Fragnes and Chalon-sur-Saône



Officially, a few days ago, the European autumn has started. But the whole first September week fooled us in believing in an endless summer. Temperatures were in the high 20th and up to 31 degrees today! No wonder that our tempers were fraying as we had multiple hold-ups in entering some of the 8 locks to Fragnes! Worse off were Aileen and Grahame we had previously met at Rogny. Their barge, the "Le Jeanne Laurent", was third in line behind us and they had to wait for every lock to refill after we and another boat had descended.

The New Zealanders barge finally moored behind us at the quay of Fragnes, about 6 km north of Chalon-sur-Saône.

We had a lovely late afternoon together, cooling down in the shade of hastily pegged up sheets with the obligatory "Safe arrival drinks".



The weather report still predicting 30 degrees by lunchtime, we decided to take the local bus(in this case a car due to lack of passengers) to Chalôn instead of riding  our cycles. And we were glad we did. 

We walked through the old town centre, ambled through the local market and ended up at the quay on the Saône. Opposite lay the island St. Laurent. In the Middle Ages this island had a special standing as the frontier between the Holy Roman Empire and the kingdom of France. 


Behind us, at the quay, stood the statue of Nicéphore Niépce, the inventor of the first photography! (I had never heard of him before and don't ask me to pronounce his name!) Close-by is the wonderful Nicéphore Niépce Museum. This museum shows the history of photography with a display of 250 years of cameras and photo technics, and a great photo exhibition of human faces and postures. 

Crossing the Saint Laurent bridge to the island we found "Rue de Strasbourg" with one restaurant after another.

As usual we chose one where mostly locals ate. I had my favourite salad with warm goats cheese on toast, and finally got to try a glass of the local "Cremant de Bourgogne". Both very delicious!

Our return to Fragnes was not by car this time, but by school bus! We had fun watching a chatty, pushy, bubbly crowd of pupils trying to squash into the bus, only to be reprimanded and put to order by the bus driver. Not having been on a school bus for a "little while " it brought back memories!


Later, as we were sitting on our boat, dark clouds drew up and soon the rain came down.


Is this the end of summer? I guess so. It rained most of the night and nearly all day and the temperature has dropped at least 10 degrees. 

This didn't stop us from returning to town. 


We escaped from the rain by entering a few of the beautiful shops in the old centre,-  only looking! 

We had a coffee under the marquis of Café du Theatre and watched the postman distributing his Saturday mail while being in turn watched by a "lady" and a young man from the windows above.

Then we went on to St. Vincent Cathedral. The cathedral which is another example of a romanesque church with gothic elements is surrounded by old half-timber houses, cafés and restaurants. 


I learned something new about Chalôn: it is the "sister town" of my old neighbourhood "Solingen", a small town in Germany where the well known knives and scissors are made. While having "Oefs en meurette" (poached eggs in a redwine sauce with mushrooms and bacon bits) for lunch we got talking to a couple from Solingen sitting at the next table who had come to get to known their sister town.

© Austin Robinson 2019