Mâconnais region :
Le Mâconnais is located in the South of Burgundy not far away from Lyon. It is adjacent to Beaujolais. It is famous for its wine especially for its powerfull white wine.
Cluny : a must-see
Cluny is located in Mâconnais region at 88 kilometers from Lyon (1hour by road). It was an important city thanks to its abbey and its political role with French kings and Popes.
The abbey was founded in 910 by William the Pious, Aquitaine Duke & Macon Earl. He noinate Bernon first abbot and gave him Apostles Saint Peter ans Saint Paul relics and a piece of land. Little by little the abbey grows to reach 1400 cluniac sites over Europe with around 10 000 monks following Benedictine rule. In 11th century at the abbey apogee, the abbot decided to built the largest Romanesque church ever, with vaulted arches 30 metres high. Building of the so-called “Maior Ecclesia ” (in Latin) took a century and was the biggest edifice in the West during Middles Ages. Richelieu and Mazarin cardinals were both Cluny abbots during the 17th century. Furthermore, two popes come from Cluny monks : Urbain II and Grégoire VII (11th century).
During French Revolution, the abbey was closed as most of religious edifice and monks leaved. Then, for 40 years the abbey has been slowly destructed stone by stone until 1830 when the agency of historical monument was created. In 1862, the Abbey of Cluny is ranked among France historical monument and a tiresome work of archaeological dig began to restore the abbey.
Nowadays, an art and craft school (ENSAM) inhabits a part of this magnificient monument. That is why, while visiting it, you can see students getting around. They are easily identifiable by their colourful and personalised coats everywhere in the city.
Visiting Cluny Abbey enable us to understand monastery daily life, monks works and duties as day subdivisions religious service, or manuscript copy. A room of the abbey got a very nice collection of old books back from 12th century. A 3D film also shows us the magnificient Maior Ecclesia.
Cluny is also one of the few city to possess a national stud farm since Napoleon period (19th century). Guided tours available.
Other Cities nearby : Berzé-le-Chatel, Mâcon…