The DNA double‐strand breaks (DSBs) that initiate meiotic recombination in Saccharomyces cerevisiae are preceded first by DNA replication and then by a chromatin transition at DSB sites. This chromatin transition, detected as a quantitative increase in micrococcal nuclease (MNase) sensitivity, occurs specifically at DSB sites and not at other MNase‐sensitive sites. Replication and DSB formation are directly linked: breaks do not form if replication is blocked, and delaying replication of a region also delays DSB formation in that region. We report here experiments that examine the relationship between replication, the DSB‐specific chromatin transition and DSB formation. Deleting replication origins (and thus delaying replication) on the left arm of one of the two parental chromosomes III affects DSBs specifically on that replication‐delayed arm and not those on the normally replicating arm. Thus, replication timing determines DSB timing in cis. Delaying replication on the left arm of chromosome III also delays the chromatin transition at DSB sites on that arm but not on the normally replicating right arm. Since the chromatin transition precedes DSB formation and requires the function of many genes necessary for DSB formation, these results suggest that initial events for DSB formation in chromatin are coupled with premeiotic DNA replication.