The Medieval Town of Châtillon-sur-Chalaronne

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Ville et Métiers d'ArtMost beautiful detours of France


Grab your basket and head to the old market place for Saturday morning’s weekly market! Explore 300m2 of market stalls brimming with local produce. Fill your senses with colours and scents!


The small medieval town of Châtillon in the Dombes region is still marked today by the trace of humanist Saint Vincent-de-Paul who set up the confraternity the Ladies of Charity (la confrérie des Dames de la Charité) here, and was canonised in 1617. Also known as “Little Venice”, the town is now a renowned tourist spot, classed among the “Most Beautiful Detours in France”.

Châtillon, the little village straight out of a fairy-tale

Châtillon-sur-Chalaronne, known by some as the “pink town”, due to the colour of the bricks used in building its houses, is distinguished by its rich, skilfully preserved heritage, its pleasant living environment and exceptional bloom.

Time seems to stand still in this cheerful little village which invites you to take a wander through its flowered alleys, half-timbered houses and suspension bridges, to visit its imposing 15th century market halls, fortifications and Porte de Villars archway.

Uncover a new chapter of Châtillon’s illustrious past with every turn.

Between the real and the imaginary

Come and…

…see what life was like for rural families in the Traditions et Vie Museum, a place for remembrance and passing on traditions, know-how, customs and social practices from Bresse and Dombes at the start of the 20th century.

…live unforgettable memories at one of the most beautiful miniature shows in Europe at the Miniature Train Museum.

…discover the secrets of apothecary elixirs in the old hospital, now the Cultural Centre. This 18th century apothecary houses a rare collection of 120 earthenware pots from Meillonnas, renowned manufacturing town also located in Ain.


Practical information


Free of charge.

Services and amenities

  • Pets welcome


  • Play area
  • Picnic area
  • Car park

Languages spoken

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A floral paradise

Châtillon-sur-Chalaronne’s rare plant market is the annual meeting place for avid gardeners and plant lovers alike, promising amazing new finds! Every year, Clos Janin park is transformed to host this incredible botanical showcase!

“The Saturday morning market is a must”

“The city is a well preserved medieval showcase of beautiful buildings, hidden corners, and quaint restaurants, with a river running through it. In addition to this, on Saturdays, it has a wonderful market with great food, but also some farm animals (chickens, rabbits, etc.) on sale. There is a small miniature train museum, and a castle to climb up to and explore. It is one of those under-rated places in France one hopes will never be discovered by ‘big tourism’” – Reviewed 19th March 2017 by Robert B.

“Don’t miss the Saturday morning market”

“Incredible traditional French market in a historical building. Stunning atmosphere. Gourmet cheeses, breads, meats, etc. Live animal market is amazing. Children will love petting baby ducks, geese, rabbits, chicks. Lovely little fairy-tale village. Make sure to see the flower covered bridges.” – Reviewed 23rd August 2015 by Sylvie R.

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