Dijon, France: Notre Dame de Dijon (Statue of Our Lady of Hope)
Dijon, capitol of the Burgundy region of France, is one of France’s major cities. With a population of around 150,000, it is one of the country’s most interesting cities with its unusual architecture of timbered houses. In addition to the world-renowned wine produced here, most have heard of Dijon mustard. The city was the center of mustard making in the late middle ages, and was granted exclusive rights to that name in France in the 17th century.
The Story of Our Lady of Hope:A monastery existed here much earlier, but the statue itself has a story dating from the year 1513. At that time, forces from Swiss and Germany had ravaged many towns and monasteries and were threatening the city of Dijon.
The situation was apparently hopeless: the Swiss and Germans combined had over 45,000 men and were well-equipped. The defenders, although prepared for a siege, had few weapons and only numbered around 6,000.
When the attack began on September 9, 1513, the invaders opened up with heavy canon fire and were even able to breach the city walls, but were repulsed with surprisingly heavy casualties on their side. On September 11th, the statue was processed through the city after Mass as the French prayed to be spared. The next day, the conflict ended with the signing of a peace treaty and the Swiss and Germans withdrew.
Every year the procession is re-enacted in the city. The Feast Day is celebrated on January 18.
About the Church Notre Dame de Dijon (Notre Dame de bon espoir……Our lady of Hope):
The church was ransacked during the French revolution and turned in to a storehouse. In the aftermath, once things had returned to normal, the church was re-built and the statue placed on the altar.
The history does not end there, however, since the German army occupied the city in 1944. Again the people prayed to Our Lady of Hope and the army suddenly withdrew from the city.
Although the statue is the main attraction, the church is well-preserved and the stained-glass windows are remarkable. Also, notice the many gargoyles on the exterior.
You can climb up the tower for a great view of the city.
Traveling to Dijon:
Dijon is about 190 miles (300 Km) south of Paris. There is a small airport here with only one airline, offering service to Croatia, Malta and Madera. Dijon is also a major rail center: the TGV high-speed trains will get you there in a little over an hour and a half from Paris, and there are easy connections not only from other cities in France, but other European countries as well. Get train & bus schedules, see fares & buy tickets here
Finding Notre Dame de Dijon:
You can find Notre Dame right in the center of the city. It does not dominate the town, so you will need to seek it out.
Address: Place Notre Dame, 21000 Dijon
GPS coordinates: 47° 19′ 21.5184” N, 5° 2′ 30.0192” E
Click here for the official website of the Parish of the Cathedral of Dijon.
Click here for the official tourist website of Dijon.