Mâcon travel guide

Cities and towns

About Mâcon

Mâcon in Burgundy is a beautiful city surrounded by vineyards and châteaux.

Located in a renowned wine region, Mâcon was a river port during Gallo-Roman times as the River Saône passes through the city. Today, the river is home to a 15 hectare marina with 150 berths for small boats and yachts. Mâcon is a city of fine architecture and its religious buildings are some of its most notable attractions. The two cathedrals of St Vincent are each worth a look - the remnants of the old cathedral (Cathédrale Vieux) contains models and plans showing how the building evolved throughout the 11th to 15th centuries whilst the new cathedral (Cathédrale Nouvelle), built in the early 1800s, is a Neoclassical structure with some brilliant stained glass windows. The Eglise St Pierre is also not to be missed, a Romanesque style church that was built in the 19th century and whose two steeples dominate the city skyline. A local curiosity is the Maison de Bois whose entire facade is covered in wood and decorated with ribald statues of men, monkeys and masked figures. Located on the corner of the Place aux Herbes, the Maison de Bois is the oldest house in the city and is now home to a restaurant and bar. Inside the Hôtel-Dieu you'll discover the remarkable apothecary's shop, the Apothicairerie de Hôtel-Dieu, a wonderfully preserved 18th century wood-panelled room containing chemistry pots and pill boxes from the past.

Explore the history of the area at the Ursuline museum inside the former Ursuline convent which has a long history itself and holds collections of local archaeology, the story of life in the vineyards and art from the past 5 centuries. Uncover the life of Mâcon's most famous son, the Romantic poet and politician, Alphonse de Lamartine, with visits to the Lamartine museum and the Château de Lamartine which was the poet's home and contains his complete literary works. You can also follow the Lamartine route, a 50km walk through the countryside that inspired Lamartine. There are many routes for walkers and cyclists including a 117km greenway and a 15km towpath along the river. Or, for something different that is fun for all the family, why not ride a donkey along the trails in the countryside from nearby Vergisson? Donkeys can be rented for half a day, a full day or longer. For a more sedate activity, take a river boat cruise, available during the summer, and pass under the Pont St Laurent through one of its 12 arches. Mâcon's most famous festival, the Eté Frappé festival, is a free art and music festival from June to August, during which the Crescent Jazz Club also holds its own mini-festival. A trip to this area is not complete without visiting a few vineyards and châteaux and the Château de Pierreclos, just 10 minutes from Mâcon, is one of the best and gives tours of its wine cellars as well as tastings of the 8 wines produced here.

You are sure to find some great souvenirs of your time in Mâcon from the city's market in Place aux Herbes from Tuesday to Saturday or at the many arts and crafts shops including jewellers, artisans, couture fashions, glassblowing and ceramics, and at Mâcon's antiques dealers. Snails are a delicacy everywhere in Burgundy but more local specialities include river fish such as trout, carp and pike, Bresse chicken - the only poultry in the world with AOC status, Charolais beef, and the yellow-crusted goat's cheese called the boutons de culottes. Desserts here are fantastic with the bouchon mâconnais (chocolate with the liqueur Marc de Bourgnogne), gaufrettes mâconnaises (rolled wafers with a vanilla and caramel aroma) and l'ideal mâconnais (a cake made of meringue and filled with buttercream). Don't forget to enjoy your meal with the excellent Mâconnais wines made from Chardonnay grapes, especially the wines from Pouilly-Fuissé.

Why visit Mâcon?

  • Cathedral and Churches
  • Châteaux and Vineyards
  • River Walks and Sports
  • Food and Drink 

Overview

  • Country: France
  • Region: Burgundy
  • Department: Saône-et-Loire
  • Population: 35,500
  • Coordinates: 46.313027,4.82741

Coordinates shown are based on the WGS84 system, please check driving directions before departing.

Nearby attractions

The Musée des Ursulines showcases regional archaeological discoveries as well as a collection of fine arts. Housed inside a 17th century Ursuline convent, the museum has exhibits of archaeological finds including coins,...

A remarkable medieval timber-frame house in the heart of Mâcon, the Maison du Bois is the oldest building in the town. Covered in fine wood carvings of monkeys, men and masked figures, that are sometimes quite ribald and...

This spacious park includes a fantastic rose garden, a zoo, a lake and more. Europe's second-largest urban park, this one has a zoo too - and it's free!

At the unusual Musée Miniature et Cinéma you can see hundreds of miniature models and tiny objects as well as a great collection of film sets!

Places to visit nearby

Lyon in Rhône-Alps is the stylish capital of the region, known for its beautiful architecture, fantastic restaurants and excellent shopping.

Arbois in Franche Comté is the capital of the renowned Jura wines and is the perfect base for exploring the stunning natural environment of mountains, gorges, caves and waterfalls in the area.

Dole in Franche Comté is a pretty town with an historical centre that is set in the beautiful countryside of the Doubs valley.