Located within the Rhone Alpes Region, this town is in the AIN department of France. This town was named on the castle that was built here around the, river Chalaronne flows through this area.While on one hand theeconomic and commercial dynamics characterize it, on the other hand, the rich heritage and the pleasant living characterize it.
This is one city that has completely focused on the quality of services being offered to the tourists. Withthe locales like four flowers , Grand Prix de Bloom, most famous detours in France , Wille et Metiers d’ Art and Home of the famous, not much is left to imagination of the kind of efforts that have been made to flourish and establish tourism in this area. While the neighboring areas of Belleville and Bourg-n-Bresse are close by, there is a lot of inhouse activity to keep you occupied in this place.
While the whole of the country has its charm and specialties, Chatillon-sur-Chalronne, is a travelers paradise. Apart from the ancient heritage spots and museums, the excursions and hikes are breathtaking too. The city has been placed against the backdrop of natural beauty and this is one place which will make you retreat into peace and tranquility.
When To Go:
The months of winters should be avoided due to the dipping temperatures and occasional heavy snowfall which makes this place cold and wet. While you may be able to roamaround, none of the festivals are celebrated in winters and the outdoor expeditions are also not planned.
The best trips to this place are made in the months of March till October, when the weather is just perfect to enjoy bright sunny days and days filled with activity. The place is beautifully decorated in the festivals and the events that keep happening almost every month. Plan your trip such that you may be able to participate in atleast one of them to have a taste of local culture and traditions:
The Halls and the medieval center
While this placein itself is a huge cathedral and a cultural center that will keep you occupied, the outreach of this site is as beautiful as the place itself. The edges of the river Chalaronne flow and meander through, under the bridges.
This river is a beautiful spot and you can take a long walk along the bridges. While you are walking along the bridges, making your day a delight, you will see this building in the backdrop and the sight is breathtaking. This market house was replaced in 1440 by the Halles to look like a cathedral. Al a length of 80 m, a width of 20m and a height of 10m, this sacred building has atleast three bays which are supported by massive oak pillars and the structure also entirely rests on oaks. Though it was destroyed by a fire in the late 1600’s, it was reconstructed exactly like before, thanks to the concerns and generosity of the Comtesses de Chatillon which allowed the residents to procure the necessary wood from the nearby forests. Every Saturday morning is a fest here, where they welcome all the tourists and the shelter for the outdoor events is always in place.
They say the weather surprises you here. This is followed by the half-timbered houses of the place, and also, beautifully placed is the CommersonStreet which is the lifeline of the town. Among the buildings, the “Attic Salt” is the oldest and the “Door of the Villars is the remnant of the fort that once used to be in the city. Regional Ethnography, Major history, history of medicine and a hospital of rich heritage has the diverse collections of the relative subjects here and it will take you an entire day to browse through all of
the halls and the Medieval Center
The Municipal Museum
Opened in 1996, this
targets the lives of the locals and is defined as aplace of memories. The traditional skills, actions and social customs of the locals re very well exhibited here. It focusses on the lives of Bresse and Dombes of the early 20th century.
There have been several social reforms to make the life of the peasants easier as compared to what it used to be and two donors,Sarda-Cochet donated hundreds of items to this museum to create an effective display of the life of the peasants. The objects displayed include, agricultural implements, furniture and costumes, thematic scenes, the expertise of a weaver, skills that were used by the ironing man and everything that could be related to the painstaking efforts that were made by the weavers.
The best display is of the devastation that was caused by the world war. While war is evil at large the damage it does, lingers for many years to come. The war exhibits reflect upon the pain of the person and the damage it did to their lives, whether emotional or financial.
Apocathery of the Hospital
This is a quick trip you can make for the discovering the finest examples of the regional hospitals and their heritage. Approximately built in the 13thcentury, this is the first hospital that opens to both thee wards.
It was renovated in 1814, and has many treasures. So while this hospital was aimed at preventive medicine and its research, agrand display of almost 100 earthen pots show how , the medicine was discovered and researched, in those times. These earthen ware pots or the Meillonnas, make the entire gallery an eye opener. When youenter the tea room, you can easily spot extensive work of religious art. Here murals, paintings and artifacts are based on the themes of baptism, marriage and religion.
Apart from the
Apocathery of the Hospital
, there are various public schools, work councils, clubs and local and regional population thrives in full bloom. Tourists from within the country and internationally, visit this place for enjoying the richness of the collections that have been displayed both here at the hospital and at the municipal museum.
Museum of Miniature Train
At the foot of the Medieval Halls, one of the best and polished miniature railway networks has been made. Covering an area of almost a kilometer, 30 trains’ withalmost 400 train cars come and go in the center of the villages and line the houses and stations.
Thousands of lights illuminate the sceneries. The most famous train station of the Broxette Lyon historical monument is also replicated in a modular form here. While you may wish to take a ride, this
museum of miniature Train
was basically built to explain the trains and their routes to the locals and the tourists.
It has become a major tourist attraction now. The entire experience of sitting in the train and chugging around the city is exciting in itself. Hop on to let your childhood return to you.
A total of 8 hectares of land that have been dedicated to Mother Nature, this
is a multi-faceted structure. This was opened for public visiting in 2010 and since then it has been a thoroughly enjoyed spot by the locals as well as the tourists. Earlier it was a private property that belonged to Henri Navel, and he contributed almost 12 hectares as a tribute to the trees and bio diversity of this area.
There are353 trees here that have placards placed in front of them and read the messages that have been written to be conveyed to the masses. There is also a spotting area for the QuercusRysophylla, a Mexican Oak Leaves, and you can also try spotting other famous varieties of trees that have been grown here with versatility and care. Most of the trees grown here are almost extinct and not spotted in their original habitats. But here they are grown with care and patience. It is almost like an initiative where you do not want to let a tree become extinct and you can actually do anything to save it.
Apart from the trees you may also enjoy a walk in the Arboretum. This would give you an opportunity to notice insects and birds such as owls and chickadees. You may also find a separate stretch of this area, growing plants in a natural system, and welcoming lizards into it. This trip is also about enjoying the weather to the fullest. So while you are talking the long walks under the trees, you do get shaded by them and the air is fresh with the fragrance of the various plants and tress grown in this area.
The weekly market of Chatillon
Les Halles due to its large number and size, made this valley hold trade and commerce in a very high regard and every Saturday morning this little past life comes back to the present life of the people. There are around300 meters of stalls that line the entire place. While some shops see the food and the groceries, some stalls also do sell the meat and sausages.
The specific characteristic of this place is that it sells everything fresh. Not much of the stale produce is sold here. It has become a life habit of the locals here to wait for this
weekly marketof Chatillon
every week and then shop for their necessities from here. They have been doing so from ages.There are also flower nursery stalls here that sell exclusive varieties of plants and saplings. And they make special packs for you to carry the plant out of the country. For the delight of the children and the adults, some animals and birds are also exhibited also. The city center also has many stalls for manufactured goods.
You can find stalls of hundreds of shoes, clothes, furniture and other items. For this little city this is the shopping arena. And if you are here you have to be going to this place and shop till you drop. And if you are tired you can relish fresh and healthy strawberries, walnuts and fruits to make you feel refreshed.
The Racecourse of Bel Air
This is a huge leisure site to discover. Located amidst the lush greenplantations, hectares of land welcome you for a day of funfilled activity with the horses. While the horses here are well bred and healthy, the racing tournaments both local and international make his site the pace to be in. Steady race walks let youenjoy the thumping of hoofs right beside you.
This is a very common tourist spot and so you may find it crowded. Many picnic joints and food stalls also let you taste the local food. So choose the delight that you want to taste and sit back and relax while you watch the horses in action. And if you know how to ride a horse, you can take one and enjoy a horseback ride too.
While you may wander off alone if you are an expert at horse riding, there are manyinstructors to help you enjoy your activity if you are not an expert at it. So adore the horses at the
Racecourse of Bel Air
and have a ride for fun!
Enjoying the Festivals
While this little city has many delights to offer, it is still a quiet place as compared to the others and if you really wantto see the crowds assembling with a lot of dance and noise in the background, you should be
enjoying the festivals
here.The national festival of art and theatre is held annually in May and is celebrated in order to Honour the contemporary theatre and the upcoming authors of this region. There are many workshops, blogs and public groups which are formed to Honour the festival.
While the Brass Dombes Festival is also a delight, the festival of “Cirque Cream” is not to be missed for its activities and skits. The museum of “Traditions and life” or the old hospital also holdsmany gigs throughout the year. While every Sunday has a full fletched program on the display of the tales of the folklore, May, August and October has a schedule of exhibitions for the tourists.
There is also a contest held for the children in July and august and the national days are celebrated with fervor. The locals assimilate in one place and the activities increase. Apart from these annual festivals, the potters and the local artisans of this area make a display exhibit of their craft every two years.
While you may an avid fan of hikes and trails, and the landscape of this city is just perfect for it, you may also like to spend some time experimenting the other
that are offered here for the tourists.
While the Helicopter flight over Burgeone, takes you soaring high in the skies, it gives you a bird eye view of the city beneath you. The landscape that you can see from miles above is not a sight to be missed. Priced at economical rates, this helicopter ride is one of the most famous tourist activities here and you may to make a reservation in advance due to the large crowds it attracts.
You may also wish to spend a few hours in the Natural perfume making workshop here. We all know that France is very famous for its cosmetics and perfumes and while we are all fascinated by the quality of the perfumes and cosmetics.The process of making this world class product is even better when you see it in person.Thetour explains how the perfumes are made and the process of extraction of scents. This is a mind boggling experience and you can participate in many workshops and win freebies also. What could be better than winning a free sample of world class perfume?
Alternatively you can satisfy your adventure quest by hiking up the SolutreRock. This one hour of a hike will leave you breathless, both with the exertions and also with the amazing views of the lands scape that the top offers.
You may also like to talk a walk around the Eveoges Walking trail. The shadow of the tress makes it a blissful experience and the fragrance of the foliage is enough to lift your mood.
Hike around the lake Oignin. While this terrain is easy to surpass you may also face some difficult stretches. This hike takes you atop the hill surrounding the lake and the view from there needs the shutterbugs clicking continuously. So pull out you sunglasses and running shoes and keep walking up the mountain to see the true side of France!
While France may seem to be a country which is very expensive and heavy on the pockets, the interiors of the country are plain and simple. People engage in day to day activities and do not aim at much. Vey warm and welcoming to the tourists, France knows how to make you feel comfortable. While tourism is a thriving industry generating most of the income in this country, the urban sectors are full of heritage and history which amuses all.
So plan a trip to this ancient town and you would have the best time ever!