Chalon-sur-Saône in the heart of Burgundy

Chalon-sur-Saône lies in the south of the Bourgogne-Franche-Comté region of France. As the name says, it is located on the Saône river, and was once a busy port, acting as a distribution point for local wines which were sent up and down the Saône river and the Canal du Centre, opened in 1792. This part of Burgundy has a rich tourist offering which includes nature in its varied landscape from the Saône plain, to the Mâconnais and the Charolais, its gastronomy - its wines are well known but so is its charolais beef, the poulet de Bresse (Bresse chicken), and the historical sites of Autun, Cluny, Paray-le-Monial, Tournus and more.  However for the moment lets consider the city of Chalon-sur-Saône.

The motorhome aire is located on Promenade Sainte Marie, 71100 Chalon sur Saone, and the good news is that it is free, has space for thirty vehicles and has dump and fill up points.

Now for something of its rich history which should give us an idea of what we can see there.

Founded before the Roman invasion, it was the capital of the Aedui Gallic tribe.  The first written mention of Cavillonum is found in Caesar's Gallic Wars (VII, chs. 42 and 90). The Roman city served as a river port and hub of road communications, of the Via Agrippa and adjacent roads. In 354CE the Roman Emperor, Constantius II stationed the Roman 7th Army in Chalon (then called Cabyllona) for an invasion against the brother kings, Gundomad and Vadomar of the Alamanni. However, not having received supplies, the Roman troops revolted, and were pacified by the grand chamberlain Eusebius with money. In Late Antiquity the city had dwindled so much that a wall round it encircled fifteen hectares.

Saint Marcellus of Chalons (Saint Marcel) is said to have been martyred here in 179 CE. The bishopric of Chalon-sur-Saône, was established here in the same century, and a Church Council was held here from 644–655. 

Chalon in the 19th century is best known as the birthplace of photography. Its most famous resident, Nicéphore Niépce also has a lycée (secondary school) named after him. There is a museum which contains some early photography relics, located on the Quai des Messageries in the town, containing more than two million photographs and many old artefacts such as cameras and other equipment for old and modern photography. Also on display are Niépce's 1807 Pyréolophore which is probably the world's first internal combustion engine, plus his 1818 invention which he called a vélocipède.

To see:

St. Vincent's Cathedral on the Place Saint-Vincent, which has some elements dating from the eighth century and a neo-gothic nineteenth century façade.

Chalon Cathedral

This city square also has a number of cafés and a busy market on Fridays and Sundays.

Every year in July, Chalon-sur-Saône hosts an international street artists festival, called Chalon dans la Rue ("Chalon in the street"). Over four days, artists from across Europe and beyond come to the streets of Chalon to perform, mostly for free, in music, theatre, acrobatics, comedy, etc. A program is made available by the town, so people know of the main groups performing, and several newspapers report what performances are must-see and where and when to find them.

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