Some of you know that we moved to Burgundy in summer 2017. We decided to visit Cluny Abbey on one of our first day trips, excited to explore our new home region.
Approaching the town of Cluny we noticed an accumulation of cars beside the road. Lucky us, a fair offering delicious local products and lunch. We didn’t go for the local favorite Boudin like most of the French visitors. It looked similar to black pudding – enough to stay away from it 😉
We bought a months supply of nougat, fruit jelly, cheese and dried meat, just because the vendors were so sympathetic (or we are bad at saying “no”!).
If you are in Burgundy France in autumn you shouldn’t miss out on a visit Cluny, for the Foire de la Saint-Martin in November. The fair takes place since 1541 and offers a wide range of food, art, and animals in the streets of the beautiful medieval town and horse shows, exposition of the local cow breeds and a small animal farm for the kiddies.
It’s hard to believe nowadays that the Benedictine Cluny Abbey was the nucleus of influence across Europe in the Middle Ages. For many centuries it was the largest church of western Christendom till St Peter’s Dome of Rom exceeded it in size.
First of all, we walked past remnants of prestigious architectural testimonies of nine centuries of monastic life.
Radiating out of the monastery grounds, Romanesque and Gothic houses are silent reminders of the past as living quarters for the more privileged.
The house is a rare example of a Gothic style manor house with its impressive reception rooms and monumental fireplaces. The Jean de Borbon Palace is also called the Museum of Art and Archaeology and keeps fragments of the great abbey, the cloister, the flour store and the monks’ cell.
Between the Saint Hugues Hostelry (11th century) and the Palace of the Pope Gelasius (entrance to the Monk’s enclosure) we saw the remains of the narthex, five naves and the Great Abbey courtyard at the Belvedere Square.
From Fromages’ Tower, stunning panoramic views spread out over the abbey city.
We found bronze markers on the pavements which indicate which way to go to sights of interests in Cluny. Unfortunately, the signs with descriptions are almost always in French, so you’ll need to take a tour of your language or download an app to learn about Cluny.
Tours start at the Tourist Office, where you get maps and all the information you will need. If you visit Cluny on a busy day, you rather want to book your tour online.