When in Dijon: stay at the iconic Grand Hôtel La Cloche

Dijon, also known as the city of the Dukes of Burgundy, is the UNESCO-listed capital of the Burgundy Franche-Comté region. A gateway to some of the most prestigious wine producers, the city has also recently been selected as the International City of Gastronomy. It is celebrated worldwide for its local produce, the mustard. But Maille or Fallot mustards are not the only local specialities, the Mulot and Petitjean gingerbread and the Burgundy truffles will make you want to indulge and stay in Dijon a lot longer than expected.

Right at the heart of this beautiful city, lies Grand Hôtel La Cloche, a legendary property which, across its long and prestigious history, has welcomed some of France’s most important figures including Jean Cocteau, Lamartine, Napoléon III, Grace of Monaco, and singer Barbara. A stay in this wonderful hotel is a must for any lifestyle afficionado. It is the most spectacular hotel in Dijon.

With Dijon enjoying a reputation for serving France’s best gastronomy, rumour has it that the colloquial expression « Se taper la cloche », which translates as “having the best meal”, was born at Grand Hotel La Cloche. The more serious and official interpretation is that dishes were served under a cloche bell at its chic restaurant, then a relatively rare habit.

Following a two year-renovation, today the stunning hotel and restaurant rank among the most remarkable properties of the Sofitel brand. The hotel, restaurant and bars are back to their glorious past with a touch of modernity and extreme elegance.

La Cloche is also fully part of the collection of the MGallery hotels, a label which brilliantly mixes luxury, comfort, creativity, and art. Guests can enjoy the best pieces of design dotted throughout the hotel: sofas designed by Didier Gomez for Chez Cinna, armchairs by Naoto Fukasawa at B&B Italia, Charles & Ray Eames furniture edited by Vitra, further pieces by Tom Dixon, Philippe Starck, Bouroullec Brothers at Ligne Roset or Patricia Urquiola at B&B Italia among many other iconic designs.

Patrick Jacquier, owner of Grand Hôtel La Cloche, an art collector at heart, has selected artworks and prints from the Museum of Fine-Arts (MBA) collection to feature, as reproductions, in the communcal areas, corridors and rooms. Artworks include vibrant sculptures by Saulieu-native Richard Orlinski and large-scale paintings by Chinese artist Yann Pei Ming.

As you make your way to your room the poems by Lamartine and excerpts from the novels of Colette will help guests find their way. These two classic authors of French literature were natives of Burgundy, an interesting nod to French culture.

The Jacquier family, owners of the hotel since 1984, also commissioned Frédéric Grosjean from the ADN (Architecture Design Nomade) studio to design the 88 bedrooms with taste. Each room features elegant decor, timeless materials such as walnut and granite, a warm colour palette referencing the region’s heritage: Burgundy red, or Crème de Cassis for example. Every room is unique and boasts high comfort. Designed with an intimate feel, the bathroom, for example, opens out onto the bedroom.

The only 5-star hotel in Dijon, La Cloche is also celebrated for its fantastic, illuminated façade. The 23 balconies, each decorated with a bell covered in gold leaf have been lit by light designer Alain Guilhot in collaboration with “Bâtiments de France” architects. Guilhot’s credentials include illuminations for the Croisette in Cannes, Tiananmen Square and the worldwide-famous festival of Fête des Lumières Festival in Lyon. A short distance from the railway station, this Haussmann era the building dates back to 1884 and has been listed as a Historical Monument.

The gardens have been entirely redesigned and are truly spectacular too. They lead to more corporate rooms for conferences, business meetings and work-related functions.

Styled in a ribbon shape, while the central pond features Orlinsky’s “Walking White Bear”, the curved conservatory and the blue-tone of the restaurant furniture harmoniously fit with the outside architecture. More Orlinsky’s sculptures can be found inside the hotel such as a vibrant-red polar bear by the entrance of the restaurant. The fully refurbished Les Jardins by La Cloche restaurant offers modern cuisine and great food and wine combinations. Orchestrated by Chef Aurélien Mauny, the gastronomic menu changes with the seasons to show off the best local produce.

The Spa by La Cloche, built under the hotel’s ancient stone vaulted ceilings, provides the best relaxing experience: multi-sensory shower, sauna, hammam, fitness room, treatment chambers and a large pool (featuring lifestyle brands Carita and Vinésime brands). The film projection room is also a fantastic space for private events and guests’ leisure.

Beyond the hotel, Dijon has so much to offer. With a fascinating historical centre, the owl-trail (owls is the emblem of Dijon) marked along the pavements lead visitors to some of the most significant historical jewels of France, from Place Darcy to the celebrated Museum of Fine-Arts, passing through the Place de la Libération, designed by starchitect and urban planner Jean-Michel Wilmotte.

Exploring the Climats of Burgundy, listed as a World Heritage site by UNESCO since July 2015 is also an important part of the trip. The vineyard landscape which stretches out to Beaune is breath-taking. From Gevrey-Chambertin to Pommard, passing by the Château du Clos Vougeot, visitors can explore the legendary Romanée Conti vineyards.

Perfectly located, with very professional and attentive staff, recently renovated rooms at the highest standards, featuring the best cuisine, Hotel La Cloche remains the epitome of luxury in one of the most fascinating and historical cities of France.