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Charbonnières-les-Bains (Municipality, Grand Lyon, France)

Last modified: 2019-04-28 by ivan sache
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Flag of Charbonnières-les-Bains - Image by Ivan Sache, 11 May 2003

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Presentation of Charbonnières-les-Bains

The municipality of Charbonnières-les-Bains (4,541 inhabitants; 413 ha; municipal website) is located 10 km north-west of the center of Lyon. The name of the town probably refers to old charcoal production (in French, charbon; a charcoal burner, charbonnier; a charcoal kiln and production place, charbonnière) but the town was mostly known as a renowned spa, therefore the addition of -"les-Bains".

The legend says that the source that made the wealth of the town was discovered by a donkey. A poor lumberjack owning only one axe once lived alone in the valley of Charbonnières with his daughter Lison and his donkey Cadichon. Poor Cadichon grew older and older and could no longer transport wood, and the lumberjack reluctantly decided to abandon it in the deep forest. Lison later went into the forest, where two rascals attempted to abduct her. They were repelled by a fierce animal, which Lison immediatly recognized as Cadichon, totally revamped. The donkey jumped through a bush and drank water from a source. The water had a strange taste; chemists commissioned by the bailiff to analyze it stated that the source was miraculous, Lison sold the water, became wealthy and married the bailiff's son.
The thermal "miraculous" source of Charbonnières was indeed discovered by Priest Louis Rougeat de Marsonnat, but the legend remained so vivid that a donkey race field (asinodrome) was built at the end of the 19th century and used until the First World War. The iron-bearing waters and muds were exploited for the first time around 1850; the spa was rebuilt for the last time in 1953 and closed and suppressed some thirty years later.
The municipality of Charbonnières shares with the neigbouring municipalities of Marcy-l'Etoile and La Tour-de-Salvagny the departmental parc of Lacroix Laval (140 ha), known locally as the green lung of Lyon. The casino shared with La Tour-de-Salvagny is called Lyon Vert (Green Lyon).

In 1947, the Société Minérale des Eaux de Charbonnières organized with the Automobile Club du Rhône and the Moto Club du Rhône the first Lyon-Charbonnières rally. The race became then the International Lyon Charbonnières Stuttgart Solitude rallye, with concentration routes starting from different European cities (like the Monte-Carlo rallye). In 1976, "Charbo" became a leg of the French Rally Championship. The rally is today called Lyon-Charbonnières Rhône Rallye.

Ivan Sache, 19 May 2006

Flag of Charbonnières-les-Bains

The flag of Charbonnières-les-Bains is vertically divided red-yellow, which are the colours of the chief of the municipal arms.

Pascal Vagnat, 19 May 2006