The ENCATC Congress is an opportunity to learn about another culture! From wine tasting, to rich cultural heritage, local legends, renowned gastronomy, and more learn about Dijon and the unforgettable experience that awaits you!

An important historical city

Dijon is in the Cote d’Or department of the Burgundy region. The ancient capital of Burgundy was once called Divio. Today, the city of Dijon offers very interesting historical visits, cultural activities and fine restaurants. 

The city is the most important between Paris and Lyon, with major road communications and the high speed train called the TGV, which also connects to Lille for the Eurostar to London, getting to and from Dijon is easy. 

The city has the largest amount of buildings which are more than 300 years old and still standing. In France this makes the old centre very agreeable to walk around, for example the Rue de la Chouette and Verrerie are very charming, with half-timbered houses and narrow cobbled streets. 

Places to visit in the city would be the cathedral Notre Dame, Saint Michel, the palace of the Dukes of Burgundy, the old shopping streets with the indoor market, and also the main Burgundy vineyards begin just to the south of the city.

The Romanesque Cluny Abbey near Dijon was once the largest church in the world in the 4th century. However, it was overtaken mid-century when construction began on the famous St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City. 

The Eiffel Tower in Paris is one of the world’s most famous landmarks and tourist attractions, but its namesake wasn’t born in the City of Light. Gustave Eiffel was born in Dijon in 1832, and in 1879 founded the company that would design his namesake tower (Eiffel also contributed to the design of the Statue of Liberty). 

World Heritage status by Unesco

The climates are precisely delimited vineyard parcels on the slopes of the Côte de Nuits and the Côte de Beaune south of the city of Dijon. They differ from one another due to specific natural conditions (geology and exposure) as well as vine types and have been shaped by human cultivation. Over time they came to be recognized by the wine they produce. This cultural landscape consists of two parts. Firstly, the vineyards and associated production units including villages and the town of Beaune, which together represent the commercial dimension of the production system. The second part includes the historic centre of Dijon, which embodies the political regulatory impetus that gave birth to the climate’s system. The site is an outstanding example of grape cultivation and wine production developed since the High Middle Ages. 

Gastronomy

Dijon mustard (Moutarde de Dijon) is a traditional mustard of France, named after the town of Dijon in Burgundy, France, which was the epicentre of mustard making in the late Middle Ages and was granted exclusive rights in France in the 17th century. First used in 1336 for the table of King Philip VI, it became popular in 1856, when Jean Naigeon of Dijon replaced the usual ingredient of vinegar in the recipe with verjuice, the acidic juice of unripe grapes.

The main ingredients of this condiment are brown mustard seeds (Brassica juncea), and white wine, or a mix of wine vinegar, water and salt designed to imitate the original verjuice. It can be used as an accompaniment to all meats in its usual form as a paste, or it can be mixed with other ingredients to make a sauce.

The famous Kir cocktail also originates from the city, created by the Cannon Kir, the drink is made of blackberries and is added to white wine or Champagne.

Dijon is also host to an annual food fair called “La Foire Gastronomique”, which is held ever year at the end of October and attracts thousands of visitors. 

Culture and viticulture in Burgundy

At the Congress, participants will be offered a commented discovery tasting of Burgundy wines! 

Ever since Georgians made the first wines 8,000 years ago, wine has been considered a drink of civilization. With the advent of Christianity, wine came to symbolize the blood of Christ and was offered to honor guests. In Burgundy, bishops and monks gave a great impetus to viticulture. The Cistercians acquired Clos de Vougeot in 1125 and developed pinot noir and chardonnay, the two iconic cultivars of the region. 

Wine has been celebrated by the most famous artists: poets (Homer, Ronsard, Baudelaire, Apollinaire,) philosophers (Plato, Aristotle, Montaigne) playwrights (Aeschylus, Shakespeare, Molière) famous authors (Rabelais, Voltaire, Goethe,) musicians (Purcell, Rameau, Wagner, Gounod,) painters (Caravagio, Velasquez) and scientists (Hippocrates, Pasteur, Fleming…) 

The Côte de Nuits, whose vineyards lured Thomas Jefferson in 1787, produce some of the most expensive wines in the world, including Romanée-Conti, a single bottle of which was sold at auction for $10,953 in 2010. 

Burgundy’s viticulture is characterized by the growers’ high respect for the soil (“terroir.”). It is a region where each plot is distinct from its neighbor and bears a name. Its landscape has been shaped by human cultivation and its small estates average 5 hectares. In 2015, 1247 parcels of the region were added to UNESCO’s World Heritage list.

The Magic Owl of Dijon

For over 300 years this little carving has been the city’s good luck charm. There is a small stone owl carved into a corner of the oldest church in Dijon. His face has seen better days and he’s less than a foot tall, but for over three centuries he’s had a big job: granting wishes to all who reach up and stroke his little face.

This is the Owl of Notre Dame de Dijon, the city’s symbol and unofficial talisman. The carving sits about six feet off the ground on an otherwise unremarkable corner of the church, and as the tradition goes, if you touch him with your left hand and make a wish, your wish will come true.

The original Gothic structure of Notre Dame dates to the 13th century, but the owl isn’t nearly so old. He was added—no one knows why or by whom—during construction of a more modern chapel (and by European church standards, “modern” means early 16th century) on the north wall. Here the narrow pedestrian street is called Rue de la Chouette, “Owl Street.”