dijon3.jpg dijon2.jpg dijon8.jpg dijon9.jpg dijon5.jpg The people dijon1.jpg Dijon: a village, a town, a city or a megalopolis? dijon7.jpg dijon10.jpg The climate dijon6.jpg Dijon and mustard dijon4.jpg The Palace of the Dukes of Burgundy
 
 

Dijon, France

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Forget all your preconceived ideas about France.
Okay, forget some of your preconceived ideas about France.
Just know that the experience of living and studying here will be more vibrant and foreign than you can imagine at present. There are many things that you will adore and an equal number of things that you will find difficult to adapt to.
Dijon: a village, a town, a city or a megalopolis?

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Dijon qualifies as a city, though where you come from will colour your view of its status. If you are coming to us from Shanghai or Mexico City or Delhi, you will undoubtedly find it a very quaint and dinky place. A vital, riotous and chaotic melting pot it is not. This can either be charmingly refreshing or infinitely dull, depending on how you feel about not living in a metropolis. If you are a large city dweller, you can be certain that you will breathe and sleep better than you have in years in our bit of city. It is a place conducive to study and to living the good life.
If you have a taste for old-world architecture, you might find it stunningly beautiful. Many of the buildings date from medieval times and the city centre is mostly a pedestrian area. A scene from the movie Cyrano de Bergerac (1990) was filmed in front of the Maison Millière, built in 1483, now a tea shop. The city was the capital of the dukes of Burgundy and the duchy was a powerful realm for several centuries, incorporating the Netherlands, Luxemburg and parts of Belgium. A claim to infamy: it was the Burgundians who sold Joan of Arc to the English.
Facts: Dijon proper has a population of around 160,000 and greater Dijon of around 250,000. It is the capital of the region of Burgundy and can be reached by high-speed train from Paris with a journey time of 1 hour and forty minutes and many connections daily. The local airport offers several flights a week to Bordeaux and Toulouse. The nearby airport in Dole has flights several times a week to Nice, Marrakech and Oporto.
Dijon and mustard

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Yes, we are the mustard place. Dijon mustard is known the world over and the city's name has become so synonymous with the condiment that the word mustard does not even need to be used. Dijon honey dressing, anyone?
Facts: Today very little mustard is grown in Burgundy and the grains are imported largely from Canada, the biggest global producer.
Wine and food of Burgundy

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Dijon has far more to offer in culinary terms than just mustard. The city and the region are renowned for their gastronomy and you will find the local products and dishes in stellar restaurants worldwide.
Burgundy is world famous for its wines and lovers of the divine drink have all heard of romanée-conti, corton-charlemagne or montrachet. Here the notion of terroir is fundamental and wine is the soul of a land worked and tended for generation upon generation. If you have ever picked grapes, you know something about the blood, sweat and tears that go into making wine. The care and attention to quality that our winemakers lend to their craft has led to Burgundy wines fetching the highest prices in the market, with eight out of the top ten most expensive wines in the world being from the region, according to Wine-Searcher.
Facts: In 1395 Philippe le Hardi (or Philip the Bold, one of the dukes of Burgundy) ordered that all gamay grapevines should be destroyed because of their "very great and horrible harshness" and pinot noir vines planted in their stead. Today it is the pinot noir and chardonnay varieties that are grown the most widely in the region and enjoy special status as 'noble' fruit. Pinot noir is a particularly temperamental grape to cultivate and is well suited to the calcareous soil of the Côte d'Or.
Bordeaux vineyards cover 2.5 times the surface area of Burgundy vineyards and yet Burgundy has 98 appéllations to Bordeaux's 57. The 5 most famous areas of production in Burgundy are Chablis, Côte de Nuits, Côte de Beaune, Côte Chalonnaise and Mâconnais.
The international dimension

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The School of Wine & Spirits Business and Burgundy School of Business welcome many foreign students and continually strive to increase the international intake. The association called Melting Potes organises events and trips for international students and volunteers help those who are new to France to adapt to life here. We also offer free French classes to all foreign students.
Burgundy School of Business is one of several institutions of tertiary education in Dijon. The Université de Bourgogne and Sciences Po also welcome candidates from all over the world and the academic year is inaugurated with a reception organised in honour of international students by the city of Dijon and attended by the mayor in the Palace of the Dukes of Burgundy.
Facts: A recent study in the daily newspaper Le Parisien states that Dijon takes 9th position as one of the cities most appreciated by students in the whole of France.
The climate

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The Côte d'Or department of the region of Burgundy has a climate that is very similar to that of its near namesake, the Côte d'Azur, with its sunshine, balmy sea breezes and palm trees.
Unfortunately, the above sentence is completely false.
Let us go back to the pinot noir grape and the reason why Burgundy wines are able to fetch such astronomically high prices. As stated, the pinot noir variety is a temperamental grape to grow but when it is cultivated with great care and art, it can yield the most exquisite wine. It is, however, a variety that is suited to a cooler climate. And by cooler we mean lots of rain and grey skies and fog and sometimes snow in winter. And did we mention the rain and grey skies and fog? The upside is that the grapes need sun in the summer to mature.
Facts: During the winter of 2012 – 2013 there were 194 hours of sunshine compared with 759 hours of sunshine during the summer of 2013. It was the 10th rainiest region of France in 2012. The average temperature lies between -1 and 4.2°C (between around 30°F and 39.6°F) in January and between 14.1 and 25.3°C (between around 57.4°F and 77.5°F) in July.
The people

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The Dijonnais and the Bourguignons are not people who will easily strike up a conversation with you in the street. However, as you can imagine of a region that believes in the magical properties of good food and wine, they are very sociable at mealtimes. If you can get past some initial taciturnity, you will find that they will easily invite you home for dinner, far more so than in many countries. An invitation to their table is always sincerely meant so do not hesitate to accept.
The French in general, barring some exceptions, are also interested in the world at large and enjoy conversations about other countries. They can sometimes ask rather pointedly direct questions but can usually take rather pointedly frank answers.
Of course these are generalisations and a lot depends on the chance of meetings and, obviously, your own openness to a new culture and way of doing things.
Facts: According to a 2011 report published by the OECD, the French spend an average of two hours a day eating and drinking at the table, which is twice as long as Canadians or Americans do.