Stage town for the first time Chief town of a canton in Ain.
Population: 5,000 (Châtillonnais.es), 39,500 in the Communauté de communes de la Dombes.
Personalities: Saint Vincent-de-Paul, Philippe de Commerson (botanist), Jeanne Barret (first woman to circumnavigate the globe, 18th century), Charles Perraud (cycling).
Specialities: carp from the Dombes. Frogs. Pond fish goujonnettes. Water game. Breadillon from Châtillon-sur-Chalaronne. Wines from Bugey.
Sport: Vaillante châtillonnaise (handball), Football club Dombes Bresse, Archers châtillonnais (archery).
Events: Paris-Nice, Tour de l'Ain, Critérium du Dauphiné.
Economy: leading companies located in the area: Mylan (pharmacy), MSA (health), Gallet. A rich fabric of small and medium-sized businesses. Tourism (Parc des Oiseaux). Dombes business park.
Culture and festivals: La Ronde des Mots (shows all year round). National Festival of Contemporary Amateur Theatre (Ascension). Musicales du Parc des Oiseaux (August and September). Cuivres en Dombes (July). Exhibition Fair (April).
Labels: Green resort. Remarkable site of taste. Most beautiful detours in France. Town and art trades. Town in bloom (****)
Websites / FB / Twitter / Insta: www.chatillon-sur-chalaronne.fr / www.ccdombes.fr / www.dombes-tourisme.com / www.ain.fr
CHÂTILLON-SUR-CHALARONNE AND CYCLING
This county town of 5,000 souls can already boast a fine cycling past. The medieval city has already hosted the Critérium du Dauphiné, Paris-Nice, the Tour de l'Ain and the Tour de l'Avenir on several occasions. It was only logical that the Tour de France should end up stopping here. The last time a high-level race passed through the town was last year, in the Tour de l'Ain, where Châtillon was the start of a stage won in Val Revermont by Jake Stewart (Groupama-FDJ). In the 2012 Tour de l'Avenir, it was Dutch rider Moreno Hofland who raised his arms. A rider born in Châtillon, Charles Perraud, took part in the 1906 Tour de France.
Castle of Châtillon-sur-Chalaronne
Construction: 11th century.
History: built by the lords of Châtillon around the year 1000, it saw the birth of Saint Étienne de Châtillon, the future Carthusian. In 1272, it fell to the Counts of Savoy who found it strategically interesting. In 1598, Henri IV declared war on Savoy. Bresse was invaded and the castle of Châtillon was razed to the ground. All that remained was the enclosure with its pointed entrance door and the foundations of four of the seven towers it originally had.
Current destination: a major rehabilitation work has enabled the four towers to be raised and the site to be made safe, which now offers an exceptional view when arriving from Bourg-en-Bresse. Numerous historical shows are held there in summer.
Listed as: Historical Monument since 1927.
Les Halles (Market Hall)
Construction: 1440 and 1670.
History: The market house was replaced in 1440 by a cathedral-like hall: 80-m long, 20-m wide and 10-m high. The building, divided into three bays, is supported by huge oak pillars on which the framework, also made of oak, rests. Partly destroyed in 1670 by fire, the builidng was rebuilt identically thanks to the generosity of the Countess of Châtillon, who authorised the population to take the necessary wood from her forest in Tanay. Today, they are used every Saturday morning for the fresh produce market and as a shelter for open-air events when the weather is bad.
Listed as: historical monument in 1988.
Châtillon-sur-Chalaronne Hospice (Hospital)
Construction: 18th and 19th century.
History: it is an old hospital already in use in the Middle Ages but actually built in its present form in 1727.
Current destination: it now houses part of the Traditions and Life Museum. Opened in 1996, the museum allows visitors to visit the former apothecary of the hospice: woodwork (from the 19th century), Meillonnas earthenware and above all (in the tea-room) a triptych dating from 1527.
Listed as: Historical Monument since 1982.
House of Saint-Vincent-de-Paul or House of Monsieur Beynier
Construction: 16th century.
History: Vincent de Paul stayed in this house after his appointment as Archbishop of Lyon in 1617. Due to the unavailability of the presbytery, Vincent-de-Paul rented a room from Mr Beynier, the owner of the place. It was in this room, located on the second floor, that he thought, prayed and drafted in August 1617 a regulation for visiting, serving and caring for the needy. He gave this text, in the form of a charter, to noble and fervent ladies who took the name of the Confraternity of the Ladies of Charity. In 1878, the Daughters of Charity acquired the building and the neighbouring house in order to set up one of their communities. Work was then undertaken to merge the two buildings. In 1887, a chapel was built on the site of Vincent-de-Paul’s room.
Listed as: Maison des Illustres since 2012.
Construction: 14th and 15th century.
History: gate belonging to the fortified city wall, built from 1272 to 1321. In the past, a drawbridge allowed access to the moat, but the demolition of the gates was ordered by Louis XVI because they “hampered traffic”. The Revolution saved the Villars gate, which did not have time to be pulled down. In the 18th century, the building was transformed into a mansion.
Listed as: Historical Monument since 1926.
Model Train Museum
Started in the 1980s, this huge 200m² animated model is made up of real or imaginary sets and buildings. It reproduces life in miniature with realism and in the smallest detail. Its creator, Patrick Crolle, has put into this miniature show all his sense of observation, a lot of meticulousness and a touch of humour. The train passes through a reconstruction of the Brotteaux station in Lyon, the Alps and a village in Provence.
Carp in all forms
Carp are at home in the ponds of the Dombes and can be found on the market in the Halles de Châtillon-sur-Chalaronne in all forms: fillets (often served with red butter), terrine, goujonnettes and even sausage (with a sorrel sauce)!
Painillon de Châtillon
The story goes that this delicacy was created in 1658 during the visit of Mademoiselle de Montpensier, granddaughter of Henry IV and sovereign of the Dombes. The Petit Pain de Châtillon (i.e. painillon), a saffron-flavoured delicacy, was made by the town's Ursuline nuns and was reputed to have anti-malarial properties. Today the recipe has been revisited to achieve a perfect balance of flavours between saffron and almond cream. Blonde or coated with chocolate, these little sweets can be found at Ain Délice in Châtillon-sur-Chalaronne.