The owl is Dijon's emblem. The Dijon Owl Trail combines symbolism with usability by leading visitors past 22 of the city's most important attractions by simply following the (1600!) tiny owls placed on the Old Town's sidewalks.
THINGS TO DO AT THE DIJON OWL TRAIL:
Embrace the beginning of the trail at Darcy Gardens:
This is the beginning of the Owl's Trail, a welcome oasis of greenery where we can cool off on hot summer days. You might not be aware of this, but Darcy built the city's water supply directly beneath the park in 1840, despite the garden appearing warm and serene and dotted with lovely fountains.
When maintenance is done and the water is drained, you can visit the reservoir only once yearly (otherwise, you would be five meters underwater).
Appreciate the masterpiece: The Grand Hôtel de la Cloche:
Since the 15th century, Dijon has had a Hôtel de la Cloche, though the first one was nearer the city's center.
It is currently the only five-star hotel in the city. It has hosted famous people, including Napoleon III, the Grace of Monaco, Joan Baez, Maurice Chevalier, and MC Solaar. Additionally, bells, arguably Dijon's second most well-known symbol after owls, are used to decorate every window.
Draw comparisons between Dijon's Porte Guillaum with its counterparts:
This standalone arch, the Porte Guillaume, resembles the Arc de Triomphe in Paris. A gateway with towers on either side and a drawbridge were constructed here during the Middle Ages to defend the city. Use your imagination to picture an earlier, less elaborate entrance surrounded by high walls meant to keep out intruders.
Relish good meals after you work up an appetite:
Enjoy your lunch with a French baguette, some cheese and charcuterie, some wine, and a bench or in the Jardin Darcy. If that doesn't work, try one of the nearby eateries near Les Halles, but get there early because they get busy.
In the summer, Les Halles offers brunches in the market's back alleys that are not to be missed!
Look at the sights straight out of a novel as you explore Rue des Forges:
Explore this street to see some wealthy homes constructed between the Middle Ages and the Renaissance.
Feel fascinated as you look at the outworldly Notre Dame:
Philip the Bold, Duke of Burgundy, brought Jacquemart from Cambrai in Belgium with the clock and large bell and presented it to Dijon as a thank-you gift for lending him 1000 armed soldiers to fight in Flanders.
(The bell had to be recast after breaking on the way.)
What you've been waiting for, the Owl, is finally here:
Touch the owl with your left hand will bring you luck, but exercise caution. You can still see the line that holds the parts together where the Dijon owl had to be repaired after being vandalized.
A tiny dragon, or salamander, can be found on another wall to the left of the owl, and it is so tiny that it is simple to miss.
The evil little dragon will steal your wish if you walk past the owl, make a wish, and then pass the dragon.
So, if you want it to happen, go past the owl and dragon in that order, and everything will be fine.