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Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V24, Page 199 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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SAONE, a river of eastern France, rising in the Faucilles mountains (department of Vosges), 15 m. W.S.W. of Epinal at a height of 1300 ft. and uniting with the Rhone at Lyons. Length, 301 m.; drainage area, 11,400 sq. m. The oldest Celtic name of the river was Arar. In the 4th century another name appears, Sauconna, from which the modern name is derived. The Saone, moving slowly in a sinuous channel, has its course in the wide depressicn between the Plateau of Langres, the Cote d'Or and the mountains of Charolais and Beaujolais on the west and the western slopes of the Vosges and Jura and the plain of Bresse and the plateau of Dombes on the east. In the department of Saone-et-Loire, the Saone unites with the Doubs, an affluent rivalling the Saone in volume and exceeding it in length at this point. At the important town of Chalon-sur-Saone the river turns south, and passes Macon. Below Treveux its valley, now narrower, winds past the Mont d'Or group and joins the Rhone just below the Perrache quarter of Lyons. The Saone is canalized from Corre to Lyons, a distance of 233 m., the normal depth of water being 6 ft. 6 in. At Corre (confluence with the Coney) it connects with the southern branch of the Eastern Canal, at Heuilley (below Gray) with the Saone-Marne Canal, at St Symphorien (above St Jean-de-Losne) with the Rhone-Rhine Canal, and at St Jean-de-Losne with the Canal de Bourgogne and at Chalon with the Canal du Centre. SAONE-ET-LOIRE, a department of east-central France formed from the districts of Autunois, Brionnais, Chalonnais, Charollais and Maconnais, previously belonging to Btirgundy. It is bounded N. by the department of Cate d'Or, E. by that of Jura, S.E. by Ain, S. by Rhone and Loire, W. by Allier and Nievre. Pop. (1906) 613,377. Area, 3330 sq. m. Of the two rivers from which the department takes its name the Loire forms its south-western boundary, and the Saone traverses its eastern region from north to south. On the left bank of the Saone the department forms part of the wide plain of Bresse; on its right bank the centre of the department is occupied by the northern Cevennes, here divided by the river Grosne into two parallel ranges—the mountains of Maconnais to the east, and the mountains of Charollais to the west. The general direction of these ranges is from south, where their altitude is greatest, to north. The north-west region of Saone-et-Loire is occupied by the southern portion of Morvan, which includes the highest point in the department—the Bois du Roi (2959 ft.). South-east of the Morvan lies the hilly region of Autunois, consisting of the basin of the Arroux, a right affluent of the Loire, and divided from the Charollais mountains by the Bourbince, a tributary of the Arroux. Besides those mentioned, the chief rivers of the department are the Doubs, which joins the Saone in the extreme north-east, the Seille, also an affluent of the Saone, and the Arconce, a tributary of the Loire watering the Charollais. The average temperature at Macon (52° or 53° F.), the most temperate spot in the department, is slightly higher than at Paris, the winter being colder and the summer hotter. At the same town the yearly rainfall is about 33 in., but both the rigour of the climate and the amount of rain increases in the hilly districts, reaching their maximum in the mountains of Morvan. Agriculture prospers in Saone-et-Loire. Wheat, oats and maize are the cereals most cultivated; potatoes, clover and other fodder, and mangold-wurzels are important crops, and beetroot, hemp, colza and rape are also grown. Excellent pasture is found in the valleys of the Saone and other rivers. The vine, one of the principal resources of the department, is cultivated chiefly in the neighbourhood of Chalon and Macon. Of the wines of Maconnais, the vintage of Thorins is in high repute. The white Charollais oxen are one of the finest French breeds; horses, pigs and sheep are reared, and poultry farming is a thriving occupation in the Bresse. The industrial importance of the department is great, chiefly owing to its coal and iron mines; the chief coal mines are those in the vicinity of Creusot, Autun and Chapelle-sous-Dun. A pit at Epinac is over 2600 ft. in depth. Iron is mined at Mazenay and Change, and manganese is found at Romaneche and there are quarries of various kinds. There are well-known warm mineral springs containing chloride of sodium and iron at Bourbon-Lancy. The iron'and engineering works of Schneider & Company at Le Creusot are the largest in France. The department also has numerous flour-mills and distilleries, together with potteries, porcelain-works (Digoin), tile-works, oil-works and glass factories, and carries on various branches of thetextile, chemical, 'leather and wood-working industries. It exports coal, metals, machinery, wine, Charollais cattle, bricks, pottery, glass. Its commerce is facilitated by navigable streams—the Loire, Saone, Doubs and Seille,—the Canal du Centre, which unites Chalon-sur-Saone with Digoin on the Loire, and the canal from Roanne to Digoin and the lateral Loire Canal, both following the main river valley. The chief railway of the department is the Paris-Lyon Mediterranee. Saone-et-Loire forms the diocese of Autun; it is part of the district of the VIII. army corps (Bourges) ; its educational centre is Lyons and its court of appeal that of Dijon. It is divided into 5 arrondissements—Macon, Chalon-sur-Saone, Autun, Charolles, Louhans—5o cantons, and 589 communes. Macon, Chalon, Autun, Le Creusot, Cluny, Montceau-Les-Mines, Tournus, Paray-le-Monial, Louhans and Charolles are the most note-worthy towns in the department and receive separate treatment. Other places of interest are St Marcel-les-Chalon, where there is a Romanesque church, once attached to an abbey where Abelard died; Anzy, which has a Romanesque church and other remains of an important monastery; St Bonnet-de-Joux and Sully, both of which have chateaus of the 16th century; and Semur-en-Brionnais and Varennes-l'Arconce, with fine Romanesque churches. Prehistoric remains of the stone age have been found at Solutre near Macon.
End of Article: SAONE

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