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Cluny - an Abbey town

The small town of Cluny, which is found in the picturesque and gentle landscapes of the Saône et Loire department of Burgundy in eastern central France, is famed worldwide as the birthplace of Saint Benedict, and for being the one time home of the influential Benedictine order. The Abbey is still the most famous landmark in the region, and attracts many visitors to Cluny.

Genteel with a youthful vibe

Life in Cluny proceeds at a genteel pace, in keeping with the spiritual importance the town once held. The community is mainly based around agriculture, although there are one or two other elements to town life here that bring a youthful vibe to add to the atmosphere. There is a highly respected school, an "École Supérieur" in the town, based in some of the Abbey buildings, where the cream of France's young engineers is trained. Tourism, thanks to the Abbey, the beauty of the town and the National Equestrian Centre, is also of some significance.

Shops, restaurants and festivals

The town has a good number of amenities, with enough shops to supply all your daily needs and more besides, and with several very good restaurants. That's about it for nightlife though, it isn't the place to aim for if you are hoping to add nightclubbing to your list of activities. That said, Cluny, like all self respecting French towns and villages, loves to host a party, and there are a number of cultural events that take place every year.

Sights and monuments to see

Cluny is, of course, most notable for its Abbey, and for being the birthplace of Saint Benedict. The Abbey and its grounds can be visited, but sadly, much of the church and the original Abbey buildings were destroyed long ago, a situation not much helped by the damaged church being used as a source of stone during the French Revolution, and again by Napoleon who used stones from the Abbey Church to build his National Stud for his horses. However, there is still a good bit to see, with a couple of convent buildings remaining, and also the Abbey Palace, home to the Ochier Museum. In this excellent museum you can see reconstructions of how the old Abbey used to look, and find artefacts from Cluny in the mediaeval period.

Visit the National Stud

Other buildings to see are the Chapel of Saint Jean de Bourbon, a beautiful Gothic chapel, and the Cheese Tower, a very impressive tall tower once used as a store for cheese and other local produce. The town itself is lovely, very authentic and well worth strolling around to enjoy its graceful buildings and pleasant ambience. Lovers of horses will thoroughly enjoy visiting the National Stud and watching the amazing displays of equestrianism.

Discover the delightful surrounding area

Cluny lies in a little known area of Burgundy, at least when it comes to the main tourist destinations in France. The region, with its waterways, pastures and elegant, historical villages and towns is delightful, and deserves to be more popular. That said, too many visitors might transform this tranquil and beautiful place into something less desirable, so perhaps the secret is better kept!

Visit Macon and historic Charolais

Places to visit within reach of Cluny include the departmental capital city, Macon, where great wines are produced, or the historic town of Charolais with its doe-eyed cattle. The picturesque countryside all around is dotted with chateaux, and divided by canals and rivers, perfect for relaxing walking, horse-riding or cycling.

How to get there

The nearest airport is quite a distance at Lyon (92 kilometres away), which is probably the reason why the area is not so well known to British visitors and property seekers. Lyon is served by British Airways, Air France, easy Jet and Bmi Baby. Geneva is also an option, served by these airlines as well as Flybe and Jet2. The TGV offers another option, as it runs to Macon making train travel possible, or you can drive, finding the town from the D980. The nearest major roads are the A6 auto route and the N79.

Property prices and availability in and around Cluny

Parts of Burgundy have become rather expensive, due to a popularity with retired ex-pats who love the elegant lifestyle, good food and wine and gentle climate, but the Saône et Loire department remains largely undiscovered, and prices are very reasonable.

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Cluny is situated in the east of central France, in the south of the Saône et Loire department.

Cluny Property Map


Burgundy Guide

Burgundy Property Map


Saône-et-loire Guide

  Saône-et-loire Map

Population: 4,835

Access: By air: Fly to Lyon or Geneva. By rail: You can take the TGV to nearby Macon. By road: Cluny can be accessed by road from the D980.

Economy: The economy includes agriculture, tourism and crafts.

Interesting fact: Aside from Rome, this little town was once the most influential town in the world in matters of Christian religion.

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