©Xavier Remongin/Min.Agri.Fr

©Xavier Remongin/Min.Agri.Fr

France, rich in the diversity of its different types of agriculture, the abundance of its culinary cultures and the vitality of its gastronomic heritage, adopts several living tools dedicated to the culinary cultures of France and of the world.

In total, four cities – Tours, Paris-Rungis, Dijon and Lyon, have brought together their collective energy to invent a new original concept of spreading and valuing French gastronomic heritage: The Cities of Gastronomy, a series of planned French cultural and tourist destinations with activities and exhibits dedicated to gastronomy.

For the first time, food heritage is placed at the center of cultural tools of major stature. The emergence of Cities of Gastronomy illustrate the attachment of France to the promotion of an essential part of its culture, and follows the recognition by UNESCO in 2010 of the gastronomic meal of the French as an intangible heritage for humanity.

Each of the Cities of Gastronomy has built a specific program.

  • The City of Gastronomy of Dijon, in close cooperation with the Institute of the Vine and the UNESCO ‘culture and traditions of wine’ section, will constitute the reference hub in promoting the culture of wines and vine.
  • The association theme ‘nutrition and health’ will be the focus of the city of Gastronomy of Lyon.
  • The site in Tours will be a major pole for the domain of human and social sciences with the establishment of a University of Food Science and Cultures.
  • In the same way, it appeared necessary that the site in Paris-Rungis (nearby the well-known Rungis wholesale market) be a pilot for everything that relates to development and activities of markets, products and issues linked to the provision of food in urban centers.

What will that look like concretely?

For Dijon, the most advanced City of Gastronomy, the project will be located at the Hôpital general grounds in Dijon. The entire City in Dijon will take up 26,000 square meters of the former general hospital space, with nearly 9 acres devoted to the City and the rest will have an ‘eco-neighborhood’ complete with collective kitchens, vegetable gardens, and shared orchards.

The city will be centered on four hubs: Culture and education, with a living museum of gastronomy (with fun and informational activities), education center, multimedia auditorium, hotel and cooking school, and a sommelier school; trade and craftsmanship, with a wine center (in an 18th century chapel), trade and artisan workshops, a covered market and urban picnic area (allowing you to taste the products you’ve purchased); the hotel trade, featuring a four-star hotel, residences and a “vinotherapy” spa; and finally the logistics hub, focused on providing information to guests and overall management for the City.

The totality of the organizations in the area linked to gastronomy, agriculture, food services, and health will participate in one way or another in the city (conferences, workshops, events, exhibitions, etc.). Several area universities and research institutes also plan to participate in the City’s activities.

French officials are expecting 350,000 visitors a year and the creation of hundreds of jobs directly related to the project, which should provide a major boost to the city of Dijon’s economy. The location at the beginning of the famous Burgundy grands crus wine road will make it the ideal location to start discovering Burgundy vineyards as well as Dijon itself. Dijon is not only the capital of Burgundy, but also an indisputable capital of gastronomy.

Five Michelin-starred restaurants, a lively covered market in the city center, culinary specialties (mustard, black currant liqueur, spiced breads, etc.) all attest to this well-deserved title. And with the addition of the City of Gastronomy, Dijon could be an excellent location to plan your next trip to France.

The grand opening is planned for 2018.