Discovering Dijon’s Owl Trail│ The Owl Trail is, without a doubt, the best way to experience Dijon. By touring the city in this manner, you get to see the city’s most beautiful sights, in a fun an informative way. We picked up a copy of the Owl Trail and information booklet at the Tourism Office, and began our tour straight away. This amazing path network consists of 22 sections that take in most of the city’s historic and cultural highlights. The entire trail can be walked in about an hour, but since we were not in much of a hurry, we took our time. This city is packed with so much charismatic charm that we immediately FELL IN LOVE! Museums, cafes, parks and architectural beauties are just some of the attractions that you will come across on the Owl Trail. The trail begins in the heart of Dijon outside the Tourism Information Centre on Place Darcy.
Here are some of the highlights of our Owl Trail adventure:
Above Center, The St. Michael’s Church is situated in the protected center of Dijon . The main façade is a unique mix between Gothic-style and Renaissance style. This is due to the church’s construction date. The co-existence of these two architectural styles can be explained by the art of architecture in Burgundy in the 16th century, with the return of ancient forms and the influence of Italian art.
Below and Above Left, The Grand Theâtre de Dijon is a grand opera house in the historic centre of Dijon. Each season, the Opéra de Dijon and a variety of different companies perform an eclectic mixture of operas, from the classic Italian composers to some more modern and slightly more controversial composers of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
Rue Verrerie, aka “Glassware Street”, is one a popular pedestrian street. It is also one of the most picturesque and busiest shopping street in the historic center of Dijon, largely occupied by antique dealers. The streets nickname is probably due to the installation of glass artisans in the arcades of shops on the ground floor. Located close to the Palace of the Dukes of Burgundy, the Hotel de Vogue and the famous Chouette of Notre Dame. Fully paved and consisting of half-timbered houses over archways, this street is well-preserved and restored, it gives an idea of what Dijon was in the Middle Ages.
The Church of Notre-Dame of Dijon is a Roman Catholic church in Dijon. Considered a masterpiece of 13th-century Gothic architecture, it is situated at the heart of the preserved old centre of the city. The church’s decorations also include two symbols of Dijon: the jacquemart (bell-striking automaton) and the owl. Standing next to the church – above – there are the most incredible views of it from all sides. We walked around the church a number of times.
Below, The 51 gargoyles on the western façade are dummies, in that they are decorative rather than drain spouts. There are, however, functional gargoyles on the lateral walls of the church and the walls of the interior arch. The dummy gargoyles represent human beings, animals and monsters, and were made in 1880-1882, during the restoration of the church.
On the north side of the church is a chapel bordering on rue de la Chouette (Owl Street), a pedestrian walkway. A corner of a buttress of this chapel bears a sculpted bird thought to represent an owl. The ornament could possibly be the personal mark of a stonemason. It cannot be the signature of the original church’s architect, as is sometimes suggested, for the chapel was built in the late 15th or early 16th century—several centuries after the original church. The owl became worn over the centuries because of a superstition that luck would accompany anyone who stroked the bird with their left hand while making a wish. As a result, the sculpture lacks detail. Justin made the mistake of touching the owl with his right hand, and a Chinese lady passing by was sure to give him a mouthful when he made this mistake!
Above and Below, The Hotel de Vogue in the rue de la Chouette, close to the Church of Notre-Dame. The above image is the Hotel de Vogue, as viewed from the Notre-Dame – Source of Image. This hotel is a mansion of the 17th Century, built in the French Renaissance.
The Palace of the Dukes and Estates of Burgundy (palais des ducs et des États de Bourgogne) is a remarkably well-preserved architectural assemblage in Dijon. The oldest parts of the Palais date back to the 14th century, though most of what can be seen today dates from the 17th and 18th centuries.
Below, The tower between the trees in the picture is from the 15th century. It is known as the Tower of Philippe Le Bon, and looms over the Palais des Ducs de Bourgogne and the Place de la Libération in the center of Dijon. At night, it’s illuminated in blue so that it stands out from the rest of the Palais. During the day, if you’re feeling energetic, you can climb the 316 steps to the top of the tower and enjoy wonderful views of Dijon and the surrounding area.
Above and Below, Place de la Libération – source above of image.
The Liberation Square is the central square of the historic center of Dijon. It is shaped like a semicircle and opens to the Palace of the Dukes of Burgundy, where it was thought to beautify the king’s power, particularly that of Louis XIV, for which an equestrian statue was erected on the public square .
The Rue de la Liberté is the main street in the historic center of the French city, Dijon. It connects the Place Darcy to the Place de la Libération. This busy shopping street for pedestrians is lined with buildings mostly dating from the 15th century to the 18th century, which are classified as monuments histories. The Rue de la Liberté was named Rue de Condé before the French Revolution. A part of the street, from the Coin du Miroir to the Place d’Armes (now Place de la Libération), was drilled in 1724.
While Justin was off looking for the tourist office, so that we could begin our discovery off Dijon via the Owl Trail, I found this book…
When he returned to me, I had already spent a few minutes looking over this story about the famous Dijon Owl. It was perfect timing because I was able to tell him the story, while we began to follow the small golden triangles, which lead us around the city’s most prominent sights.
This is a perfect way to see Dijon!