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Coat of arms
Coat of arms

Mâcon (French pronunciation: ​[mɑ.kɔ̃]), historically anglicised as Mascon, is a city in east-central France. It is the prefecture of the department of Saône-et-Loire in Bourgogne-Franche-Comté. Mâcon is home to over 34,000 residents, who are referred to in French as Mâconnais. The city gave its name to the nearby vineyards and wine 'appellation'.


The city lies on the western bank of the Saône river, between Bresse in the east and the Beaujolais hills in the south. Mâcon is the southernmost city in the department of Saône-et-Loire and the region of Bourgogne-Franche-Comté. It is 65 kilometres (40 miles) north of Lyon and 400 kilometres (249 miles) from Paris.

The Saône river runs through the town. The climate is temperate with a slight continental tendency.

Mâcon features an oceanic climate (Koppen: Cfb), with warm summers, slightly too cool to be called subtropical (Cfa). Winters are relatively cold to French standards, but milder and more rainy than north of Mâcon. Most precipitation is in spring and autumn.


The agglomeration of Mâcon originates from the establishment of an oppidum and of a river port by the Celts from the Aedui, probably at the beginning of the first century BC. Known then under the name of Matisco, the town developed significantly during the age of the Roman Empire. This is demonstrated by the large Roman hoard known as the Mâcon Treasure that was discovered in the town in 1764, the remains of which is in the British Museum.[5] During the 4th century, the town was fortified.

During the Middle Ages, Mâcon was the administrative center of a county belonging to the Duchy of Burgundy at the extremity of the bridge over the Saône leading to the Bresse territory belonging to the Duchy of Savoy. The town was controlling access to present-day Lamartinien Valley (Val Lamartinien), where the southern end of the Côte de Bourgogne joins the first foothills of the Beaujolais hills, opening the way to the rich plains of the Loire.

On 3 June 1564, Charles IX from Chalon, stopped in the town during his Royal Tour of France (1564–1566), accompanied by the Court and the nobles of his kingdom, including his brother the Duke of Anjou, Henry of Navarre, the cardinals of Bourbon and Lorraine.[6] The town is strategically built: it was a possible entrance into the kingdom for the Swiss or German mercenaries during the French Wars of Religion. He was welcomed by the Queen Jeanne III of Navarre, nicknamed the “Queen of Protestants”, and 1,500 Huguenots.

On 21 October 1790, the matriarch of a prominent local family gave birth to a son who remains highly visible in his hometown, the Romantic poet and historian Alphonse de Lamartine.[7]

In 1790, the Revolutionary government designated Mâcon as the capital (chef-lieu) of Saône-et-Loire, a newly created département within the radical restructuring of national administration.

In 1814, the town was invaded by Austrian troops and then liberated twice by French troops before being permanently occupied until the fall of the Empire. After Napoléon’s return and the subsequent Hundred Days, Mâcon and the Mâconnais were again captured by the Austrians.

During World War II, Mâcon was the northernmost town in the unoccupied zone libre between Paris and Lyon. The town was liberated on 4 September 1944 as part of Operation Dragoon by troops who had landed in Provence.[8]


  • The Old Saint-Vincent in the town centre
  • Mâcon Cathedral (Cathédrale Saint-Vincent de Mâcon) in the town centre
  • Museum of Fine Arts (former Ursuline Convent)
  • Hôtel de Senecé (Lamartine museum)
  • Saint-Clément Catholic Church in the district of Saint-Clément
  • Church Saint-Pierre, Place Saint-Pierre, opposite the Town Hall
  • The Municipal Olympic Pool of Mâcon
  • The Maison des Vins or Maison Maconnaise des Vins, on De-Lattre de Tassigny Avenue.
  • The Quai Lamartine (quay), the Vallon des Rigollettes, the Physical Activity Training Course (P.A.P.A) and the Marina: many places suitable for walking and relaxing.
  • The Theater of Mâcon (public theatre) close to the Maison des vins, Droits de l'Homme esplanade.
  • Château Saint-Jean, in the old commune of Saint-Jean-le-Priche annexed to Mâcon in 1972
  • Château des Perrières, on a hill overlooking the town

In 2007, the city was awarded the Grand Prix prize and “4 flowers” in the Entente Florale competition.[9]


Mâcon is connected to neighbouring major cities through various routes:

Mâcon uses the urban transport service Tréma [23] , run by the organising transport authorities, the SITUM (Inter-communal City Transport Union of Mâconnais – Val de Saône). The SITUM currently consists of 3 members: CAMVAL (Agglomeration Community of Mâcon-Val de Saône) (26 communes) and the Chaintré and Crêches-sur-Saône communes. The Urban Transport Area of the SITUM extends over 28 communes in total.

On the evening of 30 June 2009, the Mâcon Bus services ceased operation. This was due to the public service delegation contract between the SITUM and the Mâcon Bus company (a subsidiary of Transdev), operating the network since 1987, not being renewed at the last call for bids. So since 1 July 2009, the company CarPostal Mâcon (CarPostal France's subsidiary) has been providing city transport services on the network renamed Tréma.

The network Tréma, restructured on 31 August 2009, made the following bid:

  • urban lines (A to G) going through Mâcon, Crêches-sur-Saône, Sancé, Saint-Laurent-sur-Saône, central Charnay-lès-Mâcon and Mâcon Loché TGV train station on a regular basis.
  • a transport service requested by TrémA'Fil to operate in the other communes of the SITUM area, to increase the frequency of the less busy regular lines (F and G) and to offer a service for each city stop in the morning before the beginning of services for scheduled lines and in the evening after the end of the services.
  • school lines named TrémA'Scol.

Mâcon is run by the network Buscephale of Saône-et-Loire’s local council.


In 2010, the Mâcon commune was awarded the plaque "Ville Internet @@".[10]

Mâcon is a member of CAMVAL (agglomeration community of the Mâconnais – Val de Saône districts). It is also where the CAMVAL headquarters.

Mâcon has five collèges and four lycées. These establishments are in the same area in the west of the city, with the exception of the collèges Schuman (north) and Saint-Exupery (south).

  • Collèges Collège Louis Pasteur Collège Bréart Collège Schuman Collège Saint-Exupéry Collège Notre-Dame (private)
  • Lycées Lycée Lamartine Lycée René-Cassin Lycée hôtelier Dumaine Lycée Ozanam (private)


Mâcon is one of the department's major employment areas which is by far the most dynamic (13.5% increase between 1999 and 2006) compared to cities such as Chalon-sur-Saône or Montceau-les-Mines which are losing jobs. This dynamism is particularly helped by the many transportation links available and its proximity to Lyon.

Associated districts and communes

Mâcon's town center of extends from Place Gardon, in the north, to the Roundabout of Europe in the south, from Place de la Barre, in the west, to the banks along the Saône to the east. The quarters of the town's centre are varied:

From the late 1990s to the early 2000s, the esplanade Lamartine underwent extensive redevelopment and upgrades. The winding car park and damaged cobblestones were replaced by an underground car park on three levels, a larger and brighter esplanade, bars, and a stage on the water (of the Saône river) which now accommodates all kinds of events, concerts and shows. The Statue Lamartine, which sits proudly on the esplanade, was completely renovated. Small gardens now brighten up the immense space that Mâcon's Esplanade Lamartine occupies. All along, one can find an extract from the famous poem by Lamartine, “Le Lac”: "Time, halt in your flight... " engraved in the ground in silver letters.

The north of Mâcon is split, with the Neusdadt roundabout marking the boundary between the two sections. Flacé-lès-Mâcon, a village built in the city, constitutes the north-west of Mâcon. . In addition to the adjoining Town Hall, church and small downtown area, Flacé consists entirely of residential areas. The north-east of Mâcon is composed of various residential areas and the town's sport centres (Physical Activity Training Course (P.A.P.A), public swimming pool, Centre for Sports Education, rowing, sailing and water skiing clubs, several football fields and clubs, and the Sports Palace). ). The residential areas consist mainly of low-rent council estates (HLM) with districts such as the priority development areas (ZUP) of Mâcon or the boulevard des États-Unis (road belonging administratively to the Saugeraies district).

The south of Mâcon is composed of three major areas.

The west of Mâcon is the least populated part of the town. This hosts Mâcon's lycées (René Cassin, Lamartine, Alexandre Dumaine and Ozanam) and most of the colleges, along with some residential areas merged with those of Charnay-lès-Mâcon, the Hospital of Mâcon and the historic working class area of Mâcon,Bioux.

Formerly an independent commune, Flacé-lès-Mâcon was re-attached to Mâcon in 1965. It is now a residential area with a very prominent village atmosphere.

Loché is an associated commune of Mâcon. The fusion-association dates from 1972. Mâcon Loché-TGV station is in this wine-producing village.

Saint-Jean-le-Priche is an associated commune of Mâcon. The merging association dates from 1972.

Sennecé-lès-Mâcon is an associated commune of Mâcon. The merging association dates from 1972.


The area west and north of Mâcon produces well-known wines from the Chardonnay grape. The best known appellation of the Mâconnais is Pouilly-Fuissé.


In Bourgogne-Franche-Comté, you can see:

  • The Arboretum de Pézanin, one of the richest tree collections in France, near Mâcon,
  • The Rock of Solutré,
  • Cluny abbey of vast size and complex elevations and its medieval city of small proportions.
  • Charolles and its breed of cattle, "le boeuf charolais".
  • Paray-le-Monial with its church modelled as a smaller version of Cluny abbey, cloistered garden, basilica, museum and ornate town hall.


Mâcon holds the headquarters of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Saône-et-Loire, which manages the river port of Mâcon through Aproport, the Automotive Training Center (CFA Automobile) and the Mâcon-Charnay airport. The headquarters for the Chamber of Agriculture of Saône-et-Loire is also based in Mâcon.


The "Eté frappé" Festival, a free art and music festival, takes place every summer from June to August all over the town (notably on the Lamartine esplanade alongside the river Saône) featuring many concerts of a wide range of musical styles (classical, French song, jazz, rock, folk, hip-hop, rap), many shows (dance, comedy), open air film shows, open air plays, sporting events. In 2011, 48.000 people attended the festival.[11]

Every year in July, the Crescent Jazz Club holds a jazz festival during three days (as part of the "Eté frappé" Festival) featuring international jazz musicians.

Sports and leisure

Mâcon has 73 clubs with 55 organisations, 40 different sports to play, and 14,506 members of a sports association (42% of the population). It was elected the most sportive town in France in 2001.

  • The A.S Mâcon rugby club is now progressing to ‘Fédérale 2’ (the fourth division in the rugby union club championship). They reached the highest level in 1987–1988 (ASM appeared in the Pool league with Biarritz Olympique’s Serge Blanco, the US Dax, Montpellier Hérault RC Montpellier and Lavelanet).
  • The rowing club (the Régates Mâconnaises) is a leading sport clubs in the town. Each year it organises several major events (regional, national championships) and sends many of its rowers to the biggest competitions. Similarly, each year, the Stade Nautique Mâconnais sends swimmers to the France N1 swimming championships.
  • A motor boating Grand Prix is held annually in late September (part of the speed championship of France in categories S2000 and S3000).
  • The Municipal Band of Mâcon.
  • The Mâcon Academy is extensive and nationally recognised.
  • Ski club and barefoot in Mâcon

Notable people

In popular culture

International relations

Mâcon is twinned with:

Culinary specialties

  • Mâcon's specialty is a cake made of meringue and filled with butter cream.
  • Mâcon is surrounded by a vineyard of 12,355 acres which produces 49 million bottles of wine including the famous crus like Saint-Véran or Pouilly-Fuissé.
  • West of Mâcon, there is the Charolais area famous for its white-coated cattle.
  • East of Mâcon, on the other side of the Saône river, there is Bresse, famous for its white poultry, the only ones to have received an Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée (AOC) stamp.
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