Chalon-sur-Saône is a town, former bishopric and commune in central France,
in the Saône-et-Loire département, of which it is a sous-préfecture.
It is the largest city in the department; however, the department's préfecture (capital)
resides in the smaller commune of Mâcon.
read full wikipedia reference about Chalon sur Saone, France
, a sizeable port and bustling industrial centre on a broad meander
of the Saône, is generally uninteresting, though its old
riverside quarter does have an easy charm, and it makes a good
base for exploring the more expensive areas of the Côte
d'Or. Today it's a thriving business centre, and trade fairs
frequently take over the town, but more festive occasions are
also an important part of its appeal and good reasons to stop
if you're around at the right time. Three major events are: a
carnival in March, which features a parade of giant masks, confetti
battle and "laughter evening"; a national festival
of street artists in July; and a film festival in October.
The old town is just back from the river
around Grande-Rue and rue du Châtelet. At the junction
of these two streets you'll see a fifteenth-century timber-framed
house, and around the quarter you'll find a number of half-timbered
jettied facades. Nearby, 200m to the west on place de l'Hôtel-de-Ville,
is the Musée Denon (daily except Tues & hols 9.30am-noon
& 2-5.30pm, Wed free), whose most vaunted exhibit is the
18,000-year-old Volgu flint, rated one of the finest stone tools
yet discovered. Apart from the usual collection of bits and pieces
excavated nearby, look out for the local furniture.
More interesting and unusual is the Musée
Niepce , 28 quai des Messageries (daily except Tues: July &
Aug 10am-6pm; Sept-June 9.30-11.30am & 2.30-5.30pm), just
downstream from Pont St-Laurent. Niepce, who was born in Chalon,
is credited with inventing photography in 1816, and the museum
possesses a fascinating range of cameras, from the first machine
ever to the Apollo moon mission's equipment, plus a number of
007-type spy-camera devices, all attractively displayed under
a set of glass domes. Upstairs is a library of works on the subject
of photography, to be thumbed through at leisure, and a space
for temporary exhibitions, with some big names in the history
of the art.
The other interesting target in town is
the Maison des Vins on Promenade Ste-Marie (daily 9am-7pm), where
you can taste and buy Côte Chalonnaise wines, chosen from
the wines of 44 local villages by a choice committee of professional
wine tasters; even the cheaper ones are really good.
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