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Thursday, January 6, 2011

Holidays in Saone-Et-Loire, Burgundy, France

Sully Castle, Sully, Saone et Loire, Burgundy,...Image via WikipediaBy Phil Hanlon

The area of Saone-et-Loire in southern Burgundy is named after the two rivers that flow through it. Visitors can hike on the riverbanks of both the Saone and the Loire and even enjoy a swim to cool off. It is possible to hire canoes to get a different perspective on the scenery and there are other organised boat trips, if you want to learn more about the natural environment from a local expert. Hire bicycles or take a horse ride around the countryside to see as much as possible in one day or you could splash out on a hot air balloon ride to see the landscape of the two rivers spread out below.
Going Underground
Saone-et-Loire is home to a number of spectacular prehistoric caves. The caves of Aze, near the town of Riverolles, include many underground waterfalls, lakes, fossils, and even bear skeletons! Meanwhile, the caves of Blanot feature a huge collection of the underground features stalactites and stalagmites and the path descends to a depth of 80 metres. The caves, near the town of Le Bourg, also have a museum detailing local archaeological history and showing fossils and items that were found there.
Chateaux of the Region
There are many chateaux in the region, from small buildings that have now been converted into guesthouses and hotels to impressive medieval fortifications and beautiful country homes. The chateau of Berzes is famous for its 13 towers and the strong and well-preserved 13th century fortifications. Meanwhile, the chateau of Cormatin is much more luxurious, the country home of a marquis built in the 17th century. The main attraction is a spectacular 20 metre stone staircase and the impeccably laid-out gardens. If you like your historic buildings, the Saint Lazare cathedral is also worth a visit. Dating from around 1130, the cathedral is known for the impressive carvings both in the exterior and inside.
Ancient Macon
The main town in Saone-et-Loire is Macon, a settlement that dates from the 2nd century BC. To make sure you don't miss anything, you can download a trail written by the local tourist office, which guides you round the historic streets and provides information on the sights. There are a number of Romanesque churches in the city including the church if St Clement, which has recent been excavated. You can visit the archaeological site by prior arrangement with the town hall.
The Author writes for Holiday Home Rentals who have a selection of Villas in Saone-et-Loire and Villas in France which can be rented direct from their owners.

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