Chalon-sur-Saône is encased in vineyards that produce some of the best wines in France: Givy, Rully, Mercury and Montagny. When your river cruise vessel docks in Chalon-sur-Saône, take a stroll and stop to enjoy a glass of wine at one of the charming cafes in the old town. Since 15 B.C., the old town has been the spirit of Chalon-sur-Saône with its narrow lanes merging into the square of Place Saint-Vincent. Looming over the square is Saint-Vincent Cathedral, dating from the 9th century.
It is fitting that the captivating countryside of Chalon-sur-Saône is the site of the world’s first photograph. In 1825, Nicephore Niepce immortalized Chalon-sur-Saône with his revolutionary invention. Camera buffs can learn all the details at the Nicephore Niepce Museum.
Festivals come alive in Chalon in summer. From July to September, weekends are filled with hot air balloons soaring into the azure blue sky for the Montgolfiades, a festival of floating balloons, clowns and magicians. Also during July, Chalon hosts the Chalon dans la rue, a street fair of music, theatre, puppet shows and spectacular fireworks that blaze the night sky.
Excursions include …
- Best Burgundy in Beaune. Some of the world’s best wines originate from the region of Burgundy, especially the well-known Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes. On your way to Beaune, pass some of the most famous wine cities of the Côte d’Or, such as Pommard and Meursault, Chassagne and Puligny. In Beaune you will have time to stroll through the picturesque old town. Furthermore you will visit the Hôtel-Dieu, a former hospital from the late middle ages that was still working until the beginning of the last century.
- Dijon, the City of Dukes. Travel through vineyards over the “Route des Grands Crus” to the Renaissance palace “Clos du Vougeot,” before continuing on to Dijon, the historic city and capital of Burgundy. In the 14th and 15th centuries, a powerful empire reigned over from the Palace of the Dukes. The great Dukes, such as Philip the Bold, had powers equal to those of the French King. These rich patrons were great advocates of the arts, something that is still apparent in Dijon, considered one of the most beautiful cities in France.