Because of its situation, on the road between Paris and Lyon-Marseille, Chalon-sur-Saône has always been a commercial center. At middle ages, its fairs and markets were already very famous.
Around the Cathedral
The city center of Chalon-sur-Saône extends around its cathedral whose high silhouette watches over the Saint-Vincent square. This square is surrounded by lovely half-timberred houses and has the name of the taron of vinegrowers, Saint Vincent. Not a rela surpise in the land where wine is such an important subject. You can see a statue of the saint on the corner of the square, opposite to the Cathedral, above the bar and restaurant le Majorelle. If you want to taste a good wine, you can stop at Les 120 bar (3 rue du blé). You’ll have a nice welcome and very good advices to discover wines from Burgundy.
The cathedral was built at the 6th century. Very few remains from these times because it was re-built at the 12th century in a romanesque style. Its neo-gothic towers were added at the 19th century. Inside, you can admire few lovely architectural pieces and is worth a visit. Its 14th century cloister, especially, is beautiful but is unfortunately not open to public outside of the guided visits and heritage day.
The square facing the cathdral is surrounded by half-timbered houses built between the 15th and the 18th centuries. It is the heart of the city when spring comes back. It is filled with bar and restaurant terrasses. On friday and sunday morning it hosts a lively market.
From the Saint-Vincent square, you can get to the walking area of Chalon. It is a shopping area. The old houses are half-timbered. Rise your eyes and watch the façades where you can see medaillons and gargoyles. At the crossing between Saint-Vincent street and Chatelet Steet, you can see an original statue inspired by a Christ of Michelangelo. A very burgundian detail was added : snails on the cross. Amongst the most nautiful façades, take the time to have a look at the theatre in Aux Fèvres street or the 4 Seasons house at the 37 of Chatelet Street.
Around the City Hall
The walking area drives you to the other living area of Chalon : the City Hall square. The square has an original design with its modern street lights. It is a pleasant place to have a drink at spring time even if it has no real historical monument. On wednesday morning, it hosts a market.
On the quays
Not far, you can reach the Saône river. Its quays are a nice place for a quiet walk. There, you can find the Niepce museum, dedicated to the inventor of photography, Nicephore Niepce. The museum is dedicated to photography in general, from the first camera to more recent stuff like an Apollo camera. The best part are the exhibitions where you can admire the works of very good photographers. The museum is free !
The island Saint-Laurent
This island is situated in the middle of the Saône river. In its main street you’ll find a large choice of restaurants. When the good weather comes back, the street becomes a walking street as the terrasses are out. Ask us if you want good advices to choose a good restaurant. We like especially Le Parcours or l’Aromatique. At the end of the island you can see a tower. It was built at the 15th century by the cathedral. It is only after the first World War that it was rebuilt at its actual location. Unfortunately, you can’t climb to the top except on special visits.
Chalon dans la Rue
Chalon dans la Rue is a street theatre festival. It is the main event of the Chalon’s year. Every year, during the third week-end of July (from thursday to sunday), the city welcomes dozens of shows, concerts, etc. in the streets of Chalon. It is a nice way to discover Chalon and to visit places that are not open the rest of the year. Nevertheless, if you are looking for a quiet place for a stoppover, you should avoid the campsite at this time of the year.