Sunday, February 28, 2010

June 19, 2009 - Dijon, France

On a cool (cold?) and rainy Friday morning we pulled into Dijon and found a parking spot fairly quickly. Dijon is the capital of the Côte-d'Or department in the Bourgogne region of east central France, with about 150,000 inhabitants within the city limits. In Celtic times, tin merchants from Britain who traded with Adriatic communities, followed their route along the Seine river, passing through what was to become Dijon, before crossing the Alps into what is now Italy. A settlement called Divio was developed on this site during the Roman period, consolidating the route between Paris and Lyon.
About 1000 CE, Dijon was chosen as their capital city by the dukes of Burgundy, although it wasn't
until the 14th and 15th centuries that the city blossomed into its greatest prosperity. Dukes Phili
ppe le Hardi (Philip the Bold), Jean sans Peur (Jean the Fearless), Philippe le Bon (Philip the Good), who actually sold Joan of Arc to the English, and Charles le Téméraire (Charles the Bold) were the guiding hands leading to this success. Dijon lost its capital status however, in 1477 when it was incorporated into the kingdom of France. More recently, the city was occupied by Nazi Germany from June 1940 to early 1945, when it was liberated by the Allies. Dijon of course, is synonymous with mustard. Moutarde de Dijon however, refers only to a manufacturing method for a particular strong mustard relish, a recipe for a genericized product. For Dijon mustard that is actually produced in Dijon, 90% of the mustard seed is actually imported, much of it from Canada. Click here for a flavor of this comfortable French city.

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