is worth visiting.
Château de Commarin
Near Châteauneuf, the castle of Commarin dates from the 14th century (moat and two round towers).
However, the present castle is an 18th-century reconstruction in neo-classical style with beautiful French roofs.
It is possible to visit the castle’s interior to discover an intact decoration dating from 1750, the armorial tapestries of the 16th century and the chapel, which shelters a statue of the Virgin of the 15th century.
Some practical advice to discover the sites around Dijon:
- You can avoid the traffic jams to get out of/into Dijon by driving outside of rush hour, mainly if you use the western ring road.
- These 15 places inspire you to discover the region around Dijon (less than 40 km by road). Let yourself be surprised by other discoveries during your escapades, and stay curious! There is so much to discover, especially if you are a lover of small heritage.
- Don’t hesitate to enter the tourist office centres. During my travels in Burgundy, the receptionists I met know the area and will be happy to help you discover their beautiful region.
- Organise your accommodation in the area around Dijon here.
- Visiting the region around Dijon? Think of the following hashtags: #destinationdijon – #lacotedorjadore – #bourgognetourisme – #enfranceaussi – #frenchmoments
Other blog posts that might interest you
- Read this article in French on our blog Mon Grand-Est
- Discover the gastronomy of Dijon: our addresses!
- The best places to discover along the Burgundy Canal
- What to see around Meursault in Burgundy
- The Dijon Tourist Office website
- The tourist board of the Côte d’Or département
- Accommodation in the region around Dijon
- Find out more about Tourism in Burgundy on the official website
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