Dijon Ketchup

Dijon, FRANCE //  Friday November 19, 2010

“But we would eat Kraft Dinner. Of course we would, we’d just eat more. And buy really expensive ketchups with it. That’s right, all the fanciest Dijon ketchups! – “If I Had a Million Dollars” by The Barenaked Ladies

I find it very appropriate that while I type this blog entry on my trip to Dijon for my medical exam, I am sitting in my bed, home sick with possibly the flu or a nasty bout of the cold…

I didn’t spend much time in Dijon; most of it was spent at the French Immigration and Integration Office (OFII) where the medical exam took place. No, I don’t have any plans to immigrate to France, but in order for the French government to validate my worker’s visa (which would allow me to freely leave and re-enter France), I had to pass the medical examination. The visit went a lot smoother than I had imagined: I took an x-ray of my chest, and then I met with a nurse who told me it was impossible for me to weigh 115 until I realized she was thinking in kilos and not pounds! Finally, I met with the Immigration Officer who stamped my way to freedom!!

With my x-ray in tow (yes, I got to keep it, not sure what I’ll do with a giant 43 x 35 cm x-ray of my chest) I explored the many sights and smells of Dijon…

When one thinks of Dijon, perhaps the first thing that comes to mind is mustard. Despite popular belief, most Dijon mustard is actually manufactured outside of Dijon. Furthermore, most of the mustard seed used in the production of Dijon mustard is imported – from where? Believe it or not, most of the imported mustard seed comes from Canada! Who would have thunk? They might as well call it Canada mustard!

No Ketchup here, just Dijon mustard!

Strolling down the streets of downtown Dijon the first thing that one notices are the toits bourguinons – rooftops decorated in colourful terracotta tiles arranged in various patterns. Other examples of Dijon’s rich architecture include the historic timber-framed buildings, and the many churches, notably, the Notre-Dame de Dijon. This 13th century church is home to the famous chouette, a sculpted owl located on one of the church’s exterior walls. The Dijonnais (and everyone else for that matter) are superstitious and believe it is good luck to rub the owl with your left hand while making a wish. Be careful though, because if you walk towards the small dragon carving after making your wish, he’ll steal it!

la Chouette

Towards the end of the day, I enjoyed a delicious warm cup of hot chocolate from La Maison Millière, which is located just across from the Notre-Dame church. Due to the medical visit, I didn’t have as much time as I would have liked to explore Dijon, but I definitely did not go home disappointed… I wished upon the lucky owl, took home generous-sized perfume samples from Hermès (not that I wear expensive perfume, but who doesn’t love free stuff??), bought some Dijon mustard (obviously!) and most importantly, added another souvenir spoon to my growing collection!

Chocolat chaud


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