2022 Tour de France

See you on Thursday 14 October for the announcement of the route of the 2022 Tour de France.

Stage town for the 3rd time
Town of Saône-et-Loire (71)

Population: 21,782 (Creusotins, Creusotines)
Specialities: vineyards (Côtes Chalonnaises and Mâconnaises), Charolais cattle breeding, pavé bourguignon (a mixture of ham and sausage)
Personalities: Eugène Schneider (industrialist and politician, 19th century), Claudie Haigneré (astronaut), Marie-Pierre Cazey, Robin Renucci (actors), Christophe Alévêque (comedian), Pierre-Michel Bonnot (former journalist for L'Equipe), Jean-Christophe Péraud (cycling), Fabrice Moreau, (skiff, Olympic medallist Athens 2004)
Sport: Club Olympique Creusot Bourgogne (rugby), JOC Jeunesse Ouvrière Creusotine (football), Creusot Cycling.
Economy: public administration, education, human health, social action, industry, etc.
Culture: Beaux Bagages summer festival (theatre, circus, music, dance, etc.).
Motto: "Fac ferrum fer spem" (Working iron brings hope)
Signature: The city of all energies
Labels: Villes et villages fleuris 3* / label ville internet @@@
Websites / FB / Twitter / Insta : www.le-creusot.fr / www.creusotmontceautourisme.fr / www.creusot-montceau.org / www.saoneetloire71.fr / www.destination-saone-et-loire.fr / www.facebook.com/villeducreusot / www.facebook.com/saoneetloire / twitter.com/saoneetloire / www.instagram.com/saoneetloire

Chateau de la Verrerie au Creusot © Ville du Creusot
Bogie du TGV ayant fait le record du monde de vitesse exposé devant l'hotel de ville du Creusot © Ville du Creusot
Bibliothèque universitaire dans l'atelier le plus vieux du Creusot © Ville du Creusot
Hotel de ville du Creusot © Ville du Creusot

LE CREUSOT, A STORY

With the Schneider dynasty

It is impossible to talk about Le Creusot without mentioning the Schneider family, who ruled the town for more than a century and gave it its worldwide reputation. The origins of Le Creusot date back to 1782, when Louis XVI had a Royal Foundry and then the Queen's Crystal Works established in this coal-rich hamlet. This was followed by a forge which was bought in 1836 by the Schneider brothers, Adolphe and Eugène. This event marked a turning point in the history of the town, which saw its production diversify and be exported all over the world, mainly in the fields of transport and energy. The Schneiders developed a paternalistic policy, building housing, schools, hospitals, retirement homes, places of worship, etc.
Traces of this glorious history remain in Creusot, notably with its most emblematic monument: the Marteau Pilon (Drop-Hammer), visible at the entrance to the town. This imposing 100-ton machine, designed in 1877, was the most powerful in the world for many years, enabling it to forge parts of spectacular dimensions.
Despite the economic crises, the city has always been able to take advantage of its many assets to bounce back. It remains an industrial town with an international reputation thanks to its many large global groups. But Le Creusot is also a student town, a town of culture, art, tourism and sport. It offers a pleasant living environment combining the pleasures of nature and quality facilities that attract many families every year.

Vue sur les usines du Creusot © Ville du Creusot

LE CREUSOT AND CYCLING

Le Creusot has already been visited twice by the Tour de France for decisive time trials at the very end of the event. In 1998, Jan Ullrich won his third stage of this eventful edition over the 52 km of a time trial that started in Montceau-les-Mines, beating Marco Pantani to 2:35, but this gap still allowed the Italian to keep a 3:21 lead on the German in the general classification before the finish in Paris. In 2006, it was Ukrainian Serhiy Honchar, the time-trial world champion in 2000, who won his second stage of this Tour between Le Creusot and Montceau-les-Mines, ahead of Andreas Klöden and Oscar Pereiro, the future overall winner.


SIGHTS:

Marteau Pilon (Sledgehammer)
The principle of the steam hammer seems to have been invented at the same time in Britain and in France. It was invented by James Nasmyth (1808-1890), a Scottish inventor, and François Bourdon (1797-1865), an engineer and director of the mechanical engineering workshops of the Schneider company in Le Creusot. In 1876, Établissements Schneider built a 100-ton power hammer. Installed in the Grande Forge, it was then the most powerful in the world. With its impressive dimensions and useful mass (21-metres high and a total weight of 1,300 tonnes), it made it possible to produce increasingly large parts. When it was in action, its sound could be heard for several kilometres around. At the beginning of the 20th century, hydraulic presses appeared and the years of the drop hammer were numbered. It was dismantled in the 1930s. Nowadays, the sledgehammer stands at the southern entrance to the town of Le Creusot, at the crossroads of 8 May 1945. It remains the symbol of the city and of the triumphant industry. The Creusot sledgehammer has been listed as a "historic heritage of mechanical engineering" by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.

The chimney of the forge
A historical monument in Le Creusot, the Forge chimney was built in 1870. It was one of the first riveted sheet metal chimneys, intended to replace brick chimneys. To celebrate the passage to the year 2000, it was illuminated by lighting designer Vittorio Sparta and won third prize in the national competition for illuminated towns.

Château de la Verrerie
It all began at the end of the 18th century when the great crystal fashion reached France. The Manufacture Royale des Cristaux et Émaux (Crystal and Enamel Royal Manufacture) of Queen Marie-Antoinette was set up in Le Creusot in 1786 and operated until 1832, employing nearly 350 workers in the production of crystal, torches, chandeliers and tableware, which were highly prized by the aristocracy and bourgeoisie. The buildings were acquired in 1837 by the Schneider Frères et Cie company and became the residence of the Schneider family, who refurbished, embellished and renamed the crystal works "Château de la Verrerie". Today it houses the Museum of Man and Industry, the splendid Small Theatre that Eugène II Schneider had built in one of the conical halls, and the Pavilion of Industry, located in the outbuildings of the castle.

The park of the Glassworks
The Verrerie (Glassworsk) Park covers an area of 28 hectares. A real green lung, it displays dozens of species of trees, including many hundred-year-old giants. Near the castle, formal gardens and a huge panoramic terrace make it possible to admire the central lawn which flows down to the pond. There is also the park's aquatic complex, which was completely renovated in 2018 and includes a 25-m indoor pool, a 50-m outdoor pool, a diving pit, a wellness area and more.

The 241-P 17 locomotive
Manufactured by Schneider in 1949, the steam locomotive model 241 P 17 was used for high-speed traction, with a commercial speed of 120 kph. It is the only steam locomotive of this type and power (4000 hp) still in service in Europe since the series was discontinued in the late 1960s. The 241 P17 holds a mileage record of 1,741,865 km. It was relaunched in 1969 to go to a railway equipment exhibition and was finally brought to Le Creusot in 1971. After 13 years of restoration, it was put back into service in 2006 to travel the railways of France and Europe.

Parc des Combes
Developed from the 1980s onwards under the impetus of enthusiasts, the Parc des Combes is now the 2nd most popular tourist destination in Saône-et-Loire. It offers families the chance to enjoy some twenty attractions, from the most gentle to the most sensational, in a privileged setting. A steam locomotive dating from 1947, listed as a historical monument and recently restored, offers trips across France and Europe.

The Arc
Established in the heart of the city in 1968, the Arc is a cultural action centre that was awarded the Scène nationale (National Stage) label in 1991. About thirty shows (theatre, music, circus, comedy, dance) are performed there each season. The Arc also hosts artists in residence and exhibitions of national importance such as that of Pierre Soulages in 2019.

Photo antique: la fonderie au Creusot avec le marteau-pilon © Getty/ilbusca
Esplanade S. Veil et cheminée de la grande forge au Creusot © Ville du Creusot
Château de la Verrerie au Creusot © Photo Club Creusotin
Parc du Château de la Verrerie © Creative Commons 3.0/Christophe Finot
Locomotive 241P17 devant la Grande Forge du Creusot © Photo Club Creusotin
Parc Touristique des Combes au Creusot © Ville du Creusot

TO EAT:

Charolais beef

The Charolais breed is well known to gourmets for its tasty qualities. In the Charolais region, the cradle of the breed, breeders take particular care with the "finishing meadows" where the herds graze. This know-how has been awarded an AOC since 2010 and a PDO since 2014. Contrary to popular belief, this exceptional meat is not eaten "ultra fresh" but after several weeks of cold maturing, which softens the meat and enhances its flavour.
The quality of the meat from Charolais cows raised in the cradle of the breed is due both to the richness of the grassland and to the method of rearing. The cattle grow slowly and graze on the grassland until they are two years old. Before slaughter, the animals are "flowered" by fattening for 4 to 6 months. During this period, the animals can receive a food supplement based on cereals, alfalfa and flax, but above all, they are placed in "finishing meadows", very fertile and well oriented pastures.
Le Creusot town council has signed an agreement with the breeders to supply only Charolais beef to the town's school canteens.

Vache de race Charolaise © Getty/CraigRJD

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