Oldest photo laboratory in the world in Maison Nicéphore Niépce.
Burgundy off the beaten path - Musée Nicéphore Niépce and Maison Nicéphore Niépce. Yes, there both named after the same person :). The musée is in Chalon-sur-Saône and the maison in Saint-Loup-de-Varennes. Chalon-sur-Saône is now a popular stop on
Saône river boat cruises but I'm not sure how many people get to the Musée that is free to visit and open year round. The maison isn't far from Chalon-sur-Saône but you would need a car to get there.
Niépce took the first known photograph in 1826 or 1927 in what is now the Maison Nicéphore Niépce.
Musée Nicéphore Niépce
This museum has a blend of old cameras and avant-garde photography with a mix of rotating expositions.
Located in the 18th century ex-Hôtel des Messageries Royales on the banks of the Saône River this museum opened in 1972 and is home to almost 6,000 photographic devices and 3 million plus images. You'll find room after room of displays and exhibitions.
+33 03 85 48 41 98
Sep-Jun 9.30-11.45am & 2.00-5.45pm, Jul-Aug 10.00-6.00pm, closed Tue & bank holidays
Maison Nicéphore Niépce
Located on the N6 road south of Chalon-sur-Saône, Maison Nicéphore Niépce is where the first known photo - Point de vue du Gras was taken in 1826 or 1827. The house in the village of Saint-Loup-de-Varennes is now a museum.
The house has been painstakingly restored to 1816, when Niépce tried to take his first photo. Included in this small museum is the attic, where the first photo was taken, Niépce's workshop and office. You'll also find what's billed as the oldest photo laboratory in the world based on chemicals found in 2007 after sitting in a local attic since the 1850s.
Guided tours in French last about an hour. Buy your tickets at the cafe/boutique.
Niépce's inventions didn't stop with photography, he also built an internal combustion engine in 1807 with his brother. The engine was used to power a boat up the Saône River. A model of Niépce's engine is in the museum. Also on display is a replica of a wooden bike that Niépce built. It's possible to try and ride the bike!
Entering Saint-Loup-de-Varennes from the south, there is a large monument to Niépce on the right, stating photography was invented in 1822.
+33 01 40 09 18 58
Adult €6, kids €3, students/unemployed €4.50
Jul-Aug 10-7pm, guided tours on the hour, off season tours €150 1-25 people
Point de vue du Gras
Nicéphore Niépce Grave
Not far from where Nicéphore Niépce took his first photos you'll find his grave. It's in the center of Saint-Loup-de-Varennes on the other side of the N6 national road. You'll need to follow the signs for 'Mairie' - village hall, and cross under the N6. There's a passageway for cars and pedestrians.
Once you pass under the N6 you'll hit rue de l'Église. Go right and the street leads you to the church. Niépce's grave is in front of the church, to the right after passing through the gates. At the grave site and across from the church are camera stands to take photos. These are part of the 'Route de la Photo'. There are five camera stands in Saint-Loup-de-Varennes, each is related to Niépce with text and a map.
The five are:
Maison de Claude: Home of Niépce's brother Claude.
L'Eglise: Church where Niépce is buried.
L'Ancienne Mairie: Old village hall.
La tombe de Nicéphore Niépce: The grave of Niépce and wife Agnès Romero.
Musée Maison Nicéphore Niépce: The now museum where the first photo was taken.
Sales in France
The 2018 winter sales in France - Soldes d'Hiver start on Wednesday January 10th. There are a few departments where sales start earlier. They are Meurthe-et-Moselle, Meuse, Moselle and Vosges (Lorraine region) who start on Tuesday January 2nd.