In the heart of Burgundy "wine country", surrounded by the beautiful Morvan Regional Park, the former mining town of Le Creusot is just 35 minutes from Lyon and an hour and a half from Paris. The formidable Steam Hammer of Le Creusot is today a symbol of the town and of its strong industrial heritage. Built in 1877, the Creusot Steam Hammer was for a time the most powerful in the world, capable of delivering a 100-tonne blow. This impressive structure is 21 metres (68 feet) tall, and looks as if it could be the Eiffel Tower's neanderthal ancestor.
In stark contrast to this are the charming and delicate delights of the Château de la Verrerie . This 18th century neoclassical building became, at Louis XVI's request, the royal crystal workshop when the factory was moved from Sevres. One of the four conical firing kilns has been converted into a mini theatre. At the château, the Schneider family entertained kings, queens and sultans throughout the 19th century.
The château now houses the François Bourdon Academy and the Le Creusot-Montceau Ecomuseum which bear witness to the town's industrial past. The whole family will enjoy the château's park and its activities. Explore the park's greenhouses, activities offered, a library, a swimming pool, and a pond with an island… what more could you want?
Equally enchanting is the Parc des Combes - Combes Railway. A steam train which formerly was used to carry coal will take you on an idyllic journey up the wooded slopes of the mountain. You'll find numerous attractions at the top, such as the 450 metre long summer luge, and a go-karting track, both of which are sure to burn some of your excess energy - or your kids' excess energy.
Le Creusot has a total of 25 lakes, in which you can swim, sail, waterski, or drift about reciting poetry to your hearts' content.
The Festival Les Giboulées, is a music festival with an ever-contemporary line-up, which in the past has included Asian Dub Foundation and Alpha Blondy.
If swing is more your thing, catch the blues festival Blues en Bourgogne, Le Creusot Festival, with crafts and food as well as music.
Just 10 minutes away, the Unesco-listed Fontenay Abbey is well worth a visit. Beaune, with its Hospices de Beaune capital of Burgundy wines, is less than an hour away.
Don't let Burgundy slip through your fingers…
Station to station