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A grand opening in Dijon, capital of Burgundy – Meanderings through France n° 250

 

By Annick Dournes & Frederic de Poligny 

 

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CIGV-Dijon

The brand new “Cité Internationale de la Gastronomie et du Vin” has just opened its doors to the public. This International City of Gastronomy and Wine is meant to celebrate French cuisine and wine from different angles. There you will find ample exhibition spaces, restaurants, a Ferrandi school of culinary arts, a food market place, a cinema multi-screen theatre, a park and hotels. This city within the city aims to attract all French art de vivre lovers from the whole world.

 

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Ferrandi-Cook-School-1

Ever since French gourmet meal and Burgundy vineyards were both recognised as Intangible Heritage of UNESCO more than ten years ago the city of Dijon has been looking for a proper way to materialize these cultural properties. When the 800 years old hospital closed down ten years ago it was obvious that this large piece of land set close to the city centre was the ideal location to build this new project. This 16-acre area bordered by the river Ouche was spacious enough to build new exhibition halls, condominium buildings and a theatre next to the preserved 15th and 18th centuries buildings that have been completely renovated. A successful mix of old and new architectures. There was even enough land left to create a 2,5-acre park, a green lung for the city that was well expected by the locals.

 

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the-Chapel-at-CICV-1

It took several years and 250 million Euros to achieve this huge project and the result is pretty attractive. The vast exhibition spaces are dedicated to French cuisine and gastronomy through different permanent and temporary exhibitions. Close by, a school of Burgundy wines proposes tasting for beginners and amateurs willing to learn more about the wide diversity of local wines. Mainly made with only two grape varieties -Chardonnay for whites and Pinot Noir for reds- Burgundy wines nonetheless prove to be extremely different depending on the terroir and the knowhow of the wine maker. Another exhibition hall proposes a playful way to discover Dijon and Burgundy architectural heritage.

 

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Wine-testing-at-CIGV-1

After filling your mind it’s about time to fill up your stomach! The “Cave de la Cité” is a vast tasting place with no less than 250 different wines including grands crus, by the glass. You can choose from dozens of bottles set in special devices delivering a small amount of wine in your glass. You help yourself using a kind of credit card that you buy when entering the restaurant. You can buy a card for a few Euros or much more. Prices start at 2,5 Euros but you can also taste a several hundred Euros glass for the most prestigious wines such as Vosne Romanée, Corton, Clos de Vougeot, Montrachet… An original way to be able to taste these wines that cost several thousand Euros for a bottle, a price that few people are willing to pay for. A 13-Euro entrance ticket to the whole “Cité International de la Gastronomie et du Vin” also includes a tasting of two wines… and you can keep your glass!

 

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Gourmet-bookshop-at-CIGV-1

“La Table des Climats is the second restaurant that proposes a gastronomic cuisine. Here pairing wines and food is the number one priority. You are first invited to choose the wines you would like to drink during your meal and next the sommelier helps you choose the best dishes to pair your wines. A totally new approach to create your meal.

The third restaurant called “Le Comptoir de la Cité” is a more relaxed place proposing Burgundy cuisine made with local products and a choice of 25 different wines by the glass.

 

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CIGV-entrance-1

The food market place is a vast area set in the heart of the complex. It is the ideal place to buy well-chosen products from Burgundy. Wines, mustards, chocolates, blackcurrant liqueur, gingerbread, truffles, parsley ham, snails, cakes and pastries… and a bookshop dedicated to food, wines and gastronomy.

www.citedelagastronomie-dijon.fr (only in French)

Staying in Dijon

Beside the new “Cité Internationale de la Gastronomie et du Vin” (already known by all as the CIGV) Dijon has a lot to offer for a busy city break or an entertaining stop on your way to the Alps or the Riviera. Its lively city centre is like an open-air museum with no less than 3,000 listed monuments, and where you can go shopping and enjoy entertaining summer nights.

The “Grand Hotel de la Cloche” is the only 5-star hotel in Dijon located in the heart of the city. It is only a ten-minute walk from the “Cité Internationale de la Gastronomie et du Vin”. The first “Hotel de la Cloche” (the Bell Hotel), opened in Dijon in 1414 and for over 600 years it never stopped welcoming guests. Of course, through the centuries its building has been rebuilt and renovated many times. You will easily spot it on Darcy Square with its classical façade that has been classified as Historical Monument. Now called “Le Grand Hotel de la Cloche” a M Gallery by Sofitel, it offers modern comfort and elegance after 3 years of extensive works of renovation and is proud to be the best hotel in Dijon. Ideally located at walking distance from the Ducal Palace and the “Place de la Liberté” you will appreciate its vast garden, its spa and its comfortable rooms.

 

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the-restaurant-1

Les Jardins by La Cloche” is the hotel restaurant and is said to be one of the best in town ruled by a talented young chef, Aurelien Mauny. He makes a simple cuisine without any fuss but nevertheless full of creativity. The restaurant is set in an elegant and chic veranda and you will enjoy your meal looking at the peaceful garden. The breakfast is also served in the veranda and it’s, for sure, the best place for guests to begin a day in Dijon with a large tempting breakfast buffet. For those who love to cook, don’t forget to look at the recipes from the chef that are displayed close to the buffet and that you can take home for free.

 

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The-trendy-bar-1

The hotel’s bar is a key venue and the meeting point for Dijon trendy people who enjoy there a glass of Burgundy iconic sparkling wine called Crémant, a signature cocktail or a nice cup of tea with cakes. Nicely decorated with modern art objects, it’s the perfect place to relax with friends.

 

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the-swimming-poool

There is also a beautiful Spa open to public, but hotel guests have a free access to a nice private water space, including a swimming corridor with streams and various water massage jets, a choice of five different showers, from tropical rain to cold miss, an authentic sauna and a hammam. A great opportunity to relax after a full day of visit of Dijon or its surroundings. Reservation is mandatory for any guest. Each session is for one hour, and for a maximum of eight people from the same family or the same group of friends. For sanitary reasons, there is no mix of hotel guests.


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The hotel has a valet parking service that is very useful because the traffic plan in Dijon is often a bit special and sometimes the idea to only turn around a simple block could be a real brainteaser! The hotel parking is at extra charge.

More information and direct booking at hotel-lacloche.com

Text ©Annick Dournes

Photos ©Frederic de Poligny

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The-garden-of-Grand-Hotel-de-la-cloche