Bourgogne - Chalon-sur-Saône
I arrived to Chalon-sur-Saône midday and was able to walk to my Airbnb which was convenient. My host met me, showed me the apartment and then we started talking. He asked what brought me to Chalon-sur-Saône, I proceeded to tell him that I was interested in buying a holiday home in France. He asked why in France and I told him because I love the people, food, culture, language, architecture and landscape. He offered for me to accompany him to his country home in a small town called Savianges, population 79, later that afternoon to check on their bees. A drive in the country sounded great to me so I agreed to meet him at two.
His wife was home when I went to meet him, we sat and had a coffee and talked. On the way to the country home we stopped at a goat farm that sold goat cheese. Unless I did when I was little, I petted my first goat. I’ve never really been close to a goat before, their eyes are fascinating and slightly creepy. It was an amazing experience, we pulled up to this country home and the owner came out to see what we needed. We went into the cellar and bought goat cheese made from the goats I had just seen. It was fantastic.
We arrived to their country home and he showed me around, then we checked on the bees. He needed to run an errand and on the way back to the house we stopped at a Cave for a brief wine tasting. Since we were in Burgundy it only seemed fit to do so, he showed me the art of tasting wine and I found a white wine that I like. It was a lovely place and the owners were so nice, it was a good experience.
The drive to the country home and the experience was just what I needed. It was so nice of my hosts to show me around. Since I did not have a rental car, it was great to be able to drive through the vineyards and see the landscape of the area.
The next day I took myself on a walking tour. I went down the street to see the Obelisque Commenoratif and the Fountaine de Chalon. The fountain was very pretty and is in a small park. Then I walked over to the Parc Geroges Nouelle. This park was fantastic. They have many birds, I guess a bird sanctuary of sorts. There is also a botanical garden with a small pond which was quite nice. It was very peaceful there and I think in the summer and good weather it will be beautiful. I can see going there and taking a break, having a picnic, reading a book. Which is what I am looking for in a park.
After spending some time at the park, I went to find the Chalon Cathedral and the Place of Saint Vincent which is the main square. The church is quite gorgeous and the towers remind me ever so slightly of Notre Dame in Paris. I found a cute cafe and had lunch. Cafe Du Verre Galant, it was the perfect choice and was delicious. I had Camembert which came with the whole wheel baked, potatoes, a simple salad and bread. It was simply delicious! Then I topped it off with a cafe au lait. Once I had my fill I went to the La Saone (river). I’m not saying it’s the Seine by any means, but it was quite spectacular in it’s own right. It is very wide, has an ancient bridge and houses an island in the middle.
I walked over the Pont Saint Laurent to the island. The old hospital is there with old barracks. I ventured down the main street of Rue de Strausbourg. It was too cute, lined with restaurants, cafes and shops. After I roamed the island, I walked back to the main land and sat for a bit on the Quai des Messageries which was very pleasant.
After a rest, I went to the Musee Niepce and it was great! I was there for quite some time. Niepce is known for inventing photography and was from Chalon-sur-Saone, born in seventeen sixty five. He died at age sixty eight in eighteen thirty three. The museum was obviously photography based and it was a great museum. It was two floors and much larger than I anticipated. Also, it was free which I found to be amazing. At the end of the museum before the gift shop there was a large room filled with several artists work. I’m unsure if this is a permanent or temporary exhibit. It was fascinating and one of the best things I’ve ever seen in a museum. One artist had a take on Bumble and had put his picture on hundreds of photographs of different people of different ages. The depiction was humorous and realist at it’s best.
Another artist stalked her ex on Facebook and Photoshopped her photo into all of the new photos he had with his new girlfriend. I couldn’t quite tell if this was to be a joke or if she really did this and was crazy. Maybe a bit of both. A different artist compiled over sixty photos taken from previous boyfriends in their point of view. I really liked that take, seeing yourself from someones perspective. To publish those was very brave.
After the museum, I walked over to see the Eglise Saint Pierre. It is located near a smaller square and is very pleasant. The Musee Vivant-Denon is also in this area, I did not stop in today. I can only handle one museum a day. After roaming for a bit I stopped to see Tour de Saudon.
The following day, I went to the Ile Saint-Laurent to have lunch at the Indian Restaurant. It was a nice day today in the sun so I sat outside on the cute street lined with restaurants, cafes and boutiques. It was quite pleasant. I adore the little island. After lunch, I walked back over the bridge to the old town and did some shopping. There are many shops with lots of good options. Everyone was very nice but not many people speak English, which is understandable for a small town in Europe. I need to work on my French as quickly as possible. After some shopping I stopped for a crepe and a cafe au lait. Oh the joys of being in France.
I ran into my Airbnb host when I got home that evening and she invited me over for an apertif. It was a nice way to spend my last evening in Chalon-sur-Saône. I am happy to have had such a lovely experience here and to make friends with my hosts. I have decided Chalon-sur-Saône will be the destination of my holiday home in France. I’ll keep you updated as this journey continues!