Friday, 26 August 2011

France Diary: Friday. Chalon-sur-Saône.

Only one free day here, so we headed into the city of Chalon-sur-Saône. Easy parking in an underground multi-storey (I love these. Wish we had more of them in England). This looks to be a splendid city for a day of shopping and sightseeing, with the stately Saone river running through it offering plenty of opportunity for walking and picnics.
Unfortunately we only managed half an hour before it a) started to rain and b) closed for lunch. I still can’t get over the way that, in France, huge cities like this can become ghost towns in an instant once it gets to lunch time. I just don’t understand the economics. How does anyone ever make any money? Even the markets are packed up and gone by 12:30.
     So, with the city closed down and the rain putting paid to our riverside picnic plans, we adjourned to McDonalds. The rain got heavier. We hung around McDonalds for an hour then squelched over to the Musée Denon. A free museum and art gallery, staffed by friendly and helpful people but in need of a bit of a cash injection. Still, they made the best of what they had, and it kept us amused and dry for another hour.
     On leaving the museum it became apparent that the rain (and the thunder and lightning) was not about to stop, nor was the city going to reopen. We left.
     It was a sad way to leave Chalon-sur-Saône. There were a lot of things we hadn’t seen (the botanic gardens, the islands in the river, the Parc de loisirs Saint-Nicolas) and who knows when, if ever, we might be back. But the weather (temperature down to 14°C and rain becoming biblical) had defeated us.

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