Mâcon

49 millions bottles a year

Burgundy can not be cited without mentioning its gastronomy. While local specialties – snails, goat cheese, Charolais beef, Bresse chicken- are well known, wine is also one of Macon main riches. Some 49 million bottles are produced in the Macon region each year and it is no wonder that the town hosts each year the Great Contest of French wines.

An exemplary industrial restructuring

2012 saw the opening of the Cité de l’Entreprise, an economic hub in the heart of the city which attracted its first businesses and is about to revitalise the town’s industry. On the site of an old tobacco manufacture was built a campus dedicated to innovation and the technologies of information.

Cité de l’entreprise - © Ville de MâconMacon way of life - © Ville de Mâcon
Four previous stages
Population: 35,100
Prefecture of Saone-et-Loire (71)Economy : wine, port, metallurgy, road transports.
Specialties : snails, wines, Charolais meat, goat cheese, Bresse poultry, Macon wafers, bouchon maconnais (chocolate).
Sport : AS Macon (rugby union), most sporting town in France in 2001.
Celebrities : Alphonse de Lamartine, Claude-Philippe Barthelot de Rambuteau (politician), Georges Duby (historian).
Festivals : Comtes et lumières (Tales and lights).

Timeline

  • 1st century BC

    A small town known as Matisco develops on the site of an old Gallic oppidum.
  • 4th century

    Fortifications are built.
  • Middle ages

    The town becomes the capital of a county linked to the Duchy of Burgundy.
  • 1490

    Construction of the Wooden House.
  • 1564

    King Charles IX visits Macon on a tour of his kingdom and is received by Joan of Navarre, the queen of Protestants and 1,500 Huguenots.
  • 1790

    Macon becomes the prefecture of the Saone-et-Loire department.
  • 1790

    Birth of Alphonse de Lamartine.
  • 1814

    Macon is repeatedly occupied by the Austrians and liberated until the fall of the Empire.
  • 1860

    Construction of the St Pierre church.
  • 1941

    Macon is the first city in Zone Libre.
Alphonse de Lamartine, by Henri Decaisne (Macon museum)
Four previous stages
Population: 35,100
Prefecture of Saone-et-Loire (71)Economy : wine, port, metallurgy, road transports.
Specialties : snails, wines, Charolais meat, goat cheese, Bresse poultry, Macon wafers, bouchon maconnais (chocolate).
Sport : AS Macon (rugby union), most sporting town in France in 2001.
Celebrities : Alphonse de Lamartine, Claude-Philippe Barthelot de Rambuteau (politician), Georges Duby (historian).
Festivals : Comtes et lumières (Tales and lights).

Mâcon and cycling

The two time-trials that the Tour has held in Macon have crowned two of the speciality’s champions. In 1991, Miguel Indurain secured the first of his five titles by beating Gianni Bugno and Greg LeMond. And in 2002, Lance Armstrong also maintained his advantage in the last time-trial.

During the 2011 Critérium du Dauphiné, the stage in Macon provided an opportunity for the young German rider, John Degenkolb, to confirm his entry in the club of highly regarded sprinters, by winning on the banks of the River Saône, at the foot of Lamartine’s statue.

Macon-born Joel Millard took part in four Tours de France between 1972 and 1975. 

Mateo Tosatto won the last stage held in Macon in 2006 in front of Sylvain Chavanel - © Presse SportsIn 2011, John Degenkolb won two stages of the Dauphiné, including one in Macon - © Presse Sports
Four previous stages
Population: 35,100
Prefecture of Saone-et-Loire (71)Economy : wine, port, metallurgy, road transports.
Specialties : snails, wines, Charolais meat, goat cheese, Bresse poultry, Macon wafers, bouchon maconnais (chocolate).
Sport : AS Macon (rugby union), most sporting town in France in 2001.
Celebrities : Alphonse de Lamartine, Claude-Philippe Barthelot de Rambuteau (politician), Georges Duby (historian).
Festivals : Comtes et lumières (Tales and lights).

What to see

Wooden house:

Built between 1490 and 1510, the Wooden House is certainly Macon’s oldest house and undoubtedly the most renowned. Its façade entirely made of timber is decorated with scores of statues often depicting scenes of debauchery. Three arched doors topped with low-reliefs lead inside the house. Topped with two elegant bell-towers, the building is a remarkable monument. Inside, several pieces of furniture are also listed as historical monuments: the low-relief in white marble of the former altar

of the Notre-Dame de Lorette church as well as the marble tombstone of the Beauderon de Senece family.

Old St Vincent:

Close to the ancient oppidum, the two towers and the entrance porch are the only remains of the old cathedral, famous for its Romanesque tympanum. Inside, the models and plans allow visitors to trace the evolution of the building between the 11th and 15th centuries.

Ursulines Museum

The old convent was built around 1675 to let the nuns educate the young women of the nobility and the gentry. After the Revolution, the convent was sued as a prison, barracks and a House of the people before becoming a museum in 1968. 

Wooden House - © Ville de MâconUrsulines museum - © Ville de MâconTown centre and towers of the St Pierre church - © Ville de Mâcon
Four previous stages
Population: 35,100
Prefecture of Saone-et-Loire (71)Economy : wine, port, metallurgy, road transports.
Specialties : snails, wines, Charolais meat, goat cheese, Bresse poultry, Macon wafers, bouchon maconnais (chocolate).
Sport : AS Macon (rugby union), most sporting town in France in 2001.
Celebrities : Alphonse de Lamartine, Claude-Philippe Barthelot de Rambuteau (politician), Georges Duby (historian).
Festivals : Comtes et lumières (Tales and lights).

Looking for Lamartine

One of the most celebrated poets and politicians of his time, Alphonse de Lamartine was born in Macon in 1790, rue des Ursulines, and spent his childhood in nearby Milly. He remained faithful to his native land for the rest of his life and the region still pays homage to him today in many instances. It is with Milly in mind that the pioneer of Romanticism wrote his most famous line: «  inanimate objects, do you possess a soul?  »

Women fuelled his early taste for poetry: a teenage love affair forced his family to send him away to Italy, where he met a young Neapolitan woman who inspired the character of Graziella. He then began a relationship with Julie Charles while taking the waters in Aix-les-Bains in 1816. She died a year later, a mourning which led to the Poetic Meditations. Sixteen years later, the passing of his daughter Julia echoed Julies’ death and was the inspiration behind Gethsemani.

Lamartine then turned to politics and after acting as a consul in Italy, he was elected to Parliament between 1833 and 1851. Briefly named Foreign Affairs minister, he stood for president in 1848 and only obtained a few votes. Ridden with debts, he returned to the Macon region but was forced to sell his house in Milly in 1860. He died in Paris in 1969 and now rests in the family castle in St Point. A Lamartine road, spreading over 50 km, now crosses all the spots which marked his life in the area. It is possible to visit the 12th century St Point castle which became a family property in 1801. Lamartine had it refurbished in the Oxfordian style. The memory of the poet are preserved in the private parts: his bedroom, his office, the dining room and his grave.

In Macon itself, the 17th century Senece Mansion is home to a museum dedicated to Lamartine and his works. Paintings, drawings and some of the writer’s belongings evoke his life and his work, his relationships with the other artists of his time, his attraction for nature and the Middle-East and his political commitment. The village of Milly has been renamed Milly-Lamartine in his honour.
Lamartine house in Milly-Lamartine - © YelkrokoyadeStatue of Lamartine - © Ville de Mâcon
Four previous stages
Population: 35,100
Prefecture of Saone-et-Loire (71)Economy : wine, port, metallurgy, road transports.
Specialties : snails, wines, Charolais meat, goat cheese, Bresse poultry, Macon wafers, bouchon maconnais (chocolate).
Sport : AS Macon (rugby union), most sporting town in France in 2001.
Celebrities : Alphonse de Lamartine, Claude-Philippe Barthelot de Rambuteau (politician), Georges Duby (historian).
Festivals : Comtes et lumières (Tales and lights).
video11/07/2012 

The towns 2012 : visit Macon

Jersey wearers after the prologue

Classifications after the prologue

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