Transcript for Episode 375: Get Ready to Visit Dijon, France!

Table of Contents for this Episode

Category: Burgundy Area

[00:00:0] Get Ready for Your Visit to Dijon!

[00:00:00] Annie Sargent: This is Join Us in France episode 375 trois cent soixante quinze. Bonjour, I’m Annie Sargent and Join Us in France is the podcast where we talk about France. Everyday life in France. Great places to visit in France, French culture, history, gastronomy, and news related to travel during the pandemic. Today, I bring you a conversation with Elyse Rivin of Toulouse guided walks about the beautiful city of Dijon. Of course, there’s the mustard, the gorgeous roofs made of varnished tiles, some of them, Burgundy wines, crême de cassis, and the great Dukes of burgundy. What’s not to love? Let’s talk about it and put it on the map for you just in case you’re getting ready to visit Dijon.

[00:01:08] Annie Sargent: After the interview, we’ll have the French tip of the week and an update on what’s happening in France, as well as travel news.

[00:01:17] Annie Sargent: This podcast is supported by donors and listeners who buy my tours and services, including my very popular itinerary planning service. You can browse all of that at Annie’s boutique

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[00:01:57] Annie Sargent: Bonjour Elyse !

[00:02:15] Elyse Rivin: Bonjour Annie !

[00:02:16] Annie Sargent: We are talking about Dijon today and not only the mustard, although the mustard is very important.

[00:02:23] Elyse Rivin: Yes. Yes. We’re not talking only about the mustard.

[00:02:29] Annie Sargent: Right.

[00:02:29] The Impact of the TGV between Dijon and Paris

[00:02:29] Elyse Rivin: Dijon is 310 kilometers from Paris southeast. And it’s 190 kilometers north of Lyon. It’s actually the ancient capital of the kingdom of burgundy. And, uh, talk a little bit about that in a few minutes. It’s really the economic center of the region.

[00:02:52] Annie Sargent: It’s also a place where you can get to very quickly from Paris on the TGV, It’s very fast. And so as a result, now that we all telecommute more, there are a lot of people who work in Paris, but live in Dijon because they only go to Paris for a few days out of the month for work for meetings or whatever. And they don’t even have to live in Paris anymore with the TGV.

[00:03:16] Elyse Rivin: I guess that’s true. There are lots of places, like people live in Bordeaux and work in Paris because there’s a train that takes them there in a little over two hours.

[00:03:25] Annie Sargent: Now with the new economy, it’s really important because you can have a much bigger house in the Dijon and you could in Paris on the same salary.

[00:03:34] Elyse Rivin: Well, I, Yes. And I would assume that that’s true in most places. Although Bordeaux is now getting up there because so many people want to do that.

[00:03:44] Elyse Rivin: Dijon is actually famous. And part of the reason it’s famous is because of its association with very wonderful things to eat and drink. Which is a good reason for it to be famous!

[00:03:56] Annie Sargent: I would say so. Yes.

[00:03:58] Elyse Rivin: But also because it is so much a part of the history. The real rich history of France as a country. But, what’s interesting is that, people think of Beaune I think when they think of Burgundy wines,

[00:04:14] Annie Sargent: That’s true.

[00:04:15] Elyse Rivin: Partly I think because of this famous auction that is held, I do you know when?

[00:04:21] Annie Sargent: I think it’s in October.

[00:04:24] Elyse Rivin: At the Hospices de Beaune. Exactly.

[00:04:27] Annie Sargent: I think it’s October.

[00:04:28] Elyse Rivin: I think you’re right. I mean it’s in the fall. Because it’s usually after the vendanges the harvest. Thank you. the harvest. But what people don’t realize I think is that Dijon is really the economic and administrative capital of the whole region.

[00:04:44] Annie Sargent: And it’s also gorgeous.

[00:04:46] The Medium Sized City of Dijon

[00:04:46] Elyse Rivin: And it’s gorgeous. Now it’s a small to medium-sized city, depending on what your definition is. There are about 157,000 people there.

[00:04:57] Annie Sargent: Well, that makes it a good size city for France because France doesn’t have megalopolis type of cities anyway. Even Paris is not that big. If you compare it to capitals in Africa or in asia, Paris is teeny by comparison.

[00:05:14] Elyse Rivin: You’re right. And France is a country of many medium-sized cities. And so Dijon has, it has a certain aura about it. And, uh, one of the things that people should know if they have never been there, but if they may have seen pictures, perhaps of Beaune, or if they’ve stopped in Beaune, which you can actually do both if you’re in that, in that area.

[00:05:37] Dijon Roofs: “tuiles vernissées”

[00:05:37] Elyse Rivin: Is that one of the reasons why the old ancient medieval section of Dijon is beautiful is because of Flemish architecture. If you go to Beaune, you see that on the roof of Beaune , and it’s typical, it’s tiles that are colorful and that have patterns. Very steep roofs, and very colorful flattened tiles that are usually in yellow red and black, I think, is the other color. Very different from the rooftops you will see anywhere else in France.

[00:06:10] Annie Sargent: Are the roofs made of a different material? Is it like a glazed material?

[00:06:14] Elyse Rivin: There are different tiles, they’re tiles. But they’re tiles that come from a style that was originated in Flanders. And Flanders is, if people don’t know that, it’s now a part of Belgium.

[00:06:30] Annie Sargent: Oh, I see one. So they do these patterns and it’s like green, red and black. Yes. It’s gorgeous. Yeah.

[00:06:39] Elyse Rivin: Yeah. And this is typical of the old medieval city center of Dijon. Like it is with the rooftops of Beaune because at the moment in history when Burgundy was actually a separate kingdom, it owned Flanders and parts of the Netherlands. And it happens that at that particular time, the money was in Burgundy but the artists were in Flanders

[00:07:07] Annie Sargent: And somehow, they found each other.

[00:07:09] Elyse Rivin: They found each other. Right. So, what they did was they brought the architects and the artists actually from the north, from Flanders. At the time it was all one big mishmash up there anyway. And they brought these artists to Dijon and then two other smaller areas that were a part of the kingdom of Burgundy.

[00:07:29] Elyse Rivin: And they are the ones that designed all of these rooftops and buildings, Which is why it has such a distinct kind of, uh, architecture.

[00:07:37] Annie Sargent: Interesting!

[00:07:37] Dijon: Perfect for Growing Wine and Mustard

[00:07:37] Elyse Rivin: So Dijon is basically one of the reasons it became very, important is because it is in the heart of the wine growing area or in the northern end of it. We could say it’s really a northern end. And it turns out doing some research that this is part of an area of France that is extremely rich soil and very, very propitious for growing grape vines. and for mustard.

[00:08:07] Annie Sargent: How nice

[00:08:08] Elyse Rivin: Mustard, which actually, I don’t know if you’ve ever noticed is a weed that grows along the roads here in the summertime.

[00:08:17] Annie Sargent: Right. And mustard is famous in France among French gardeners as a great crop to plant in between. So if you have a garden that you’ve been planting every year. They say plant mustard and then just till it under and that it will replenish the soil naturally.

[00:08:38] Elyse Rivin: Oh, I did not know that but I do know having done this a couple of times, once someone finally pointed out to me what a mustard plant looks like, and it grows along the roads and in the countryside around. If you take it and chew on the, even on the leaves, it tastes like mustard. It’s amazing. It’s mustard.

[00:08:57] Mustard Doesn’t Just Come from a Jar

[00:08:57] Annie Sargent: It’s mustard who knew? Who knew that mustard does not come from a jar?

[00:09:01] Elyse Rivin: It doesn’t come from a jar. Really, really. Anyway, Dijon is a very wealthy, small city and it’s very dynamic and it has a very beautiful, not very big, but very, very beautiful old city center.

[00:09:16] Dijon Gastronomy: Crême de Cassis, Escargots de Bourgogne, Époisses and Boeuf Bourguignon

[00:09:16] Elyse Rivin: So if you’re going to go to Dijon. And my recommendation is having spent two weekends there, two different times two different times. It’s a great place to stay. Right in the city. There are lots of places to stay you know, hotels and I’m sure, now there are Airbnbs and things like that. And you can actually venture out into the countryside from there to see beautiful little villages and even do some wine tastings and things like that.

[00:09:42] Annie Sargent: Probably with a car.

[00:09:44] Elyse Rivin: Definitely with a car, you can get to the city without a car, as you mentioned with the train. But of course, if you’re going to go to the countryside, you really do need to have a car. But in the city of Dijon, it’s famous for its beautiful city center. It’s famous for a few of its buildings and it’s famous for being a place that has wonderful restaurants.

[00:10:05] Elyse Rivin: So we’ve already mentioned mustard and of course, Burgundy wines in general, which includes a long stretch that goes about 250 kilometers north, south, all the way down to south of the town of Macon. And among other things, it’s also where crême de cassis is produced.

[00:10:24] Annie Sargent: Ooh. So that’s a, what would you call that in English? It’s sweet wine

[00:10:30] Elyse Rivin: I would say it’s a liqueur. I, I’m not sure what the definition of liqueur is exactly, but that’s what I would call it.

[00:10:37] Annie Sargent: Yeah It’s a cooked wine I think

[00:10:41] Elyse Rivin: It’s very sweet.

[00:10:41] Annie Sargent: Extremely sweet.

[00:10:42] Elyse Rivin: Not very strong

[00:10:44] Annie Sargent: Correct. And, and you just, you can add it to lots of stuff .You add it to white wine, or you add some to champagne and it’s delicious.

[00:10:55] Elyse Rivin: And it’s delicious.

[00:10:57] Elyse Rivin: Crême de Cassis and cassis is black current. And, the Dijon area is also famous for snails, and for a couple of very strong cheeses, which I had once mentioned in one of my Patrion episodes. And one of them being époisse s. People love it. People absolutely love it.

[00:11:16] Annie Sargent: People other than Annie Sargent love it.

[00:11:18] Elyse Rivin: And Boeuf Bourguignon, made with Burgundy.

[00:11:22] Annie Sargent: Well, okay. This is where I think it’s silly. Cause burgundy wine is usually pretty expensive and if you’re just going to cook with it, they just use whatever cheaper wine from the Corbières or somewhere

[00:11:36] Elyse Rivin: Just don’t tell anybody about it. you know,

[00:11:39] Annie Sargent: It’s it’s red wine, whatever.

[00:11:42] Rue Verrerie and the Duke’s Palace

[00:11:42] Elyse Rivin: But it is a fact that people will say, if you’re going to go to Dijon, You must go to eat in certain restaurants because it is famous that this town and the region around that is really considered to be one of those places in a country that’s famous for food, Dijon is considered to be a great place to eat. So if you’re going to stay there, the ancient city center, there’s a wonderful street called Rue Verrerie.

[00:12:09] Elyse Rivin: Which is, a walking street, a pedestrian street. And it has a huge collection of really beautiful old houses from the 1400 and 1500 that have been very carefully preserved. They’ve, they’ve kept this street specifically so that you get an idea of how beautiful and prosperous Dijon was at the moment when it was at its height, which was basically the 14th and 15th centuries. That’s a bit of a time ago, but still it’s kept, it’s kept its reputation and there is a building that is absolutely beautiful called the Duke’s Palace. Which a good part of it, not all of it, dates from that time period and in the Duke’s Palace, which is a huge palace, that’s kind of U shaped palace it’s fronted with the Place de la Libération Libération which is a very big semicircular square. I think that’s ridiculous to say but there you are.

[00:13:04] The Dijon Fine Arts Museum

[00:13:04] Elyse Rivin: Plaza. thank you. One part of Duke’s palace is now the, courthouse and the other part is a wonderful, fine arts museum. And, I found out the other day because I have not been back in a number of years that just recently got uh, beautiful a facelift.

[00:13:26] Elyse Rivin: And the inside has totally been renovated and modernized, and it’s very, very beautiful. And it is one of the best outside of Paris, fine art museums in France. And it has everything really, Uh, even though it’s not that huge, it has excellent things that start from the beginning. Really. way back, Meaning, you know, I guess you can say, I think Roman times, but I’m not quite sure they have how much they have of that, but all through the various stages of the different centuries of the middle ages, up through the 19th century and the 20th century, and they have excellent work, they have sculpture and painting and, , beautiful pieces.

[00:14:07] Elyse Rivin: And I remember. From the very first time I went to visit it when the collection was famous, but the building was creaky and old and kind of musty. That, that the museum impressed me in spite of the condition it was in. And so I’ve been back since then, and now it’s even better because it’s more modern and it’s been air conditioned inside and all of that kind of stuff.

[00:14:29] Elyse Rivin: Very nice. Yeah. So it’s just, it’s not a specialized museum. It’s kind of a broad art museum.

[00:14:35] Elyse Rivin: Right. It’s What if you, if you get to smaller cities, it’s true in, in Montpellier also for the Fabre museum. It’s a museum that has a little of everything starting from the oldest art imaginable, going all the way up to really contemporary work, because these are cities that are not big enough to have a separate museum for each time period.

[00:14:58] Abbaye Saint-Bénigne and the Archeology Museum

[00:14:58] Elyse Rivin: But it’s got an excellent collection and it’s really a wonderful museum to visit. There’s also a very good archeology museum in Dijon. That really is good. It’s not that big, but it’s very good. And the archeology museum is in the ancient Abbaye Saint-Bénigne. And Saint-Bénigne and I’m not even sure if I’m pronouncing it right, because it’s B E N I G N who’s the patron Saint of Dijon. And he, was uh, supposed to have been the person to have Christianized the area way back second century, third century, something like that. And so he is the patron Saint and the first and oldest Abbey and monastery only which part of which is still standing, is dedicated to him. And it is inside this Abbey that, uh, there is a very, very good archeology museum,

[00:15:56] Annie Sargent: I think I would Abbaye Saint-Bénigne. Yeah.

[00:16:00] The Towers of Dijon

[00:16:00] Elyse Rivin: It’s odd. The spelling of it, huh? Yeah. And then there’s, there are a couple of pieces are still standing the date from really ancient, like when city of Dijon was surrounded by walls. The earliest you know, settlements and things like that, two towers, and that’s all that’s left of the really ancient Dijon which was a walled city for a very, very long time.

[00:16:23] Elyse Rivin: But once you get to what is called the Renaissance, there are no longer these ramparts around the city. I mean, they’d been destroyed by then. So there is just these two pieces left and one of them is called the St. Nicholas tower. And it is one of the last vestiges of that particular part of the history of Dijon.

[00:16:41] Museum of Burgundy Life

[00:16:41] Elyse Rivin: There’s also a museum of burgundy life, which is really nice. I saw some pictures online. I’ve never been there, but I think I would like to go, it’s a kind of ethnology museum and it talks about the history of wine and it talks about the history of the customs and the food and things like that.

[00:16:57] Elyse Rivin: There’s a very beautiful park called parc Darcy, which has a lot of sculpture in it and a big, beautiful, a small lake. And, it’s the park of Dijon. So if you go there in a warm weather and you want to have a place to sit and relax and chill out, it’s a really great place to go.

[00:17:15] Place de la Libération

[00:17:15] Elyse Rivin: The Place de la Libération which is this big plaza and that’s in front of the Duke’s palace, was renovated recently. It’s very, very big. Interestingly enough, it was the site of, of fairly dramatic event and reading about it actually, was I don’t know if the correct thing to say is whether I was shocked or surprised.

[00:17:39] Elyse Rivin: Dijon, unfortunately, was occupied by the Germans for over four years. It was in the zone that was very quickly taken over, along with Paris, you know, in that kind of oblique line that, that kind of cut across. And it was really, a city that was under the boot for a very, very long time. And when the city was liberated, The man who had, been the préfet, which I think we’ve talked about this before. I never know exactly how to explain in English what a préfet.

[00:18:11] The Role of the Préfet in France

[00:18:11] Annie Sargent: This is something that Napoleon put in place. It is the representative of the executive from Paris into each department. So a today a Préfet represents the president of France in each department. But of course, some Préfets are more important than others.

[00:18:35] Annie Sargent: So in our department, we have the Haute Garonne, which has a Préfet. You have the Aude, which has a Préfet, each department has a Préfet, there’s always one that’s the top one. So in a, in our area, the Préfet de la Haute Garonne is the one who would represent the Président in official function. And they also do a lot of kind of police type things, a lot of paperwork type things. That was even stronger under Napoleon. Now those sorts of missions have been given out to other services, but, Préfet is kind of it’s the executive representative of the President locally.

[00:19:20] Lynching the Préfet for Collaboration with the Nazis

[00:19:20] Elyse Rivin: So at the moment of the liberation of Dijon. Which was a big deal because there had been two rafles, which is a word that describes when they uh, gather up many people to deport them, to send them to the concentration camps. Dijon was a city that really suffered enormously during world war II and it’s Préfet had been a member of the Vichy government who had been really pro Nazi and who had been responsible for much of the massacring and the horrible things that happened. As soon as the city was liberated, he was lynched publicly, on this square, on the Place de la Libération.

[00:20:01] Elyse Rivin: And the description of It’s pretty amazing. I mean, he was really basically attacked by a crowd of people. And this did not happen very often in France.

[00:20:14] Elyse Rivin: It really did not. And this is, uh, when, when you read about the history of Dijon in the 20th century, they talk about this a lot because the people really needed to take their revenge on this man. Apparently he was awful. Absolutely awful.

[00:20:30] Annie Sargent: Did they kill him?

[00:20:30] Elyse Rivin: Yep, They killed him They killed him in the way that, not quite as awful as they did in the middle ages, but oh, almost, I mean, they actually killed him and then just had him on public display for awhile. I mean, they that’s how bad it was. I mean, that’s much hate, there was against him here.

[00:20:47] Annie Sargent: Well, you can understand. would have been probably better to just put them in jail, but okay.

[00:20:53] Elyse Rivin: Yep. I mean, it is one of the few major cities in France where it’s public information and that was, it was. You can find pictures of it on the internet.

[00:21:02] Félix Kir: Monk, Communist Resistant and Mayor

[00:21:02] Elyse Rivin: And, and interestingly enough, that leads to something that has a more pleasant aspect to it, which is that one of the most important members of the resistance, I do not believe took part in this, but who knows? Was a monk or fryer whose name was, Kir. His last name was Kir K I R. Chanoine Kir. And he was a hero of the resistance. He was a member communist resistance during world war II and then became a politician, even though he was a friar.

[00:21:37] Have You Ever Had a Kir or a Kir Royal?

[00:21:37] Elyse Rivin: And because he was someone who did a lot of good for the city of Dijon immediately after world war II. This drink was created in his honor. And that is the drink that we know as Kir. So we drink to him today!

[00:21:52] Annie Sargent: So we drink to him today.

[00:21:55] Elyse Rivin: And if those of you out there don’t know what Kir is, it’s either white wine. It’s usually white wine with Crême de Cassis. I don’t know if you can call it the same thing if you use champagne. I’m not, I’m not

[00:22:06] Elyse Rivin: No, if you use champagne, it’s a Kir Royal.

[00:22:08] Elyse Rivin: Royal Uh, Royal, there, there you go. Royal Kir.

[00:22:13] Annie and the Kir. Or a Guinness Perhaps?

[00:22:13] Annie Sargent: I have to tell you a silly story, but a true story that happened when I was a kid. Well, I was in quatrième. So how old was I? Probably 13, 14 .And back then I joined a handball club for one season and I was terrible at it. I was really, really bad at it. But my handball practice was an hour after school and that wasn’t quite enough time to go home and then come back.

[00:22:43] Annie Sargent: Cause it was in the, in my school gymnasium that this club was practicing. So I had an hour to kill and I decided to go to the local bar, which was right across from the junior high. And I would order a Kir. And they always give it to me. I was about 14 .

[00:23:04] Annie Sargent: I really hope they would not do that anymore, but Kir was really cheap.

[00:23:10] Annie Sargent: Because back then I didn’t drink coffee. I didn’t drink, uh, you know, tea, whatever. So it was either sodas or juices or Kir.

[00:23:21] Elyse Rivin: How did You get the idea of asking for a Kir?

[00:23:25] Annie Sargent: Probably because that’s one of the few drinks my mother liked.

[00:23:28] Elyse Rivin: Did you know it was alcohol?

[00:23:30] Annie Sargent: Of course I did. Everybody knows that. But it’s still a glass of wine. And when you’re 14, you should not be doing that. And the cafe owner should not be serving you that, but there you go. That’s France. When was that? That was the seventies. That was the late seventies.

[00:23:47] Elyse Rivin: I don’t know what to say!. I I can Just imagine the slew of 13, 14 year olds going into a cafe and asking, standing with their elbows at the counter and saying, let me have my Kir today, you

[00:24:01] Annie Sargent: Yeah That I, it did not happen very often because I quit the handball very quickly. It was not good. I But you know what? That, at that same time, soon after or before, I can’t remember it’s fuzzy in my head, but I went to Ireland and with a group of French kids and we were touring Ireland. It was a summer camp thing just in Ireland and every little village, every little place we went to had a Pub. And they served Guinness to whoever wanted Guinness.

[00:24:38] Annie Sargent: I tried it once. Hated it, never asked for it again. But Kir was a lot more pleasant like it was sweet and lovely.

[00:24:46] Elyse Rivin: That’s true. It’s not quite the same as Guinness And Guinness, I think is probably as strong as a Kir in alcohol.

[00:24:54] Annie Sargent: In the seventies in Europe, people are not real careful of who they served alcohol to. It’s a little better, but still not as uptight as most places in America, let’s put it that way.

[00:25:05] Elyse Rivin: I don’t know what to say. Kir is a drink that, of course, everybody does drink as an aperitif in France. I happen to love it too. And, uh, it is thanks to this, Mr. Kir, who was a hero of uh, the resistance of world war II in Dijon. And that is why it is associated with Dijon

[00:25:25] .

[00:25:25] The Story of Mustard in Dijon

[00:25:25] Elyse Rivin: Now. The history of Dijon is really interesting. It really was for several centuries. One of the wealthiest cities in all of France. Now it’s got a certain modest reputation and of course it is much more connected to, wines, to food, to a certain idea of culture and, and history. But I thought I would. Tell a little bit about the story of mustard, because it is kind of fun. I mean, um, now I know out there you can start to get a little bit like, oh yeah, she’s going to talk to us going to get about the Romans and then this and that’s. Well, unfortunately this time, yeah, guys, I’m going to tell you, it was the Romans who brought mustard seed plants to Gaule.

[00:26:08] Elyse Rivin: But the Romans were Epicureans. And they loved very spicy and very flavorful food. So they wanted to make sure with their anxiety about all of this, that they’ve had it wherever they went. And so besides bringing grapevines they brought mustard, seed plants, because mustard was one of the spices that was used in making their very rich sauces. And the region around Dijon, which is an area that is very fertile. They discovered that they could just throw the seeds. And as you mentioned, it just grows. I It mustard just grows.

[00:26:44] Elyse Rivin: And so starting very early on, mustard was used as a spice, but. It was in Dijon when it was the kingdom of Burgundy that somebody, and nobody knows exactly who, tried making a sauce or what you could call a spread. I mean, now what we call as a condiment really you by crushing the mustard seeds and adding vinegar, nobody knows who invented this to begin with, but it was something that apparently everyone loved immediately.

[00:27:16] The Confrérie of Mustard Producers

[00:27:16] Elyse Rivin: And it became such an important product, that it was actually a source of riches for people who produced it and who shifted out to all over the French kingdom and the Northern countries. And I don’t know if they use mustard in Spain, but England, for sure. And so it really became a part of their commerce.

[00:27:36] Elyse Rivin: So much so that they created what the French called a Confrérie. Now we have Confrérie of everything in France. So you have cheese confrérie and wine confrérie. It’s like a brotherhood. It’s like a special organization. If you’re a member of it, it means you’re one of the people who create this thing. You wear a special robe. that usually have a special parade one day a year with silly stuff like that. you know, But, but the function of the confrérie was to really control the quality of the product. And in order to be a member of it, you had to prove that you could make this mustard sauce, you know, uh, according to the rules that they had.

[00:28:19] Annie Sargent: Right, right. But okay. Being a little bit cynical, it was also about keeping certain people out. So confrérie, not everybody could be a member of the confrérie. If you were a Jew, if you were a, from like a different country, uh, they wouldn’t let you in. Or a female for heaven, sakes, female, they wouldn’t let you in. And so confrérie the idea was for a long, long time. I don’t know if it’s still true. Maybe it is. To keep certain people out. So it guarantees the quality of the work, but it’s also dude, move on, do something else with your life. We don’t want you here.

[00:28:55] Elyse Rivin: First of all, I don’t think in the 11 hundreds and 12 hundreds women were members of any kind of guild like that. I mean, it just didn’t exist in general in society in Western Europe. Yes, they would keep people out, but I think it was more from an economic point of view. It’s like limit the number of people who do this because we want to make sure we make enough money. That kind of thing. I don’t think… You know, I think in that sense, it’s more like the idea of a guild.

[00:29:19] Elyse Rivin: But what they did do was that they insisted that if it was going to be known as mustard from Dijon, which is where all of this was really produced, that it had a specific stamp on the bottom of the jar that the mustard was put in. And then for some reason, in the early 13 hundreds, one of the members of this confrérie or guild of the mustard makers. He decided to try something new and he decided to, instead of using vinegar to mix the, these crushed mustard seeds with wine mash.

[00:29:57] Marc de Raisin

[00:29:57] Elyse Rivin: In French, we call it the ma rc which is the the sediment, of wine that you get when you do the crushing of the grapes, you see. And it created a new recipe that apparently took hold so much so that even the king of France asked for 24 barrels or jars or whatever it was at the time of this particular new mustard and this superseded the old recipe for mustard and became the official mustard of Dijon. So really mustard of Dijon. And to this day, what’s really interesting is that from that point on it made some of these merchants super rich because it was such a hit everywhere in Europe because of adding in this wine mash.

[00:30:44] Elyse Rivin: And so what happened was it changed the nature of the recipe, to this day, if you really want to have mustard that is Dijon mustard, it has to have wine in it. It has to otherwise it’s legally not considered to be mustard from Dijon.

[00:31:01] Annie Sargent: But does it have to have wine in it or a

[00:31:04] Elyse Rivin: It wine mash I mean, it’s the residue,

[00:31:08] Annie Sargent: It’s a wine

[00:31:09] Elyse Rivin: It’s a wine byproduct.

[00:31:10] The Four Dukes of Burgundy

[00:31:10] Elyse Rivin: Exactly what it is, but here’s the story and it’s cute. It’s silly, but it’s cute. Okay. From the early 13 hundreds until almost the end of the 14 hundreds was the period of the glorious time of the history of Burgundy. And it was the time of what is known as the four Dukes of Burgundy.

[00:31:27] Elyse Rivin: And the Dukes of Burgundy were basically first cousins of the king of France. And this has been going on for centuries and centuries. In other words, they all came from the same lineage and for centuries, these were the descendants of the King’s brother, the Kings first cousin. So they were really blood relatives of the king of France, but they had their own separate kingdom, which went way back to the eight hundreds at the time of Charlemagne.

[00:31:56] Elyse Rivin: And one of the Dukes, the very first one of these famous four Dukes, it was name was Philippe le Bon. Phillip the good. That I love it when they all have these little nicknames attached to their, first name. The story is, this is what they know. It was known as an apocryphal story, right?

[00:32:13] Elyse Rivin: This is in the early 13 hundreds. At this point, this is when they’re allied with England fighting against France. Because the Dukes of Burgundy claim the throne of France as blood relatives of the king. And they’re fighting to capture Flanders and the Netherlands to add it to their own kingdom, which is actually considered a separate kingdom. And so Philippe le Bon goes into battle all the time. And then I’m telling you, this is a story. I know it’s a little silly, but this is the story. And I think it’s really cute. Okay. And apparently one day in battle, he’s on his horse in this battle and he cries out

[00:32:51] Elyse Rivin: Le moût, moutarde ! And the moût moutarde means he can’t wait to get home so he can drink some of this wine mash, basically. That’s what this story and that from there. The soldiers that fought with him were called the Moutardiers.

[00:33:08] Elyse Rivin: And that eventually the word got shortened so that instead of le moût moutarde, it’s simply became moutarde and the moutarde became associated with the Dukes of Burgundy. And that is why they gave the name to this product now. this is a very silly story.

[00:33:26] Elyse Rivin: But I think it’s really cute.

[00:33:28] Annie Sargent: Now it is a reality that in France you can buy and Moût is spelled M O U with a circumflex on it and a T at the end. It has a very distinctive flavor. It’s very good. And you can only find it at kind of fine stores. I don’t think a regular grocery store would carry it.

[00:33:50] Elyse Rivin: Maybe a few of them that have nice exotic products maybe, that, but

[00:33:55] Annie Sargent: I’ve had it many times. Yeah, back a few years back, I had a card that let me into the restaurant supply store. I lost it. But, at the restaurant store. You could get moutarde au moût de raisin and it was really delicious.

[00:34:15] Annie Sargent: It has a very distinctive flavor. It’s not as spicy, but it’s very good. I will try and find some. Now you’ve put an idea in my head.

[00:34:22] Elyse Rivin: Well actually, what you’re describing is the, authentic mustard of Dijon. Now we have major food companies that produce jars of mustard. That’s called. The name is, is a name that’s generic, D mustard from Dijon, Dijon mustard. I mean, you go to any supermarket and you’ll see lots of different jars of different brands that all say Dijon mustard. But that is actually not mustard made in Dijon. And not necessarily made with the real formula of mustard from Dijon.

[00:34:57] Elyse Rivin: There is such a thing since 2009, there was actually an AOP of mustard and it has to be stamped that it is mustard from Burgundy.

[00:35:07] Elyse Rivin: And that is the mustard that you obviously tasted, uh, because that is the only one that is legitimately the mustard of Dijon.

[00:35:16] Annie Sargent: Interesting. That must be why it’s hard to find because maybe the production is smaller and they don’t distribute in big grocery stores because they just don’t make enough.

[00:35:28] Elyse Rivin: I would again, I would guess that that’s it.

[00:35:31] Annie Sargent: Maybe there’s not enough vendors who make that specific stamped approved product and you can’t find it everywhere.

[00:35:39] Elyse Rivin: Well, I would think also it’s that perhaps that taste has changed over the time. So that now, I mean, I have two jars of what this called mustard from Dijon and in my house.

[00:35:49] Elyse Rivin: It never dawned on me to look to see if it was actually made in Dijon or not, but most of them are not made in Dijon anymore. It’s simply a recipe that started in Dijon. And if you want, Dijon, really from there you have to see that it has the stamp on it. This is really what it says.

[00:36:06] Where to Buy Genuine Dijon Mustard in Paris

[00:36:06] Annie Sargent: Right. So we did a, we did an episode a while back about kitchen supply stores Paris (Episode 243) and one of the stores, and I think it was G. Detou, has a bunch of different Dijon mustards. They have different brands, small producers, all sorts of different ones. So if you’re in Paris and you would like to purchase some interesting mustards to give as a gift, that’s a good place to go.

[00:36:34] Annie Sargent: If you do that, make sure to put in your checked luggage because they will throw it away if it’s in your carry on. Yeah. But, so there are a lot of these kind of specialty mustards made by small producers that nobody ever heard of, but. I’m sure I really good. I’ve haven’t dried them all. I’ve tried just a few and they taste very good.

[00:36:55] Annie Sargent: And it’s really interesting how there’s different ways to spice up food. You know, you have the horse radish, which is not a tradition in France. We don’t really do a lot of horseradish products. And then you have the wasabi in Japan. But maybe Wasabi has made out of the same plant as horseradish? I’m not sure. Anyway, there’s all these different kind of concoctions that spice up food that are really interesting to use as condiments. Obviously you can’t eat wasabi, you know, like that, but, uh, but it’s delicious when you mix it a little bit with other things

[00:37:29] Elyse Rivin: What’s interesting is that it is a fact that French cooking is not particularly spicy. And, and so Dijon mustard is pretty much as spicy or hot as you get in, in terms of a condiment in France. And now of course, in the stores, you have strong semi strong, I mean, forte, mi-forte, and then douce for even what is known as Dijon mustard. Mustard is a condiment that’s used by everyone in France, basically. But it’s not known because it’s hot. Like, you know, other countries have hot spices and things like that.

[00:38:03] Mustard with Fries in France

[00:38:03] Annie Sargent: Yeah. So in France it is traditional also to have mustard with your fries.

[00:38:09] Elyse Rivin: Yes.

[00:38:09] Annie Sargent: Not ketchup with fries, but mustard with fries. And if you ask for mustard, if you order something that comes with fries and you ask for mustard, it will feel completely natural. You know, if you ask for ketchup, they’ll bring it to you as well. But the traditional way in France is mustard. And the traditional way in Belgium is with mayonnaise.

[00:38:35] Elyse Rivin: So just to finish off this story about mustard and the time period, the, as I mentioned, that mustard has came into its own. If you would want to call it that and became a source of great riches for the people in Dijon and, and in the region of burgundy, starting basically in the 12 hundreds, but specifically.

[00:38:55] The Dukes of Burgundy Going After the Kingdom of France

[00:38:55] Elyse Rivin: Basically from the thirties, let’s say from 1300 to almost 1500 on. And it happens that this is it coincides with what is known as the glorious period of history of Dijon as the capital of the Kingdom of Burgundy and of Burgundy itself with this famous four Dukes. I don’t even think I would be capable of following the lineage to know exactly who’s related to who and what degree of cousin they are. But because this was going on for centuries where basically, they all intermarried. What I did learn was that the Dukes of a Burgundy, mostly intermarried with English royalty to make sure that they had rivalry, you know, with a French royalty.

[00:39:37] Elyse Rivin: So they sometimes intermarried with their cousins who were the French Royal family, but most of them went off to England. The reason being, that way they would have a political ally to the west of France, because the only thing that they had in mind for several centuries, the Dukes of Burgundy was to take over the kingdom of France because they assume that they should be the rightful inheritors of the throne.

[00:40:02] Philip the Good, John the Fearless, Philip the Generous, and Charles the Reckless

[00:40:02] Elyse Rivin: And all of this came to a culmination, if you want to call it that, under the period of what is known as the four great Dukes of Burgundy. The first one was Philip the good. The second one was John the Fearless. The third one was Philippe the Generous. So this is his grandson. Yeah, I know it’s rare, but you never know. And his. son Was Charles the Reckless. And the entire history of burgundy, all ended because of Charles the reckless.

[00:40:39] Annie Sargent: He was reckless.

[00:40:39] Elyse Rivin: Because he was reckless. Because what he did was he decided in obviously under conditions that were clearly not prudent once, you know, to take on the duke of Lorraine, who was, a, an ally of the king of France.

[00:40:55] Elyse Rivin: He was constantly fighting. He was fighting in Flanders. He was fighting in Spain. He was fighting in uh, Alsace.I mean, part of the kingdom of Burgundy at that time was, uh, parts of Belgium, parts of the Picardie. In other words they had basically taken over the stretch of what is now France north of Paris, going all the way up into the Netherlands.

[00:41:17] Elyse Rivin: This all belong to the kingdom of burgundy. Actually, and even encroaching on the Western edge of parts of Germany on the Rhine. So it was a huge and extremely wealthy, the wealthiest kingdom at the time in Western Europe, actually. Richer and more powerful than France. And if it hadn’t been for Charles the reckless, who knows?

[00:41:40] Annie Sargent: Who knows?

[00:41:41] Elyse Rivin: He lost the battle against the duke of Lorraine, who was a cousin and ally with the king of France. And so the king who at the time was Louie the 11th. He could claim through his blood lines, The entire area controlled by the Dukes of Burgundy. And so because Charles, the reckless got killed near Nancy . The entire area that we now know of as Burgundy, Picardie, Champagne and all of that, which had not been part of the kingdom of France suddenly became part of the kingdom of, France. So this period of time is really the end of what is known as the glorious period of the kingdom of Burgundy, whose capital was Dijon, but irony of ironies.

[00:42:34] Elyse Rivin: Remember we, at the very beginning, when I mentioned the fact that there’s Flemish architecture in Dijon? By the time we get to Charles, the Reckless, He’s not even living there anymore. He’s living in Flanders. And he, he just sends his emissaries to Dijon as the capital of Burgundy to collect money. To make sure that everybody’s still loyal to the Dukes of Burgundy, but they had moved out of Dijon and out of Burgundy and actually were living in Flanders.

[00:43:03] Annie Sargent: Hmm. Interesting.

[00:43:05] Annie Sargent: Yeah. So I would say Dijon is a lovely place to visit.

[00:43:10] Elyse Rivin: It’s a lovely place to visit.

[00:43:11] Annie Sargent: I think I might want to go myself. I don’t think I have ever been to Dijon. This would be all new for me.

[00:43:19] What Makes Dijon Such a Nice City

[00:43:19] Elyse Rivin: I, As I mentioned, I’ve been there twice. Each time for a weekend. And I loved it. I loved to Dijon maybe because I kind of now like really medium-sized cities. I find them much nicer. You can walk pretty much everywhere. You can see all these wonderful things you can eat really well. And you can go, if you have a car, you can do nice little short visits also outside of the city center. And I don’t remember the name specifically, but there were some, wonderful boutiques in Dijon that have wonderful wine collections. And collections of mustard and all of these foodstuffs that really are, famous and part of the reason for going there.

[00:44:03] Elyse Rivin: And and I don’t remember the name of it. Uh, vision of the last time that I was there, which was a few years ago, but, um, we had lunch. In a restaurant that was also, I don’t know if it had started out as a bookstore or it just was part of what it became, but it was, uh, a huge, uh, cafe restaurant that had tables outside that were right near the Place de la Libération and inside was wall-to-wall books.

[00:44:32] Annie Sargent: Interesting.

[00:44:33] Elyse Rivin: And it was neat. It was kind of nice. And from there we walked and we saw the old city center . And the church, some church towers, because in the middle ages, it was known as the city of 100 church bells.

[00:44:47] Annie Sargent: Nice,

[00:44:48] Elyse Rivin: Dijon

[00:44:49] Annie Sargent: Loud but nice.

[00:44:51] Elyse Rivin: Loud but nice.

[00:44:52] Annie Sargent: Thank you Elyse!

[00:44:53] Annie Sargent: You are welcome!

[00:44:53] Annie Sargent: Au revoir !

[00:44:54] Annie Sargent: Au revoir !



[00:45:04] Annie Sargent: Again, I want to thank my patrons for supporting the show and giving back. Patrons get several exclusive rewards for doing so you can see them at Thank you all for supporting the show, some of you for many years now, you are fantastic!

[00:45:20] Annie Sargent: And a shout out this week, to new patrons Connie Molter, Diane Brock and Marla Garfield. And a special thank you to Ray Pierantoni who’s been very generous with the podcast. Thank you so much for becoming patrons and making this podcast possible.

[00:45:36] Annie Sargent: And thank you Carolyn Rausch for going to yearly support because it saves you some money and it also assures me of your support for at least a full year. It’s important for someone like me who intends to keep doing this as long as I’m able.

[00:45:50] New Patreon Reward: Crêpes Day!

[00:45:50] Annie Sargent: On Patreon this week Elyse and I released a video of the two of us making crêpes because it was la chandeleur. Also known as Crêpes Day on February 2nd, but really every day is Crêpe Day in France. So feel free to watch it and have fun making crêpes anytime you wish. You get access if you’re a patron of either Elyse or moi. E L Y S A R T for her and for me. We’ll keep doing bonus video content for our patrons. So check it out and show us some love.

[00:46:31] Itinerary Planning Service

[00:46:31] Annie Sargent: Another way to support this podcast is to hire me to be your itinerary consultant. Here’s how it works. You purchase the service on

[00:46:41] Annie Sargent: then you tell me what you have in mind. I write up what I think is best for you. Then we talk about it on the phone. I answer all your questions and boom, you’re ready for a great trip to France. The only problem with this service is that I’m pretty booked up. So if you’d like to take advantage of the service reserve it well in advance by going to

[00:47:06] French Expression of the Week: La Vache!

[00:47:06] Annie Sargent: The french expression of the week is Ah ! La vache ! or Oh ! La vache ! Une vache is a cow, of course, and this is an expression of surprise and possibly excitement. I say that when I see something really unusual happen right in front of me, like a few days ago, I saw a guy run his car into a ditch. It was broad daylight. He had not been drinking as far as I could tell, but he miscalculated how much space he needed to do a U-turn and ended up with one wheel in the ditch and both back wheels sticking up in the air. He wasn’t hurt. He got out of his car in complete disbelief. I said, oh la vache ! So did he. And we talked for a bit. So he was okay. Photo on the episode page.

[00:47:56] Related Episodes About Burgundy

[00:47:56] Annie Sargent: If you enjoyed this episode, you might also want to listen to the other episodes we’ve done about Burgundy. Episode 128, about Beaune, 337 about wine and cooking tours in Burgundy, episode 98, about a Burgundy wine festival, episode 61 about Southern Burgundy and episode 57 about Burgundy wines. So plenty for you to listen to if you’re planning a trip Burgundy.

[00:48:24] This Week in French News[00:48:24] Best Cities and Villages to Live in France

[00:48:24] Annie Sargent: This week in French news, an organization called Villes et villages où il fait bon vivre published a list of best cities and villages to live in in France. They do this every year. There will be a link at Join Us in France. So you can see for yourself. There are 40 large cities in France as defined by their ranking. So what are the top five cities to live in, in France, as far as French people are concerned?

[00:48:55] Annie Sargent: #1 is Angers

[00:48:58] Annie Sargent: #2 is Annecy

[00:49:00] Annie Sargent: #3 is Bayonne

[00:49:02] Annie Sargent: #4 La Rochelle

[00:49:04] Annie Sargent: #5 is Caen

[00:49:07] Annie Sargent: What? Paris is not in the top five? Well, no. When you talk to French people, you soon find out most of us don’t want to live in Paris, Paris ranked 26 out of 40 large cities. Today we talked about the lovely city of Dijon and they ranked number 14, so way to go Dijon!

[00:49:28] Annie Sargent: In the south of France Montpellier is number 17. Bordeaux is number eight and Toulouse is number 18. I can’t believe Bordeaux has us beat! Lyon is number 24 and Marseille number 30.

[00:49:41] About the French Elections Coming Up

[00:49:41] Annie Sargent: Let’s talk about the French elections coming up for a second and the 500 parrainage rule that’s been all over the news in France this week. The word “parrain” means godfather and by extension in politics, it means an official endorsement. Since 1974 in France, we’ve had a law that requires a candidate to gather the support of 500 elected officials who are willing to state publicly that they sponsor candidate X, Y, or Z. Candidates for president needs 500 endorsements, or they won’t be on the ballot.

[00:50:18] Annie Sargent: They did that to prevent having too many candidates who are not serious and just wanted to get free publicity because once you’re on the ballot in France, TV stations and radio stations have to invite you to debate and give you free air time. So it’s not just mayors who can give this endorsement, any elected official, but there are a lot of mayors. And so they get a lot of solicitation to sponsor candidates.

[00:50:46] Annie Sargent: In practice, the mayor of my village can endorse one candidate and only one candidate. Once he’s done it, he can’t change his mind. Here’s the catch. Since 1976, this endorsement is a matter of public record.

[00:51:02] Annie Sargent: The Conseil Constitutionnel, so that’s the French version of the Supreme Court validates each sponsor and publishes a daily list. There will be a link in the show notes. And unsurprisingly, fewer than 40% of elected officials support a candidate for president because they don’t want to anger their constituents.

[00:51:23] Annie Sargent: So no matter how much buzz a candidate creates, he or she may not get the required number of endorsements. Right now Eric Zemmour has 58, marine Le Pen has 35. Mélanchon has a hundred. On the other hand, Emmanuel Macron, who is not even a candidate officially yet, got his 539 signatures. And they’ve only been counting those endorsements for one week. Will the extreme rights and extremeleft get their 500 sponsorships in time?

[00:51:58] Annie Sargent: Maybe they have until March 4th. I’ll tell you what if my mayor sponsors someone, it will be the talk of the week at the hairdressers because I’m keeping an eye on what he does. And I’m not the only one so far. He has not endorsed anyone. And he probably won’t because like most mayors in France, he is not affiliated with any party, and he has no reason to stick his neck out for a candidate who has a zero chances of winning the election anyway.

[00:52:31] Garbabe Strike in Marseille

[00:52:31] Annie Sargent: There was a big garbage strike in Marseille, which might explain why Marseille is a number 30 in the ranking of French cities. They went on strike, I think four times in three months. And there were piles and piles and piles of garbage. It’s been resolved, but, uh, those things are really awful and they are a public health hazard. And. Ah, I wish French people found ways to solve our differences other than strikes.

[00:53:01] The Third Dose of Vaccine

[00:53:01] Annie Sargent: A third dose of vaccine is not mandatory anymore for people who had two doses and that get infected or test positive and recovered, obviously. This works for French people because all our tests and vaccine certificates are saved in the Amelie health insurance system, but it would not work for visitors since you’re not in the system.

[00:53:23] Annie Sargent: I think visitors will still have to get a third dose to be allowed to travel to France, but it’s possible some mechanism is going to be put in place for them. It’s too soon to tell. I think the rules will relax soon and probably before the elections for president that will take place on the 10th and 24th of April.

[00:53:45] Covid Numbers Are Heading Down in France

[00:53:45] Annie Sargent: The peak of the fifth wave seems to be behind us in France. The numbers are all heading down and we’re very happy about that. They’ve been heading down steadily for five or six days now. So it seems to be a real trend.

[00:54:00] Annie Sargent: This week. I chatted with an acquaintance of mine in the village who is 88 years old. She’s a funny lady. She said, I saw that the local Leclerc was selling gasoline at cost. So she went to fill up two Jerry cans of gasoline. And what you know? She could not smell the gasoline.

[00:54:20] Annie Sargent: So she got tested and she was indeed positive for COVID. She told me, who she thinks gave it to her. The person actually had called her and said, oh my goodness, I tested positive the day after I visited you. So there you go. So she said this Omicron isn’t really bad. Is it? And I told her, no, that’s not it. You’ve had three doses of the vaccine. That’s why Omicron couldn’t make you very sick. Thank the vaccines because this variant is killing just as many unvaccinated people as Delta did. And, side note, stop storing gasoline in your garage while you’re at it. She’s a funny lady.

[00:55:02] Updating the Ile de la Cité VoiceMap Tour

[00:55:02] Annie Sargent: For my personal update this week, I’m working on updating my Ile de la Cité tour now that the access around Notre Dame has been greatly improved. The Cathedral is still closed, of course, but visitors can now walk around the Esplanade in front of the cathedral and on the side a lot more. We cannot see the doors yet, but it’s great progress. The new version of the tour should be released later this month. And if you’ve bought the tour before you can just update it. It won’t cost you a penny.

[00:55:34] Annie Sargent: I’m also working on a custom tour for a luxury hotel in Paris, and it will include the Ile de la Cité tour that will start at the hotel. While in Paris, I’ll be staying with my friend Patricia again, and she’s extended her hospitality to me again, this is priceless. Not only because her apartment is wonderful and she’s great company, but also she knows Paris so well. She always shows me places that I wouldn’t go by myself.

[00:56:01] Annie Sargent: But the hotel offered one night, uh, there. And so I’m like, oh, I’ll take that. I’ll try it. You know? So I’ll tell you, I’ve never stayed at a hotel so expensive before. So it’ll be interesting.

[00:56:14] Get a Mask Extender Before Flying to France!

[00:56:14] Annie Sargent: I’d like to recommend for anyone who flies to France, I recommend that you get a mask extender before your flight. Because when we flew to Utah, so it was 11 hours by about halfway through the back of my ears were killing me. Okay. And if you get a mask extender, the mask is still tight around your face, but instead of pushing against your ears, it’s pushing up against the back of your head or the back of your neck. And we bought some for the trip back and it was so much better. So if you go to a,, and you scroll down to Annie’s faves, there’s a link to Amazon products that I think are great for travel.

[00:57:01] Annie Sargent: I’ve added the mask extenders that I’ve tried to the page and also a really nice scarf that has a zipper pocket, where you can hide your phone and wallet in your scarf. It’s really cool. And thank you Dolores, for recommending that product.

[00:57:20] Annie Sargent: Show notes for this episode are on. the numeral where you can see a recap of the episode, Elyse’s notes and a full transcript.

[00:57:34] Annie Sargent: Next week on the podcast, an episode about spending 12 days of solo in Paris with Heather Nellis, she had a lot of fun and has great tips for you.

[00:57:44] Annie Sargent: Send questions or feedback to annie@joinusinfrance.Com. Thank you so much for listening and I hope you join me next time so we can look around France together! Au revoir !



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Category: Burgundy Area