The town's main attraction is the Écomusée le Creusot-Montceau in the Château de la Verrerie on place Schneider (June to mid-Sept MonFri 10amnoon & 16pm, Sat & Sun 37pm; mid-Sept to May MonFri 10amnoon & 26pm, Sat & Sun 26pm; €5.95). Built as a glassworks in 178687 Louis XVI was a shareholder before losing his head the Château was sold to the Schneider family in 1838 and transformed into their private home and the administrative centre of their business empire. The Schneiders were paternalistic but despotic employers, providing housing, schools and health care for their workers, but expecting "gratitude and obedience" in return.
Today, the Château houses a museum dedicated to the iron and steel industry, with oil paintings of various Schneiders and their forges, mock-ups of workers' quarters, examples of local glass work, giant model trains and a large coin-slot push-button model of an old metal works. The neighbouring Salle du Jeu de Paume traces Le Creusot's role in the development of metallurgy through models and photographs, beginning with the earliest iron forges and ending with today's nuclear industry. The peculiar cone-shaped constructions in the courtyard of the Château were glass furnaces; one of them was transformed into a tiny Neoclassical theatre where plays were put on to entertain the Schneiders' wealthy and influential guests, and can be visited on regular Tours.
A more recent development in town is the huge Parc Touristique des Combes, which boasts a narrow-gauge steam train (AprilOct; €4.30), a karting track, a 435-metre-long dry luge piste (AprilOct; €2.30) and an unusual panorama. From the top of the Combe des Mineurs the view takes in the modern steelworks, the gleaming white Château de la Verrerie and the terraces of old workers' houses, all set against the northeastern bulwark of the Massif Central.
Pages in section ‘Le Creusot’: Practicalities.
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