Saint-Jean-de-Losne is a commune in the Côte-d'Or, in the Burgundy-Franche-Comté region, 33 km south-east of Dijon.
The locality has the specificity to have a very small area (0.6 km²) but to occupy a strategic position of the first order. Located on the right bank of the Saone, it is thus at the crossroads of three fluvial axes: the Saone, therefore, but also the Burgundy Canal and the Rhine-Rhone Canal.
Already, in ancient times, it was here that salt from the salt mines of Franche-Comté crossed the river. Over the centuries, during the Middle Ages, the Ancien Régime and after the Revolution, when the canals were built, the mariners made a stop at Saint-Jean-de-Losne. The small city was also the scene of two major events: the signing in 1522 of the treaty of neutrality between the two Burgundy and in 1636, during the Thirty Years War, the resistance of the inhabitants against the siege undertaken by the enemy imperial troops.
At the beginning of the twenty-first century, if the commercial maritime traffic has more than declined, the town which counts nearly 1200 inhabitants became the first marina fluvial of France.
With its heritage, this makes Saint-Jean-de-Losne a major tourist hub in the region.
Before enjoying the leisure and activities related to its port, a visit of the small city allows to discover a historical and architectural heritage of high quality.
This is the case of the town hall in a former mansion of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, protected as historical monuments. For example, there is a carved oak portal that gives access to the inner courtyard, closed at the back by a wrought iron gate. Upstairs, archival documents have been preserved, and a painting by Geoffroy and Badin from 1847 represents the aldermen during the siege of 1636. A gallery and a drawing room decorated with an eighteenth century wallpaper complete this rich interior. Information on +33 3 80 48 19 19.
Direction then the House of Mariners, one of the oldest houses of the town (XV), built in mud, brick and terracotta. We also notice the oak ceilings. The house is now home to the Museum of the Batellerie whose collections (photographs, models, objects) can apprehend the daily life of the sailors of yore. Open every day from Easter to October 31 and out of season by appointment. Free visit, guided tour: 2 euros. Information on +33 3 45 18 33 87.
One step is then justified in the church of St. John the Baptist, built in the sixteenth century, which has the specificity of having elements of flamboyant Gothic (such as his choir) and Renaissance (portal). The partially classified building houses in its bosom a furniture of very beautiful invoice (stalls and high altar with canopy and stucco decoration of the eighteenth century, lectern and ex-voto in the form of boat of the nineteenth).
Now converted into a retirement home, the former Hotel Dieu founded in 1658 has been remodeled but the main building has retained its original appearance, with its Mansart roof. The staircase of honor decorated with a statue of the Virgin and the child of the Burgundian school (XV) was also preserved, like the old doors of the hospital. The period pharmacy, on the other hand, which was used until the beginning of the 20th century, is now sheltered and exposed at the Hôtel d'Agar in Cavaillon.
In the heart of the village, finally, the monument commemorating the siege of 1636, erected in 1891, is essential: it was raised on the very site where the aldermen announced to the inhabitants their deliberation aimed at continuing the resistance to the besiegers. The base is decorated with two bronze bas-reliefs and at the foot of the column, the two guns offered by Napoleon were replaced in 1901.
On the river side, we can finally see the reconstructed concrete bridge in 1951.
As for the old dock dedicated to the loading of merchant ships, it has become a stopping place near the marina.
Its basin was dug in the 19th century and was redeveloped in 1987 when a cruise liner rental company was set up. Pontoons, workshops and a captaincy were also made. All these investments have enabled Saint-Jean-de-Losne to become the leading French port for fluvial tourism with some 350 seats and modern equipment. Information on +33 3 80 39 23 00.
Private companies renting small or large cruise ships have settled over the years.
Two local associations can also practice canoeing: the VBD (contact +33 6 88 97 68 72) and the Paddles of the Bords of Saone (join +33 3 80 39 17 99).
The fishermen are not forgotten: learn about suitable sites and regulations at +33 3 80 57 11 15.
In addition to festivities and activities directly related to the port, the Tourist Office of the town offers several hiking trails to follow in particular the footsteps of the pilgrims of the old way of Saint-Jacques. A stroll on the theme of skippers is also possible. Maps and information on +33 3 80 37 15 70.
In March, Salon Nature Val de Saône with photo exhibitions.
The last weekend of April, river tourism exhibition with presentation of boats, accessories and activities related to river cruises.
The third weekend of June, feast of the shipyards with historical animations, nautical and playful.
In December, parade and feast of St. Nicholas.
Finally, every Wednesday morning, the market is held on the National Wharf and allows you to discover all the richness of the Burgundy terroir.