Three main towns: Chalon-sur-Saône, Mâcon, Autun
If you've heard of Chalon-sur-Saône, it's most likely thanks to the street arts festival that takes place at the end of July, "Chalon dans la Rue". Even without the artists and jugglers, Chalon is still a great place to visit the rest of the year too! You can journey all the way back to the beginning of photography at the Musée Nicéphore Nièpce (named after the inventor himself). Take your time exploring the area on foot or by bike along the banks of the Sâone, visit the cathedral, and much more.
Mâcon is the perfect example of the easy-going atmosphere of the south of France and Burgundian hedonism. There are so many delicious specialities to try here, including wine tastings (especially Pouilly Fuissé), you can take a leisurely stroll along the banks of the Saône, and then admire the historic treasures. Even in Ancient Times, the Romans realised that this town was in a strategic location along the Via Agrippa, the main route through the newly Roman Gaul.
The Gallo-Roman era also left its mark on Autun. When Emperor Augustus founded Augustodunum,the tribal capital of the Aedui (Gallic tribe), his goal was to create a small-scale replica of Rome! Such a project has obviously left its mark, and today you can see ruins of the fortifications, Janus temple, ancient amphitheatre, and much more.
Mâcon was used as an stopover airfield in 1930
In the late 1930s, Mâcon was a popular place for British travellers to stop over on their way to Africa or India. Back then, the airline Imperial Airways used seaplanes and so needed to stop in the Sâone to fuel up. The passengers would take advantage of this stopover to taste the culinary delights of Burgundy!
Cluny and the surrounding area
Cluny is a very popular religious and tourist destination. We must admit that the abbey here has got to be one of the greatest spiritual adventures of the Middle Ages.
After admiring the abbey, take a stroll through the streets of the monastic town centre. There are almost 200 medieval houses here that are most definitely worth the detour.
Beyond the town, the surrounding countryside stretches before you, with rolling hills, Mâconnais vines weighed down by bunches of grapes, elegant châteaus such as Cormatin, and the places where French poet Lamartine left his mark.
Cluny Abbey bell towers
View of the town of Cluny
Château de Cormatin
Charolais-Brionnais, what a great place to be! Treat yourself to Charolles beef and Charolais goat's cheese.
Once you've satisfied your hunger, give your eyes a treat with the Romanesque churches, including the Basilica of Paray-le-Monial, and the churches of Semur-en-Bionnais and Anzy-le-Duc. There are just as many of them as Charolais cattle! If you want to see them all, you'll need to follow one of the special sightseeing trails.
Then hop on your bike and cycle along the greenway cycle paths alongside the Loire and canals. We recommend a revitalising stopover at Bourbon-Lancy thermal baths.