FRANCE BURGUNDY SAONNE ET LOIRE arc-en-ciel sur la ville de cluny

Cluny (pop 4,800) has long been noted for its abbey. In fact, much of the town’s history seems to be related to the abbey’s functions and importance. Cluny was once the site of the great Cluny abbey, which functioned as the largest church until the construction of the St Peter’s basilica in the Vatican. Built in 910, to reinstate the power of the church, the Benedictine abbey was once directly under the Pope’s supervision and played an influential role in the development of several towns and countries across Europe.

The La Grosne River flows on the eastern part, with the main commercial street, Place du Commerce, cutting across towards the northwest section of town. Cluny is without a tainconnection but you can arrive via buses that run from Mâcon and Cormatine, at rue Porte de Paris.



FRANCE BURGUNDY SAONNE ET LOIRE Abbey of ClunyIt is hardly a surprise that the biggest tourist attraction in Cluny is the expansive Église Abbatiale [+33 385591593 ad/ch €8.50/6.50] that was constructed between the 11th and 12th centuries. The present-day edifice, however, is a shadow of its past glory as much of the immense structure has been ruined over time. The original abbey church once spanned 187m- all the way from the archaeological museum to the clock tower. The Cluny abbey was erected on the hunting grounds of William, Duke of Aquitaine, who donated the land with the intension of kick starting a monastic reformation. The abbey was built with the intention of avoiding secular entanglements with the rulers of the lands; and hence was answerable only to the Pope. The Cluny abbey also marked the start of a new administrative system amongst the regional monasteries. While monasteries that were built prior to this abbey were independent places of worship, the introduction of the Cluniac system brought these monasteries together priories, with the Cluny abbot overseeing their progress. The Cluny abbey’s influence reached its peak in the 12th century, managing over 10,000 monks. However, the influence of this abbey swayed as other orders came to the forefront. The abbey’s power came to an official end with the start of the French Revolution and was sold and dismantled until 1823. Therefore, much of the old building has unfortunately been lost. However, whatever remains still attracts thousands of tourists annually.

A typical visit to the abbey usually begins at the Porte d’Honneur, which leads you to the majestic Clocher de l'Eau-Bénite (Holy Water Belfry). The Musée Ochier is situated on the way and you can get your hands on the tickets that allow you to view the map table that contains models of the former complex, as well as ancient Romanesque carvings and the Monk's Library. Head further down from here to the École Nationale Supérieure d’Art et Métiers (ENSAM) within the 18th century cloister. This institute for mechanical and industrial engineers features a virtual display of the abbey that showcases an image of how it looked like in the Middle Ages. You will find the National Stud, Haras National [2 rue Porte due Prés, +33 622945269 ad/ch €3/2] on the other side of the cloister. The stud was built with materials from the destroyed abbey. Founded by Napoléon in 1806, this stud houses some of France’s finest thoroughbreds and ponies.


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CLUNY:   1. Tourist office  2. Porte d’Honneur  3. Clocher de l'Eau-Bénite  4. Église Abbatiale  5. rue Porte de Paris  6. Musée Ochier  7. École Nationale Supérieure d’Art et Métiers (ENSAM)  8. Haras National