Dijon: looking for gluten-free restaurants in the capital of Burgundy
Finally! The day arrived: August 7, 2017. The day of departure! We had been planning this trip for almost 8 months! Booking apartments and rooms, looking for supermarkets, things to see, changing reservations for other apartments that seemed to be better… until, finally, we had everything decided. Well, almost everything! You always have to leave something unplanned to make it more exciting.
The first trip in car together crossing 6 countries and visiting 12 different cities. In total, 5.000km. So exciting! We started in France, stopping at Dijon; to then drive up to Germany, stopping at Heidelberg, Rothenburg ob der Tauber and Munich; following towards Czech Republic to visit Prague; continuing through Austria, visiting Hallstatt, Gosau and Innsbruck; to go to the last country, Switzerland, where we would visit Schwyz, Brunnen, Lucerne, Zurich and Zermatt. In addition, we had planned a very balanced trip between cities and nature!
For a purely budgetary issue, we could not go many restaurants. In the posts about this trip apart from recommending where to eat, we will also recommend where to buy.
Taking advantage of the fact that the trunk of the Gluten Free Adventures car is prepared to make long routes, before starting our journey we went to buy the essentials for the first days. With the fridge and the drawers of the trunk full and the suitcase ready, we had everything set up to start the route!
At 4.50pm the alarm clock rang. It did not take us long to get up… actually, what was difficult was to fall asleep! We had around 800km (about 10h driving) to reach Dijon. Since we were supposed to spend only one night there, we wanted to arrive as early as possible so we could visit the city. With the car loaded and the sandwiches for lunch prepared, at the 5.30h we left the garage.
While crossing the border with France the sunrise started. Another item on the list of things we want to do together completed! As we were crossing the Junquera, we stopped at the service area for breakfast and refueling, since gas oil was about 20 cents more expensive in France than in Spain. Savings are always welcome in long trips!
The breakfast felt great. We had been driving for almost two hours and we were hungry since we woke up… we had prepared two chocolate brownies – each weighing half a kilo – that were supposed to last, at least until Rothenburg ob der Tauber. That was the initial idea! Luckily we also had cookies and cereals!
After overcoming the traffic jam in Lyon, one hour before arriving at Dijon, at around 1:30 p.m., we stopped at another service area for lunch. We had prepared some sandwiches of pâté and Iberian ham – Isa had brought half a kilo of Iberian ham and half of loin stuffed with vacuum packed in 100g packages – which were delicious. Also, since we were in a huge service area, we took the opportunity to walk a little before driving the last kilometers to Dijon.
ARRIVED! Even though we spent 11h on the road, it felt shorter! We had booked a studio – or room with a kitchen – right in the center of Dijon. In fact, we were in the historic center, where traffic is restricted. Luckily, having booked really in advance, we could also book one of the three parking spots they have in front of the Hotel City Loft.
Although small, the studio was quite good. A small kitchen with some cooking utensils and a decent bed.
We had everything studied to download from the car only what was necessary and as fast as possible! We took the luggage and one bag with what we would need to cook (we had a couple of pans, a saucepan, cutlery, soap … the basics) and, as soon as we got to the room, we put on our pajamas to take a good siesta!
When we woke up, after an hour, we went to visit the city. Apart from walking through the old streets of the city, see the Palace of the Dukes of Burgundy, the Liberation Square and other monuments and churches, our goal was to find the lucky owl that is near Notre Dame de Dijon.
When leaving the hotel, we already stood for a long time in front of buildings that seemed to be more than 500 years old, in the Rue de la Liberté. Continuing down that same street, we reached the Plaza de François Rude Bareuzai. Stunning! We loved the fountain, and the little terraces around the colorful houses that seemed to take forever. Amazing! And what a good atmosphere! We felt like sitting down for a drink or jumping in the carousel, but we wanted to see the city. Also, we had to find the owl!
With a map of that kind that helps you to get lost instead of knowing where you are, we found the street that led to Notre Dame. When we reached the church, we spent a good time looking for the owl between the portals and gargoyles of the church but we didn’t succeed. Finally, we gave up and we continued walking towards the back, to see the tower and the surrounding streets, all of them as old as the houses we had seen just outside the hotel. It was as if we had traveled back in time. We surrounded the church, going through the street where the lucky owl. We didn’t see it! Actually, we passed so close that it could have given us a peck!
After seeing a couple of other churches, we decided to get lost again through the streets and alleys of the old town. While we were walking, we were observing all the details of the old houses and imagined how was life when the houses were new. Probably much harder than we could imagine… or not! I do not know. But we loved dreaming about it!
While advancing, we noticed that every X meters, on the ground, there was a triangular sign with a very cute owl recorded. We started to follow these signs and we suddenly arrived to the Palace of the Dukes of Burgundy and the Liberation Square.
The square is spectacular, very wide, clean and new (it became pedestrian in 2006). Before it was part of the Palace of the Dukes. After the French Revolution it became a parade ground and it was given the current name at the end of the Second World War. Lovely! And it should be even more beautiful at Christmas, with typical cozy markets and lights.
After resting for a while in the square, we followed again the signs of the owl to the Church of Saint-Philibert. We never stopped seeing the owl signs… this encouraged us to keep looking for it.
It was close to eight o’clock and fatigue began to take its toll. Also, we had been walking for quite a while and it was very hot… Before returning to the studio, we decided to try to find the owl again.
On the way to Notre Damme, we walked in front of La Vie Saine (at 29, rue de Musette), a supermarket specializing selling organic products. From the outside, we could read a backlit sign that indicated they had gluten-free products. Without thinking we went to see what they had. Ordered by brands, they had all kinds of products: cookies, pasta, bread, flour, cereals, etc.
Being the first day, we did not buy anything because we brought everything from Spain.
In any case, if you go to Dijon and look for a gluten free restaurant, the tourist office recommends these options:
- Le Petit Marché Restaurant Bio (27 rue de Musette). It is part of La Vie Saine.
- Dents de Loup (44 Rue des Gordans).
- Les Treize Lucioles (13 Place Emile Zola).
NOTE: Considering the bad reputation that France has for eating gluten free and the bad experience I had the last time I was in Paris, we were not very convinced. I wish we were wrong! We recommend you to have with you the celiac travel card in french.
After seeing the supermarket, we continued with our mission: finding the magic owl. Bordering Notre Dame again in the same direction, on the left side, we saw a group of people looking at one of the corners. It was there! After seeing it, now I understand why we missed it. Small and worn makes it a bit difficult to find the magic owl. If you are going to look for it, you will find it in the middle of the Rue de la Chouette (The Street of the Owl).
Mission accomplished! We could go to prepare dinner!
That day we had one of our favorite dishes: avocado salad with tomato and tinned tuna (it’s the only fish I can eat, the rest literally kill me) and sausages with scrambled eggs. Easy, good and quick to prepare!
Before going to sleep, we still had some energy left to go for a night walk through the old town to see the streets lit at night and take some more pictures. What a change! There was almost nobody on the street…
The next day, although not so early, we had to get up early again. Next destination: Heidelberg, Germany!
You can see the pictures of the trip here.
BY CLICKING ON THE MAP OF GLUTEN FREE RESTAURANTS YOU FILL SEE ALL RESTAURANTS WE DESCRIBED IN THIS POST LOCATED IN THE MAP OF GLUTEN-FREE PLACES:
AND HERE WE LEAVE THE CELIAC TRAVEL CARD IN FRENCH:
P.S.: Please keep in mind that in this blog I share my trips, anecdotes and experiences about gluten free travel around the world. It is possible that, in any of my trips, I go to some restaurant not trained by the associations where the risk of being contaminated with gluten exists. I kindly ask you to also take into account that the list of references can change. Please, always double check before eating in the restaurants we recommend. Thank you very much!
TO NOT MISS ANY OF OUR POSTS, WE INVITE YOU TO SUBSCRIBE TO OUR NEWSLETTER!