On our first evening in Dijon, we all noticed the bronze plaques on the sidewalk because they are engraved with caricatures of owls. At first we did not know what it was for, but the next day we were told…
Apparently the owl has, over time, become the mascot of Dijon. It had been a signature of an artist/architect (not sure which) from Dijon whose last name had some semblance of “chouette,” which is one word for “owl” in French (the other – hibou).
There are two types of these owl plaques, and they are found all throughout the town. One is a small (about 5 inches long by 2-3 inches wide) triangle (two sides the same length)*** with the petit chouette and the other is a large rectangle (about 15” wide by 2-3’ long) with a larger owl, a number, and the name of the town.
The triangles act as arrows that form an enclosed path throughout Dijon, leading people between the rectangular stops – of which there are about 34 – that mark important sites in Dijon, such as the Notre Dame church, the theatre, the market building, a fountain with a sculpture of Bacchus stomping on grapes, among many other things.
A few friends and I walked around this “Parcours de Chouette” (Owl Path) in the evening on around the second or third day. It was neat and the night was a good time because there were no other tourists going around.