Saone et loire


Before the Roman invasion, the territory currently occupied by the Saône-et-Loire, was inhabited by the tribe of the Aedui. Autun, then known as Bibracte, formed their capital. Become allies of the Romans, the Aedui were particularly favored by the conquerors, and Emperor Constantine resided some time at Autun.

Throughout the period of disorganization of the Bas-Empire, the banks of the Saône were devastated by the barbarians, the Huns first, the Burgundians then. To the 6th century, their domination gave way to that of the Franks, after the victory of Clovis, then this territory became part of the Duchy of Burgundy. the country was divided into townships that were the origin of the independent counties of the Autunois, the Maconnais, Chalonnais and Charolais.

The Autunois saw Christianity as early as the 11th century of the new era with the preaching of saint Andoche who was martyred. This country, ravaged first during the civil wars of the Roman empire, was very prosperous under the reign of Constantine.

The Mâconnais, whose history is intertwined with that of the Autunois Roman and Merovingian periods, became a hereditary count under the Kings of the second race. In 1245, the Countess Alix made assignment to St. Louis, and since that time, except during a few years of the reign of Charles VII, it belonged to the royal domain.

The Chalonais, which the Romans appreciated the military importance, became, after having been successively devastated by the Germans, the Helvetii, the Huns, the Burgundians, the Saracens and the Normans, an important part of the Kingdom of Burgundy. Its first hereditary Earl was Theodoric I, whose sovereignty passed, in 1247, the House of Burgundy. He was very experienced in civil and religious wars of the middle ages and the 16th century.

Charolais history merges with the General history of the Aedui in the Burgundian and Roman period; It was erected as a County under the administration of the Franks. Until the 13th century, important facts are missing to this country. The count of Clermont, son of St. Louis, by her marriage to the granddaughter of Hugues IV, Duke of Burgundy, became a starter of this fief which still fell within the Duchy of Burgundy. Philippe Hardi the bought - le - 60 000 gold francs. It was Louis XI, which brings it to the France in 1477 after the death of Charles the bold. However, he returned to the House of Spain until 1684, was attributed to the grand Condé for price of the services he had rendered to the Spain and definitively acquired by Louis XV, in 1761.

The Revolution was greeted with much enthusiasm in the Saône-et-Loire, and during the campaigns of 1814 and 1815, its inhabitants deployed against the invaders most heroic patriotism.

In 1790, the France territorial realignment, the Saône-et-Loire was formed of Charolais, the Mâconnais, the Autunois and the Chalonnais, who were part of the former province of Burgundy.


The Department takes its name from the 2 major rivers that traverse it. By the Saône River, tributary of the Rhone, it sends its waters to the Mediterranean; by the Loire, to the Atlantic. It includes in the North zone of crystalline forested mountains, the Morvan, which belongs to the eastern edge of the Massif central and was relieved by the backlash from the Alpine folding. the highest peaks of the Morvan lie in the Department. To the Southwest, it extends into the Autunois, series of average altitude hills cut depressions occupied in the tertiary era by Lakes; further to the South and Southwest lie the mountains of Charolais and Brionnais, rich countries of fattening. The right bank of the Saône is bordered by the mountains of the Mâconnais and Beaujolais limestone ridges.

On the left bank extends the hummocky plain of Bresse, formed by Quaternary lacustrine deposits. The Burgundian continental type climate is healthy and temperate; Morvan relates to the climate of the central Massif and knows a significant snow. The Department is rich in agricultural resources: the vines and wines of world renown; the breeding of charolais cattle and poultry of Bresse. Industrial resources are also important and varied: Blanzy/montceau coalfield; Metallurgy in le Creusot, Gueugnon, to Chalon; ceramic in Digoin, Paray, Charolles; textile and chemical industries.


The richness and diversity of the artistic heritage of the Saône-et-Loire is an anthology of the history of art. The prehistoric period is represented by the remains of Solutré and Chassey who gave their name to (the Solutrean) Palaeolithic or Neolithic periods (the chasséen culture). The Celtic time testify the remains of the oppidum of Bibracte on mont Beuvray. of the Gallo-Roman era, the numerous monuments of Autun. Romanesque art flourished in the 11th and 12th and has produced close to 300 churches: next to prestigious buildings such as Cluny, Autun, Tournus or -le-Monial, the churches of Brancion, Saint-Martin de Laives, Chapaize, those of the Brionnais (Semur-en-Brionnais or Anzy-le-Duc) illustrate the fullness of the Burgundian novel. Civil architecture is represented at all times: feudal period with the castles of layers, Sandman, the shelf, Berzé-le-Châtel, Rully, the village and the castle of Brancion. Renaissance-le-Monial City Hall, the old houses of Mâcon, the Château de Sully; the 17th with the stables of the Château de Chaumont in Saint-Bonnet-de-Joux, Pierre-de-Bresse and Cormatin Châteaux; the 18th with the hotel from town of Givry, Digoine Palinges and St-Aubin-sur-Loire castles. Industrial architecture has left an archetype with the Château de la Verrerie, le Creusot. Finally, we should remember the collective architecture of picturesque old districts to Autun, Chalon and Macon, Cluny and a remarkable rural habitat, including the houses of winemakers.

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