Châtillon-sur-Charlaronne

by Bert Schwarz

Châtillon-sur-Charlaronne is located in the heart of the former department of L'Ain and the Dombes lake district. The medieval old town, we learned, is known for its extraordinary floral splendour and its preserved buildings.

On our first visit we got a first impression of this spot while sitting under the old market hall from the 15th century and strolling through the narrow alleys.

Reconnect: Châtillon-sur-Charlaronne

Story, Camera, Editor : Bert Schwarz

© travel-magazine TV 2016

Stories from Franche-Comté
Who knows Les Dombes?
Around 300 m above sea level the Dombes are a rather flat place.
Besançon
Nestled in a meander of river Doubs, Here's the cultivated and very attractive capital of Franche-Comté.
Châtillon-sur-Charlaronne
The medieval town centre is known for its extraordinary floral splendour and its preserved buildings.
Pérouges
a place practically unchanged since the Middle Ages.
Trévoux
a tranquil place on the banks of the Saône with a number of amazingly impressive buildings.
Villars-les-Dombes
a small, quiet village right in the middle of the Dombes region.

During our first visit we got a first impression of this spot while sitting under the old market hall from the 15th century and strolling through the narrow alleys.

Châtillon-sur-Charlaronne © Bert Schwarz

History

Châtillon-sur-Charlaronne has an eventful history behind it. Alternately this place was called Castellio, Castilio and up to the French Revolution Châtillon- les-Dombes. This is why the cultural heritage here is so extensive and fortunately well preserved. In the year 1000 there was the city Châtillon doesn't. In the 11th century, feudal lords built castles and fortresses, so that a castle (=château) between the rivers Chalaronne and Relevant and the people settled near it. The first masters were Hugues, Milo and Humbert. These lords quickly became Vassals of the the lord of Beaujeu, who owned many lands along the left bank of the Sâone. These possessions, which one «Beaujolais à la part de l'Empire» later became the Principality of Dombes. Châtillon should have continued to belong to this principality, but, where love is ... The Lord of Beaujeu gave it to his daughter Sibille as a dowry when she married Renaud of Bâgé, the ruler of Bresse, in 1228.

Châtillon-sur-Charlaronne © Bert Schwarz

Châtillon then suffered the same fate as Bresse and came under Savoy rule in 1272, when the granddaughter of Sibille of Beaujeu married Aimé IV, Count of Savoy. Already in 1273, Châtillon was given a carte blanche, which was the reason for the rapid development of the business. The town flourished during this period, so that the fortified walls, the church of St André and the market halls could be built as early as the 15th century.

Châtillon-sur-Charlaronne © Bert Schwarz

Through the Lyon Peace Treaty (1601) between France and Savoy, Châtillon, like the rest of Bresse, became French again and passed to Burgundy. During the two decades under the French monarchy, Châtillon contributed to the development of France, despite the great fire that destroyed more than 100 houses and most of the market halls in 1670.

With the revolution came many upheavals: the Fleurieux parish was annexed Châtillon-les-Dombes to make the parish «Châtillon-sur-Chalaronne». The city walls, the gate of Lyon and Bourg and the church tower were destroyed. Nevertheless, many old buildings are still standing, such as e.g. the market halls, where the traditional market continues to exist early on Saturdays, the late Gothic church St André, the gate of Villars, and many more. Buildings that tell the history of this place which really was anything else than boring.