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Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Dijon, je suis dans l'amour! Day 3.

We made it to Dijon (southeast of Paris) in one piece. We were greeted by Thip's sister Ba and her husband Eric, and they welcomed us into their lovely home which was built 700 years ago. Ba made us some delicious Thai chicken curry for dinner and even made us chocolate cake to have with tea. We were pretty tired from the the day's worth of walking and dragging our luggages along from one metro station to the next, but stayed up way past our bedtime to talk and share stories with each other.

This morning we took the day to explore Dijon a little closer. This city was built in the middle ages and almost everything is untouched and still in original form representative of Burgundian architecture dating back to the 11th century. Dijon architecture is distinguished by, among other things, Burgundian polychrome roofs made of tiles glazed in terracotta, green, yellow and black and arranged in eye-catching geometric patterns. You might be familiar with Dijon because they are famous for their process of making mustard, thus the name "Dijon mustard." We stopped to get some to bring back to the states. I enjoyed sampling the many different flavors of mustard available.

The roads are paved in cobblestones, and the streets kept the same narrowness from when horses were the main source of transportation around the town. Walking down the streets in Dijon gave me a feeling of familiarity and ease. We visited Ba's culinary school today and it was such a fantastic experience. Kids from the age of 15+ can come learn about anything from cooking, baking, to bartending and serving. The coolest part about the L'Ecole Hoteliere is the back portion of the school was Gustave Eiffel's home when he was growing up. The integrity of the home was well kept, the tiles were over a hundred years old, as well as the molding. Having a cup of coffee in his home was pretty amazing. He grew up and went on to design the Eiffel Tower and the Statue of Liberty among many other well known projects.

We stopped by a covered market where the people in town shopped for everything from bread, meat, seafood, cheese, and so much more. Outside the market were street vendors and small shops selling anything you could imagine. The modernity of the stores and shops juxtaposed with the historical cathedrals, museums, and buildings made for a friendly and familiar town. Among the many beautiful cathedrals we visited today, my favorite was the Cathedrale St. Benigne de Dijon. The Gothic cathedral was built somewhere from 1280 to 1325. Home to the first apostle of Burgundy (St. Benigne) who's sarcophagus is in the crypt under the church. Near the tomb it read:

"This stone is the last remnant of the sarcophagus. Rested during the centuries the body of St. Benigne, priest, apostle of the country. Martyred around AD 200 according to ancient traditions."

It was such a faithful experience, one that I could not fathom ever being able to see.

We were extremely famished after the sightseeing, so we stopped by a cute bistro "L'Imprimerie" where old books adorned every nook of the restaurant. It looked more like a library than a food spot. We ordered fresh mussels in a celery, and white wine broth which was mouth watering. Meesh had a rib-eye steak and fries, Ba had a ham, mushroom, and gruyere crepe, while I had a beef tartare. The portions were so big beyond our imagination, and although I would have loved to have finished the whole plate because it was so appetizing, I simply could not walk home if I had.

After another memorable day, we are now enjoying some more Thai food per Ba. C'est magnifique!

1 comment:

  1. You described this little charming town so well, Dien. I felt like I was there with you. :)