Chalon-sur-Saône is a charming city located in the Burgundy region of France. Situated on the banks of the Saône River, this historical city offers a delightful blend of cultural heritage, picturesque landscapes, and a vibrant atmosphere. Here are some of the best places to visit and things to do in Chalon-sur-Saône:
1. Cathédrale Saint-Vincent
Begin your exploration by visiting the Cathédrale Saint-Vincent, a magnificent Gothic cathedral dating back to the 12th century. Admire its impressive architecture and intricate details, and don’t miss the chance to climb the bell tower for breathtaking views of the city.
2. Musée Nicéphore Niépce
Art and photography enthusiasts should not miss a visit to the Musée Nicéphore Niépce. This museum is dedicated to the inventor of photography and showcases a remarkable collection of historic cameras, photographs, and exhibitions exploring the evolution of this visual art form.
3. Quai de la Monnaie
Take a leisurely stroll along the Quai de la Monnaie, a charming waterfront promenade. Enjoy the scenic views of the Saône River, lined with colorful buildings, cafes, and restaurants. It’s a perfect spot to relax, have a coffee, or enjoy a delicious meal.
4. Place de l’Hôtel de Ville
The Place de l’Hôtel de Ville is the main square in Chalon-sur-Saône and a hub of activity. Admire the beautiful Town Hall building, soak in the lively atmosphere, and explore the surrounding shops, boutiques, and cafés.
5. Musée Denon
Delve into Chalon-sur-Saône’s rich history at the Musée Denon. Housed in an elegant 18th-century mansion, the museum showcases a wide range of artifacts, including archaeological finds, paintings, sculptures, and decorative arts, providing insight into the city’s past.
6. Île Saint-Laurent
Escape the city’s hustle and bustle by visiting Île Saint-Laurent, a serene island located in the Saône River. This peaceful oasis offers beautiful walking paths, lush green spaces, and picnic spots. It’s an ideal place to relax, enjoy nature, or take a boat ride along the river.
7. Chalon dans la Rue
If you happen to visit in July, don’t miss Chalon dans la Rue, an internationally renowned street theater festival. Streets and squares come alive with vibrant performances, acrobatics, music, and artistic displays, providing an immersive cultural experience.
8. Wine Tasting
As Chalon-sur-Saône is located in the renowned Burgundy wine region, take the opportunity to indulge in wine tasting. Visit nearby vineyards and wineries to sample exceptional Burgundy wines, known for their complexity and elegance.
9. Local Cuisine
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Explore Chalon-sur-Saône’s culinary scene and savor regional specialties. Indulge in classic Burgundian dishes like coq au vin (chicken in red wine), escargots (snails), boeuf bourguignon (beef stew), and a variety of delicious cheeses.
10. Festivals and Events
Throughout the year, Chalon-sur-Saône hosts a range of festivals and events that showcase the city’s cultural vibrancy. From music festivals to art exhibitions, there’s always something happening in this lively city.
11. Maison des Vins de la Côte Chalonnaise
Wine enthusiasts should not miss the opportunity to visit the Maison des Vins de la Côte Chalonnaise. Located in the heart of Chalon-sur-Saône, this wine center offers tastings of the region’s famous wines, along with educational exhibits that delve into the history and production methods of Burgundy wines.
12. Canal du Centre
Take a peaceful stroll or rent a bike along the scenic Canal du Centre. This historic canal, which connects the Saône and Loire rivers, offers beautiful views of the countryside and charming locks. It’s a fantastic way to enjoy the natural beauty of the region.
13. Musée de la Photographie Contemporaine
Photography enthusiasts should also visit the Musée de la Photographie Contemporaine. Located in the Abbaye de l’Epau, this museum showcases contemporary photography exhibitions, highlighting the works of both renowned and emerging artists.
14. Parc Georges Nouelle
Enjoy a relaxing day outdoors at Parc Georges Nouelle. This spacious park features beautiful green spaces, walking paths, playgrounds, and sports facilities. It’s an excellent place for a picnic, a leisurely stroll, or simply to unwind and soak up the peaceful ambiance.
15. Taste Burgundian Cuisine
Chalon-sur-Saône offers a wide range of dining options where you can indulge in traditional Burgundian cuisine. Sample local delicacies such as jambon persillé (parsleyed ham), gougères (cheese puffs), and the famous Chalon-sur-Saône snails. Pair your meal with a glass of Burgundy wine for a truly authentic experience.
16. Maison de Niepce
Visit the Maison de Niepce, the birthplace of Nicéphore Niépce, the pioneer of photography. This historical site provides insights into the life and work of Niépce, showcasing his inventions and contributions to the field of photography.
17. Explore the Old Town
Wander through the quaint streets of Chalon-sur-Saône’s Old Town, filled with charming buildings, narrow alleyways, and hidden courtyards. Discover the city’s rich history as you admire the preserved medieval and Renaissance architecture.
18. La Place de la Gare
Pay a visit to La Place de la Gare, the city’s central square located near the train station. Here, you’ll find various shops, cafes, and restaurants, making it a vibrant hub for locals and visitors alike.
19. Château de Germolles
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Take a short drive from Chalon-sur-Saône to the nearby village of Mellecey to visit the Château de Germolles. This well-preserved medieval castle offers a fascinating glimpse into the life of the dukes of Burgundy. Explore the beautifully restored rooms, admire the original frescoes, and stroll through the gardens.
20. Les Écuries de Saint-Hugues
If you’re interested in equestrian activities, visit Les Écuries de Saint-Hugues. This equestrian center offers horseback riding lessons, guided trails, and other equine-related activities for riders of all skill levels. It’s a fantastic opportunity to experience the beauty of the Burgundian countryside from horseback.
21. Musée Vivant-Denon
Discover the history and heritage of Chalon-sur-Saône at the Musée Vivant-Denon. Housed in the former Palace of Justice, this museum showcases archaeological artifacts, historical objects, and interactive exhibits that provide insights into the city’s past.
22. Théâtre Piccolo
If you appreciate performing arts, catch a show at the Théâtre Piccolo. This intimate theater hosts a variety of performances, including plays, concerts, dance shows, and more. Check the schedule to see what productions are on during your visit.
23. Les Jardins de l’Hotel de Ville
Visit Les Jardins de l’Hotel de Ville, a charming public garden located near the Town Hall. Take a leisurely stroll through the well-manicured flowerbeds, relax on a bench, and enjoy the peaceful ambiance of this green oasis in the heart of the city.
24. Maison des Forges
Explore the industrial heritage of Chalon-sur-Saône at the Maison des Forges. This former ironworks factory now serves as a museum, showcasing the city’s history of metalworking and the importance of the iron industry in the region.
25. Go for a Saône River Cruise
Take a relaxing boat cruise along the Saône River and enjoy the scenic views of the surrounding countryside. Several companies offer cruises ranging from short tours to full-day excursions, providing a unique perspective of Chalon-sur-Saône and its surroundings.
26. Chapelle Saint-Jean
Image Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/La_Chapelle-Saint-Jean
Visit the Chapelle Saint-Jean, a beautiful chapel located near the Saône River. This 15th-century chapel features stunning stained glass windows and houses an organ dating back to the 18th century. Admire the architectural details and enjoy the serene atmosphere.
27. Château de Rully
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Take a short drive to the nearby village of Rully and visit the Château de Rully. This medieval fortress-turned-castle dates back to the 12th century and is surrounded by beautiful vineyards. Take a guided tour to learn about its fascinating history and enjoy wine tastings of the estate’s renowned wines.
28. Les Fêtes de Chalon
If you’re visiting Chalon-sur-Saône in July, make sure to experience Les Fêtes de Chalon. This annual festival celebrates the city’s history and cultural heritage with a series of lively events, including parades, concerts, street performances, fireworks, and a grand carnival.
29. Les Nuits Bressanes
If you’re a fan of traditional music, consider attending Les Nuits Bressanes. This music festival showcases the rich cultural heritage of the Bresse region, featuring concerts, dances, and workshops where you can experience the lively rhythms and melodies of local folk music.
30. Golf de Chalon-sur-Saône
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Enjoy a round of golf at Golf de Chalon-sur-Saône. This 18-hole golf course offers a scenic setting with rolling greens and fairways, surrounded by picturesque landscapes. Whether you’re an experienced golfer or a beginner, it’s a great place to practice your swing.
31. Château de Couches
Venture further afield to visit the Château de Couches, also known as the Château de Marguerite de Bourgogne. Located about 30 kilometers from Chalon-sur-Saône, this medieval fortress offers guided tours that take you through its towers, underground passages, and beautiful gardens, providing a glimpse into its fascinating history.
32. Shopping in Rue du Strasbourg
Explore Rue du Strasbourg, a vibrant shopping street in Chalon-sur-Saône. Discover a variety of boutiques, fashion stores, specialty shops, and charming cafés. It’s a perfect place to shop for souvenirs, browse for unique items, or simply enjoy a leisurely stroll.
33. La Maison de l’Eau et de la Nature
Dive into the world of water and nature at La Maison de l’Eau et de la Nature. This interactive museum educates visitors about the importance of water resources, environmental preservation, and biodiversity. Explore the exhibitions, participate in workshops, and engage in hands-on activities that promote ecological awareness.
34. Musée de la Résistance et de la Déportation
Gain insights into the history of the French Resistance and the impact of World War II at the Musée de la Résistance et de la Déportation. This museum features exhibitions, artifacts, and testimonies that commemorate the bravery and sacrifices of individuals during the war.
35. Promenade Sainte-Marie
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Take a leisurely stroll along the Promenade Sainte-Marie, a charming pedestrian street lined with shops, boutiques, and cafés. Enjoy the lively atmosphere, browse for unique items, and savor a cup of coffee or a delicious pastry at one of the local establishments.
36. La Manufacture Bohin
Discover the art of sewing and needlework at La Manufacture Bohin in nearby Saint-Sulpice. This historic factory has been producing high-quality sewing and quilting tools for over 180 years. Take a guided tour to see the manufacturing process and learn about the craftsmanship behind these renowned products.
37. Le Port Villiers
Visit Le Port Villiers, a marina located on the Saône River. Enjoy a pleasant walk along the waterfront, admire the boats, and savor a meal at one of the riverside restaurants. You can also rent a boat or take a boat tour to explore the river and its scenic landscapes.
38. Les Caves Bailly Lapierre
Venture to nearby Saint-Bris-le-Vineux and visit Les Caves Bailly Lapierre. This unique winery is situated in an underground quarry and produces sparkling wines using the traditional méthode champenoise. Take a guided tour to learn about the wine-making process and enjoy a tasting of their exquisite sparkling wines.
39. Les Remparts de Chalon-sur-Saône
Explore the remnants of the ancient city walls at Les Remparts de Chalon-sur-Saône. These well-preserved ramparts offer a glimpse into the city’s medieval past and provide a tranquil setting for a leisurely walk. Enjoy the views of the city and the river as you meander along the historic fortifications.
40. Chocolaterie Damy
Indulge your sweet tooth at Chocolaterie Damy, a local chocolate shop in Chalon-sur-Saône. Treat yourself to artisanal chocolates, pralines, truffles, and other delectable confections. Take a guided tour of the chocolate factory to learn about the production process and witness the mastery of chocolate-making.
Places and Things To Do