Dijon (pop. 160,000) isn’t just about the mustard. The capital of Burgundy is a charming city with numerous gardens, a couple of good museums, and many fine wines. The diverse Musee des Beaux-Arts occupies the east wing of the colossal Palais des Dues de Bourgogne, in pl. de la Liberation at the center of the vieille ville. (03 80 74 52 70. Open May-Oct. W-M 9:30am-6pm; Nov.-Apr. W-M 10am-5pm. ‚3.40; students with ID free, Su free.) The brightly-tiled Cathedrale St-Benigne, in pl. St-Benigne, has a spooky circular crypt. ( 03 80 30 39 33. Open 9am-7pm. Crypt ‚1.) Next door, the Musee Archeologique, 5 r. Dr. Maret, features Gallo-Roman sculptures and Neolithic housewares. (03 80 30 88 54. Open June-Sept. Tu-Su 9am-6pm; Oct.-May Tu-Su 9am-noon and 2-6pm; ‚2.20; students free; Su free.) Get your Grey Poupon at the Maille Boutique, 32 r. de la Liberte, where moutarde au vin has been made since 1747. (03 80 30 41 02. Open M-Sa 9am-7pm. MCV.)
From the train station at cours de la Gare, trains chug to: Lyon (2hr. 7 per day, ‚21); Nice (7-8hr. 6 per day, ‚57); Paris (lV&ir. 20 per day, ‚26). The tourist office, in pi. Guillaume Darcy, is a straight shot down av. Marechal Foch from the station, (a 03 80 44 11 44. Open May-Oct. daily 9am-7pm; Nov.-Apr. 10am-6pm.) liHdtel Montchapet , 26-28 r. Jacques Cellerier, lOmin. north of av. Premiere Armee Frangaise, off pi. Guillaume Darcy, is bright and comfortable. (03 80 53 95 00; www.hotelmontchapet.com. Breakfast ‚5. Reception 7am-10:30pm. Check-out 11am. Singles ‚26-39; doubles ‚36-46.) To get to the huge Auberge de Jeunesse, Centre de Rencontres Internationales (HI) , 1 av. Champollion, take bus #5 (or night bus A) from pi. Grangier to Epirey. ( 03 80 72 95 20; fax 03 80 70 00 61. Breakfast included. Dorms ‚15; singles ‚28. MCV.) Rue Amiral Boussin has charming cafes, while reasonably priced restaurants line rue Mongue. Fend for yourself at the supermarket in the basement of the Galeries Lafayette department store, 41 r. de la Lib-erte. (Open M-Sa8:15am-7:45pm.) Postal Code: 21000.
DAYTRIP FROM DIJON: BEAUNE. Wine has poured out of the well-touristed town of Beaune (pop. 24,000), just south of Dijon, for centuries. Surrounded by the famous Cote de Beaune vineyards, the town itself is packed with wineries offering free degustations (tastings). The largest of the cellars belongs to UPatriarche Pere et Fils, 5-7 r. du College, a 5km labyrinth of corridors packed with over four million bottles. (03 80 24 53 78. Open daily 9:30-ll:30am and 2-5pm. ‚9.) The tourist office, 1 r. de l’Hotel-Dieu, lists caves (cellars) that offer tours. (03 80 26 21 30; fax 03 80 26 21 39. Open mid-June to mid-Sept. M-Sa 9:30am-8pm, Su 10am-6pm; mid-Sept. to mid-June reduced hrs.) Trains run from Dijon (25min. 37 per day, ‚5.70).
ALSACE-LORRAINE AND FRANCHE-COMTE
As first prize in the endless Franco-German border wars, France’s northeastern frontier has had a long and bloody history. Heavily influenced by its tumultuous past, the entire region now maintains a fascinating blend of French and German in the local dialects, cuisine, and architecture. Alsace’s well-preserved towns offer half-timbered Bavarian houses flanking tiny crooked streets and canals, while Lorraine’s elegant cities spread to the west among wheat fields. In Franche-Comte, the Jura mountains offer some of France’s finest cross-country skiing.