Things to do and see in South Burgundy

Modern Cluny is a small provincial town that has the infrastructure which reflects its importance from Roman to medieval times. For the visitor its  'I' tourist information centre is a great place to start. The office is opposite the church just off the main square. Here a helpful, multilingual staff will help you to get the most from your visit.

Office de Tourisme - 71250 CLUNY - tel : (0033) (0)3 85 59 05 34

Tour FromageFromage Tower

From the top of this fine structure next to the information centre, wonderful panoramas of the town and its environs can be gained - including to the West, Champ Boyer with its fields and woodland.

Admission is through the Information Centre on payment of a nominal fee.

Haras at Cluny Haras Nationalego to external link
(National Stud)

Cluny is famous throughout France as a major equestrian Centre.

Guided tours of the ancient National Stud buildings are now available throughout the week and one can see their fine collection of carriages and the magnificent horses stabled within. The Haras houses a bewildering array of breeds from Arabs to Percherons - these latter giants give a whole new meaning to the phrase 'horse power'.

The stable cadets can often be seen in and around the town exercising the horses. There is an open air show jumping arena featuring regular events together with a new parade ground.

Just to the East of the river is the Cluny horse race track that too has associated stabling and horse riding and teaching facilities.

Even if you have no interest in equestrian matters you will be charmed by the many mares and their foals that graze the fields surrounding the town.

Tour Ronde Tour Ronde
Much of the old town wall still exists and is well worth exploring. This beautiful 'Rapunzel-like' tower overlooks the town hall parkland and leads down, beyond the Haras to a massive round tower at the North East corner of the old town.

This tower still bears the water erosion marks that are evidence of the medieval years when the monks flooded a huge area of the Grosne valley North of the town to create a carp lake whose waters lapped against the old wall.

The Abbey and the excavations

Tours of the Abbey remains are conducted daily. The fee includes access to the Abbey Museum. A new three dimensional film display showing the evolution of the abbey is of special interest.

The vastness of this edifice can be witnessed by standing where once the West door was situated. The iconic tower alongside the smaller bell tower headed the South Transept. An identical tower originally graced the North transept with an even larger structure over the crossing.

Excavations are ongoing with new finds being added to the museum collection almost daily.

ENSAM
Cluny has a large technical college on the Abbey site.

Occasional college events permit access to the grounds where one can walk the Abbey ambulatory, see the huge grain store building with its hammer beam ceiling, where some quality chamber recitals are performed.

During term time the students add vibrancy to the many cafés and bars in the town.

Antiques

Genuine bargains are seldom found. Many local towns organise 'Brocante' sales which are staffed usually by dealers and 'Bric-a-Brac' stall holders; the town of Cormatan (13 km) holds these regularly. A huge property close to the Atac supermarket in Cluny has a substantial, if chaotic, display and is open daily during the summer.

The weekly market

Every Saturday is market day in Cluny. Regular stalls that tour the region are supplemented by sellers of local produce. The market is very busy and takes up the entire town square and approaches. Go early and park off the by-pass behind the post office. If you can't go on Saturday there's a list of nearby town market days on the Champ Boyer notice board. Those at Charolles (41km) or St. Gengoux-le-National (23km) are worth a visit.

Nearby attractions

Chateaus
The chateaus of France in many instances suffered, for obvious reasons, greatly during the revolution; consequently unlike most of the great British country houses they are often devoid of original family history, furnishings and memorabilia. The chateau of the soldier/poet Lamartine in the Grosne valley just beyond St. Point (13km) is a notable exception. The stunning fortress chateau at Berzey La Ville (7km) although occupied is occasionally opened to the public. The chateaus of Pierreclos (15km) with its vinyards and Cormatin (13km) with its renovated gardens are also worth visiting.

Museums

France, in recent years, has developed some magnificent museums. Locally there are three private, commercial collections of note. Just off the D981 on the Cluny side of Cormatin (is the small Musée de Poilu – a moving dedication to the French soldiers of the 1st World War. In total contrast is The George du Boeuf 'Hameau du vin' by Romanèche Thorins (35km) South of Macon signposted off the N6. The arboretum near Dompierre les Ormes (22km) has a new sophisticated building displaying all aspects of trees and their relationship with mankind.
The nearby cities of Beaune (75km) Macon (23km) and Lyon (87km) host many collections reflecting every aspect of French life and European history.

Sports and physical activities

Cycling

'Voie Verte' tunnel south toward Macon temporarily closed towards the end of 2014
- route North remains open. More details on Burgundy by Bike page about 'Bois Clair' tunnel.

The continental passion for cycling has led to the creation of a 'Voie Verte'.  The old railway route from Macon, west and then north through the Grosne valley has been reinvented and turned into a leisure cycle, skate and skate board track. As local communes join the scheme the route is being extended.

It presently goes from Berzé la Ville south of Cluny to the medieval village of St. Gengoux National to the north a distance of 32kms. On the route at the site of the now disused Cluny railway station visitors can hire cycles of all shapes and sizes and enjoy a leisurely trip through the 2km long tunnel to Berzé la Ville (7km) or to Cormatin (13km) for lunch at one of its many roadside cafés.

Skiing

Champ Boyer is but 125 kms from the Haut Jura. In less than an hour and a half you can drive to the slopes where the 260 mile Grande Traverse Du Jura –France’s longest cross country trail – passes annually.

The picturesque Ski village resorts of Les Rousses, Prémanon, Lamoura and Bois-d’Amont nestle here by the Swiss border and provide 26 miles of slopes. Les Rousses (alt. 1120 m- 1680m) has cross country lighted night-time trails, 18 Ski lifts serving 19 slopes, lake ice skating and Ski Jump facilities. Please see the  Haut Jura skiing page for more information.

Golf

An assortment of left and right handed Clubs (mostly irons) together with a bag of practice balls are kept at the house for use with the practice net and mat.

The commercial course owners 'Golfy' have an 18 hole facility (6025 metres, par 71) – La Salle with a driving range and practice areas near Charbonnières (21km) north of Macon. Clubs may be hired here and some of the desk staff speak good English. Reservations and tee times available from (0033) (0)3 85 36 09 71 www.golfmacon.com.

Macon's other golf course La Commanderie by the village of Crottet is less expensive and has practise facilities.

Horse Riding

See Haras National above. Veronique the house guardian has her horse 'Lagune' grazing the fields behind Champ Boyer together with her friends horses which are also tame and amenable.

Swimming and Beach Facilities

Cluny boasts an outdoor civic swimming pool with diving boards on the eastern edge of town. By the village of St. Point (13km) there is a caravan site by a large lake with swimming, pedalos and refreshment bars. The site is open to non residents and offers pleasant walks around the lake.

Full beach-style facilities are offered at the 'Lac de Laives' by the village of Laives (32km) north of Cormatin. They include pedalos, safe swimming and a Taverna. Everything from sand castles to boating and from fishing to life guard monitored swimming is available here.

Places to eat

The following local good quality restaurants are recommended.;
-» Auberge at Croix Blanche by Berzé la Ville (7km);
-» Hotel de L'Abbey and the Auberge du Cheval Blanc in the town,
-» Rochfort on the D980 on the town by-pass;
-» Auberge at Bourgvilain (9km) in the Grosne valley to the south,
-» Trattoria which is over the Roman bridge opposite the Post Office in town
-» Les Marronniers - a restaurant / bar opposite Auberge du Cheval Blanc - excellent value.

le Saint Martin

Le Saint Martin in Chapaize

One of the owners' favourites is Le Saint Martin in Chapaize (17km) owned by classical violinist Markus Held and his partner.

It offers a simple low choice menu at affordable prices. Markus arranges a number of chamber recitals locally that are well worth attending.

You can find it opposite the wonderful 11th Century Romanesque church of St. Martin (open to visitors). The village is well worth a visit even if you don't dine or lunch there.

Restaurant de la Poste at Poisson

Auberge de la Poste

For a special event a meal at the Auberge at Poisson (51km) near Charolles pictured above will provide a never to be forgotten restaurant meal. It's necessary to book and the "menu gastronomique", which includes wines for every course, although approximately €60 per head, is the reason for the recommendation.

Lyon has many world famous Michelin starred restaurants as does Macon which also boasts a number of river front Cafés that have changed little since the 1920s. Lyon is probably too far for an evening meal but lunch at the famous Brasserie George is an 'Art Deco' experience not to be missed.

Wines

The owner's wine 'Esprit d'Abelard' is for fun and not for drinking. However, Champ Boyer is saddled between, in the south the Beaujolais (take a trip to Fleurie - 39km by way of Tramayes and Ouroux and lunch at either of the two adjacent cafés by the church) by Pouilly Fuisse (23km) by the Maconais and its superb Chardonnays; by the Chalonais and the Côte D'Or to the north and by the Côte de Beaune.

Most producers will welcome you for a free 'degustation' {tasting session} as will the 'Caves Co-operative' where it is probably safest to make your wine purchases. Recommended co-operatives are those at Fleurie (39km), Sologny (11km), Aze (13km), Igé (13km), Buxy (34km) and Bissey (37km).

The 10 litre boxes are excellent value, but obviously you need to be driving home after your holiday in order to stock up with the region's fabulous wines.

Places of worship

The world famous ecumenical centre of Taizé is 10 kms north of Cluny just to the west of the D980. During the summer months this has become a place of pilgrimage for young Christians from all over the world.

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