Known as "the car-free medieval city", Burgundy's capital is often overlooked as visitors flock instead to Provence's rolling lavender fields or Marseille's balmy beaches. But Dijon has much to offer the Francophile. Home to the Dukes of Burgundy - deemed more powerful than royalty until the 15th century - this place is rich in architectural, culinary and cultural delights alike.
Hungry? Follow your nose to Les Halles indoor food market, where you can browse the region's many culinary specialities - not missing, of course, a taste of the world-famous mustard. After that, we recommend you follow the "Owl Trail". Follow signs from the city-centre start point: the tour route winds its way through narrow alleyways and sprawling squares, taking in 22 of Dijon's most legendary landmarks.
One of our favourite things to do when discovering a new destination is to take a stroll through the surrounding countryside. Just an hour's drive west of the city, Morvan Regional National Park, with its crystal-clear lakes, woodlands and meadows, is a great place to start.
Delve deep into Dijon's history at the Musée des Beaux-Arts de Dijon. Opened in 1787, the museum's walls are clad with early-Renaissance sculptures, while regular exhibitions are always superb.
Where to stay?
Bed down at Vertigo Hotel, brainchild of the brilliant Massucco brothers. Housed in a 1920s-built, Haussmann-style building, this is a place where French tradition meets contemporary style, and whose abstract artworks and padded headboards get our seal of approval. Be sure to check out the hotel spa, resplendent in black matte tiles, with marble poolside loungers.
Where to go for dinner?
Book a table at Hôtel La Cloche's restaurant Les Jardins, whose outdoor dining space is almost as delightful as its menu. Picture puff pastry fingers and expertly cooked rabbit. More of the brunch type? Spend a lazy Sunday morning here, lingering over fluffy waffles and flaky pain au chocolate. Hooked? Check out head chef Aurélien Manu's cookbook, Saisons.
And for a drink…
Evenings are best spent with a cocktail (or three) at the Blues Café, enjoying a spot of live jazz by a line-up of established and upcoming artists.
Who to take with you
Take someone who's prone to a glass of red, so that you can taste-test the fantastic local bins together.
When to go
September to mid-October is when Dijon seriously sparkles. The climate is just right, and it's also harvest time for the vineyards, with plenty of events going on across the city to mark the occasion. We recommend taking the 20-minute drive to La Maison's Domaine de la Vougeraie winery to sample some top-notch local vintages.
Essentials to pack
An extra-large bag in which you can stuff some of Dijon's best bits to take home. Our favourite is this bright Raf Simons logo-patch zipped canvas tote.
How to get there
Prefer the scenic route? Take the train from London Kings Cross to Dijon via Paris Gare du Nord. Alternatively, fly to Dijon Air Base, from where it's 14km to the city centre.