Cluny Travel Guide

  • Cluny
    by Chickytrick
  • Cluny
    by Chickytrick
  • Cluny
    by Chickytrick

Cluny Things to Do

  • Be sure to visit the Abbey Museum

    The Musée Ochier, in the abbey palace, has remains of Romanesque sculptures. Remains of both the abbey and the village constructed around it are displayed, as well aspart of the Monks' Library.There are concerts there too. We walked in with the musicians, followed them to the Green Room and were promptly chased out by a very pleasant...

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  • Market Day

    The Market in Cluny was of the better ones we attended in Burgundy. Very good fresh produce were on sal, and the whole town came alive.Saturdays are market days.

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  • Study the Maquettes in the Fariniere

    Careful models of how Cluny III looked before its devastations, were made by Conant and his helpers. These are now exhibited with the recovered stonework in the Fariniere. They help a visitor to visualize the size and magnificence of the buildings and their protective fortifications.

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  • Look at the Figured Capitals

    It is important to realize that the carving of capitals began shortly after 1050 after centuries of an absence of sculptural technic. It began in a workshop (or two) in the Moissac and Toulouse area. These monasteries and churches were in very close affiliation with Cluny and undoubtedly the same craftsmen worked on capitals for Cluny. The...

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  • The Flour Store (Fariniere) Is a Museum

    The 13C Flour Store being utilitarian was not destroyed during the Revolution. It retains its original chestnut roof on the upper story and today houses most of the sculptural finds (capitals and other decorations), models plus a few pieces of columns and an altar reconstructed like the choir. On the altar is a fine carving that we cannot decipher...

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  • Look at the National Stud (Haras)

    The area of the stud overlaps the monastery grounds and part of it was built of stone quarried from the destroyed church. Guided tours occur during the February-June period but we did not enter.

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  • Find the Chapel of Jean de Bourbon

    The Chapel of Jean de Bourbon was added to the South side of the shorter eastern second transept in 1456-85 and is in late Gothic style. Jean was the first commendatory Abbot and with his appointment , the monastery began its slow decline and loss of power. The12 carved consoles are of the prophets who supported a “related” Apostle (whose statues...

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  • Enter the South Transept Arm

    Essentially built between 1088 and 1130 (with additions) , Cluny III was at the time the largest Catholic church in Europe, 600 feet long and 100 feet high in the South Tower. The remains of the church are minimal but the giant transept is worth the visit. This great "ecclesiastical graduate school" turned out the best church managers for some...

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  • Visit the Abbey-complex - Intoduction

    Do give yourself enough time to visit the abbey. The 'tour' starts at the museum - you will find directions all over town 'abbey-tickets'. The tours are only in French, although you will pay the same entrance fee despite the fact that you will not understand a word of French. I did receive a comment fron a fellow VT'er that tours are available in...

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  • Visit the abbey

    Take the guided tour of the abbey. Our guide was very enthusiastic even if his english was not always up to the task.The abbey was huge, you can only get an idea of its size from todays remains. The abbey grew in power until it rivalled Rome and was unimaginably rich. It was the largest building in the christian world until St Peters got a...

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  • National Equine Stud-Farm

    Beautiful buildings. They have organized tours during the afternoons.The ticket office is only open as from a few minutes before the tours.Unfortunately it is only in French.

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  • Solutre

    Do visit this important archeological site. It is only about 30 minutes drive from Cluny. The museum is well designed and very informative. Audio is available in English.After visiting the museum, you can take a hike to the top of the rock of Solutre.

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  • Walking Tour - Cluny

    Besides the amazing visit of the abbey, it is worth walking along the old walls. You will find original entrances, wash-houses, the other towers, the Hotel-Dieu de Cluny, and many other interesting sights.You will also find a view point which gives great views of the town and surroundings.

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  • tour des Formage

    This tower is apparently the oldest of all the surviving buildings of the abbey. Climb the stairs for an amazing 360 degree view. It also gives a better idea of how the abbey was built.You buy tickets from the desk at the tourist info.

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  • Notre Dame - Cluny

    Take a few minutes to visit this beautiful old cathedral. The crucifixion is a focus point as you walk into this old building.

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  • Visit the Abbey-complex : Part 2

    The next buiding is clearly marked as part of the abbey-tour. Here you will find many parts of the abbey which survived. You will also be able to watch a very impressive 3-D movie of what the abbey must have looked like in its original condition. It is only in French - but the visuals are more than enough.You can now continue your tour to the...

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  • Visit the Abbey-complex - Part 1

    Your our can start at the ticket office. Here you can visit Jean de Bourbon's palace and Jaques d'Ambroise's palace.There is a shop at the ticket office.Leaving the ticket office you will see the arches on your right (entrance to abbey). Continue to your left where you will see a huge area where a large part of the main abbey was built.

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  • Market morning

    We weren't there on a Saturday so I don't have a photo but there is a market in the central square every Saturday morning. The flowers throughout the village were so pretty that I just know the market would be worth a visit. Perhaps you could time your visit on Saturday and visit the market first and the Abbey after lunch.Just a thought.

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  • Excavations of the abbey

    Next to the church and the museum there is the excavation site. It's open and you can walk around freely. The Hôtel de Bourgogne stands on the site and again this gives a good impression of the size the old abbey had.

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  • Horses

    In Cluny there is a large place for the raising and training of horses, the Haras National.In March 2006 we didn't see any horses, only heard them in their stables. The roads were slippery so I imagine the thoroughbreds had to stay inside so that they don't get hurt. When we were there in August 2004, we often saw them and you could go and watch...

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  • the abbey

    Just walking around in Cluny you get an idea of how huge the abbey once was. The church and some towers are still standing. There is a museum which has a model of what it had looked like in the middle ages.

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Cluny Hotels

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Cluny Restaurants

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    by christine.j Updated Jul 27, 2008

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    We had dinner in the restaurant attached to our hotel. You have to tell them before if you plan to eat there. They have a set "menu", a choice of appetizers, soup, main course and dessert for 22 Euro. A lot cheaper than ordering the items by themselves! A Crémant de Bourgogne as apéritive, a good local wine during the meal, I'm getting hungry and thirsty again just describing it.
    They have an open fireplace in the dining - room; it made a very cosy atmosphere. We were somewhat startled when the background music switched to "Silent Night", after all it was early March, even when it was cold and snowing.
    The choice of vegetarian dishes is limited, but they were very friendly and helpful and took their time to explain the ingredients to us.

    Update July 2008:

    The restaurant is just as good as ever! The price for the menu has gone up, it's now 25 Euro and we had to pay for the water. In March 2006 this was free, maybe because we were staying in off-season.
    We had an appetizer brought to us by the waiters, who explained that it was salmon paste with pepper, excellent. Then goat cheese pastry,fish, guinea fowl, ratatouille, black currant sorbet, a cheese platter, a good regional wine, alltogether 115 Euro for four people , more that we'd usually spend but worth it for a special occasion.

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Cluny Transportation

  • Walk

    Try not to drive around in the central part. It is much easier to park your car and walk. There is actually no reason to drive around as everything is in walking distance.

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  • Inside Cluny, WALK!

    The old part of Cluny is the most interesting, but it's a nightmare to drive there. There's no need to, as there is a good road leading all around it and a large,free parking lot. Inside there are a few parking spaces, but several times I saw the police walking around and putting tickets on the windshields.The streets are very narrow. One of the...

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  • Cluny Hotels

    2 Hotels in Cluny

    11 Reviews and Opinions

Cluny Off The Beaten Path

  • christine.j's Profile Photo

    by christine.j Written Mar 21, 2006

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    About 15 kilometers from Cluny there is a large cave system, the Grottes de Azé.During the stone age people have lived in the caves. The skeleton of a cave bear was found there and can still be seen. There is a small museum where you can learn more about the stone age and the caves.
    We were there in August 2004, it was very hot outside, but cold inside, also wet. When you plan to join a tour into the caves, bring a warm sweater and wear good shoes, no sandals.
    The tour is in French only, but there are leaflets in English available.

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel

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Cluny Favorites

  • christine.j's Profile Photo
    The oldest house in Cluny

    by christine.j Written Mar 21, 2006

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Favorite thing: I cannot tell you much about the oldest house in Cluny, so I cannot make this a "what to do" tip. It's just a very nice memory. It was raining heavily, but I was determined to take a few pictures. So I was standing in the pouring rain, when a very old man came and asked me if I was a tourist. I thought he was very polite, dropping the "crazy". Who else but a crazy tourist would be standing in the rain taking pictures??
    He then showed me the oldest house in Cluny and told me all about its history.However, about halfway down his long speech my French deserted me, so I only remember that the house changed colour some time during the centuries. I'm not sure if it was white and now is grey or if it was grey and now is white. It didn't look very white to me, but I was seeing it through a sheet of grey rain.
    When he had come to an end, we were both pretty wet, but I could tell that he was really happy to have found someone to give this information to.Of course I took a picture of the house and thanked him. (And then went back to the hotel to change into something dry.)

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