Today, the Alliance française de San Francisco takes you to discover the Burgundy region with the city of Chalon-sur-Saône, located between Dijon and Lyon. This little town of Saône-et-Loire has many unsuspected tourist assets! Behind Dijon, Besançon and Belfort, Chalon-sur-Saône is the 4th most important city of the Burgundy-Franche-Comté region. It is the cradle of photography, where the French engineer Nicéphore Niépce invented the camera in 1839. Around Chalon-sur-Saône, the vineyards of the Côte Chalonnaise are full of producers of wines with a very good quality-price ratio. Between historical, cultural and gastronomic heritage, the city of Chalon-sur-Saône will not fail to charm you.
Discover below a selection of must-do's to discover the city of Chalon-sur-Saône and its surroundings.
THE SAINT VINCENT CATHEDRAL
This religious monument, classified as a historical monument since 1903, was built between the 11th and 16th centuries. The 600 years it took to complete the construction explains the cathedral's heterogeneous style. This cathedral, located in the heart of the historic center of Chalon-sur-Saône, also has a cloister that can be visited since its restoration in 2019.
THE DEANERY TOWER
Dating from the 15th century, this tower was historically attached to the Saint-Vincent cathedral and served the apartments of the local dean. In 1907, it was dismantled and sold to an antique dealer who left it in pieces on a site near Paris. It returned to Chalon in 1926 thanks to the American patron Frank Jay Gould, and took its place on Saint-Laurent Island, where it still stands.
Climb to the top of the tower to admire the panoramic view of the city, and stroll in the surrounding garden. In this garden, you will find a lime tree from the nursery of Buffon, a great figure of the Lumières.
Chalon-sur-Saône is the first village in France to have been immortalized in the lens of Nicéphore Niepce, father of photography. The eponymous museum of the inventor, built around his possessions, traces the evolution of photography. Whether you are an amateur or an enthusiast, we invite you to discover this place of French heritage, labeled as a museum of France.
The Denon Museum honors Dominique Vivant Denon, an 18th century citizen of Lyon. Known for having directed the Louvre for a long time, Baron Denon is considered a pioneer of museology. Whether you are interested in Fine Arts or History, this museum is for you! Don't hesitate, come and discover the collection of this former school of Fine Arts.
WALK IN THE CITY
Chalon-Sur-Saône owes its status as a city of art and history to the citadel district. Indeed, your knowledge of the city will not be complete without venturing into the alleys of the citadel-center district: its alleys, its half-timbered houses and its numerous towers give the city a charm of yesteryear. It is also the most commercial and animated district of the city. All in all, an unmissable walk! Don't miss a little stroll on the Saint-Laurent Island and its numerous restaurants!
THE ABBEY OF LA FERTÉ
Located about 20 minutes by car from Chalon-sur-Saône, the abbey of La Ferté is a magnificent historical monument. This Cistercian abbey was the first abbey to be directly affiliated with the abbey of Cîteaux in the 12th century. It was then the home of Baron A. Thénard, a descendant of Louis Jacques Thénard, a famous 20th century French chemist. Tours are offered to discover its unique history.
VINEYARDS IN THE AREA
If you are a wine lover, take advantage of your stay in Chalon sur Saône to discover the local vineyards of the Côte Chalonnaise. Part of the Burgundy vineyard, the Côte Chalonnaise gathers producers of white wines in chardonnay and red wines in pinot noir of an excellent quality-price ratio! 2000 years of history have made the wines of Burgundy a paradise for lovers of Pinot noir, Chardonnay and Aligoté. The wines are tasty, the setting is magnificent... And the taste experience is unique! We recommend the towns of Mercurey, Givry and Buxy for vineyard tours and wine tastings! The Cave des Vignerons de Buxy has been created in 1931, born from the will of the winegrowers of the Côte Chalonnaise to unite around a common project to vinify, mature and market their wines together. Today, the Cellar counts 200 winegrower-operators of the Côte Chalonnaise and the Mâconnais. Its new seminar, wine tourism, sales and tasting area "la Maison Millebuis" as well as its magnificent barrel cellar are a must.
THE ROCK OF SOLUTRE
Culminating at 495 meters, the Roche de Solutré is located in the heart of the Grand Site de France, made of Solutré, Pouilly and Vergisson. Put your steps in those of the former president François Mitterrand and make the ascent. Climb this small summit and discover a spectacular panorama on the vineyards of the Mâconnais. A stop at the museum of prehistory located at the foot of the rock is also a must. From stony paths to rocky trails, this short hike leads you progressively to the top of the Roche de Solutré. Up there, you will have an exceptional panorama on the vineyards of Pouilly-Fuissé.You can start from the Museum of Prehistory of Solutré which is located at the foot of the rock for a 4 km walk. You don't need to be an experienced sportsman... You just have to take your time and enjoy the landscape for a gentle climb.
The Castle of Sercy is a castle from the twelfth century to the fifteenth century changed Sercy in Saône-et-Loire in Burgundy. It is the subject of a classification as a historical monument since May 1974. It is one of the best preserved medieval castles and the most curious of the region. It included, in the east, a first room of which only the circular tower-dovecote. It was accessed by a drawbridge located to the south. A fixed bridge located to the south was substituted after a partial destruction during the Hundred Years War. It is now buried under a lawn overlooking a pond.
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