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Tournus - an elegant monastic town

Tournus is an elegant town with an important monastic heritage. The town's beautiful location on the River Saône, coupled with its rich patrimony and gastronomy make it one of the most idyllic small cities in this region of idyllic places. Renowned for many things, Tournus has plenty to show the visitor, and its location also offers good possibilities for exploring further afield to the lesser known region of Franche-Comté or into the mountainous regions of the Massif Central or the Alps.

Wining and dining in Tournus

The town has all the services you would associate with towns of its size, providing shops, health care, schools, a library, a cinema and even an open air swimming pool. High on your list of what to do in Tournus however, has to be the commandment "Eat, drink and be merry!", as this town is one of the most notable in the country for the delightful combination of its wine and its gastronomy. The town not only has some superb Michelin starred restaurants but also specialist shops for foodstuffs, including a renowned chocolatier and a cheese shop that produces some of the finest cheeses from the region.

Enjoy the Saturday market or sample some wines

If you have eaten and drunk your fill, there is plenty more to occupy you. There's a Saturday market, always a pleasure for browsing and picking up fresh, local ingredients, or you may like to go wine tasting on a tour of a local vineyard. Enjoy a river cruise, or get active and play a round of golf or try your hand at horse-riding, walking or cycling which are all great ways to see the surrounding countryside while enjoying the fresh air.

Visit the beautiful Abbey of Saint Philibert

This little gem of a town also offers a treasure trove of sights and monuments. An important monastic centre since the 10th century, Tournus has a beautiful Abbey, said to be one of the best examples of Romanesque religious architecture in Europe. Allow plenty of time for a visit to the Abbey as there are many wonderful features, with a 12th century mosaic floor, lovely cloisters, chapter house, towers to climb and art exhibitions held in the original refectory. The Abbey also has cafés and craft shops for your enjoyment.

Many more sights to see

Further sights, in addition to the elegant houses and streets which are in themselves a pleasure to see, include the Hotel Dieu, the old hospital, and the Museum Greuze, a celebration of the town's famous artist son, Jean-Baptiste Greuze. The River Saône and its colourful port, still an important centre of commerce, are delightful and these together with the acclaimed vineyards are worth adding to your itinerary around town.

Explore the surrounding towns or drive to the Alps

Places to visit in the vicinity are the picturesque town of Cluny, Louhans with its fascinating poultry market, a glass blowing studio in Savignon and the departmental capital of Macon. Further afield you can travel to the Alps to the south-east of Tournus, to the Massif Central to the south-west, or discover the delightfully undiscovered Jura department of Franche-Comté to the east.

How to get there

The only drawback to this department is the lack of a local international airport. To arrive by air you need to head for Lyon or Geneva, Lyon currently being served by British Airways, Air France, Bmi Baby and easyJet, and Geneva by all these airlines and more. However should you prefer the option of rail travel you will find you can make the entire journey by rail, although you will have to make a couple of changes. The TGV ruins to both Macon and Chalon sur Saône, from where you can change to a local service to Tournus itself. Drivers will find the town near the major A6 motorway.

Property prices and availability in and around Tournus

Property in Burgundy can be on the expensive side as the region tends to be pretty upmarket and sought after, although it has in no way been taken over by tourism or ex-pats. However, the area around Tournus has currently many bargains on the market, with properties from as little as 55,000 Euros for a conversion project through to a superb period dwelling for just under 500,000 Euros.

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WHERE IS Tournus?

Tournus is located in the east of France, in the east of the Saône et Loire department, close to its regional border with the Rhône-Alpes.

Tournus Property Map


Burgundy Guide

Burgundy Property Map


Saône-et-loire Guide

  Saône-et-loire Map

Population: 6,247

Access: By air: Fly to Lyon or Geneva. By train: The town has a railway station for local lines. The nearest TGV stops are at Chalon sur Saône or Macon. By road: The town is accessed from the A6 auto route.

Economy: Wine production, chair making and commerce connected with the river port are the essences of the economy.

Interesting fact: The celebrated gastronomy of Tournus offers everything from a world famous chocolatier to a renowned cheese maker.

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