Abbey church of Cluny

Spiritual heart of medieval Europe

In 2010 six countries in western Europe celebrated the 1100th anniversary of the founding of Cluny abbey. Visit the imposing remains of the abbey church as part of a pleasant holiday in the Clunisois, exploring its heritage and equestrian traditions.

Well before Rome!

Cluny abbey was founded in 910 by Guillaume d'Aquitaine. Construction was completed in the mid 12th century, the high point of the abbey's history. For five hundred years, until Saint Peter's in Rome was built, the abbey church of Cluny was the largest religious building in Europe (177m long). It produced a number of Popes.

Three abbey churches

The first church was built in the 10th century in Carolingian style. In the following century a second church was the first example of “early Romanesque art”. Less than a hundred years later building work began on the basilica of St-Pierre-et-St-Paul.

The abbey church was demolished during the French Revolution and only part of it remains. As you walk around town you can begin to see how vast the buildings must have been.

The crosspieces of the right transept give some idea of the original dimensions.

In part of the narthex you can just make out the position of the five naves.

The 18th century abbey buildings and cloisters blend in harmoniously.

Should Cluny be rebuilt? Appeals have been made to rebuild the abbey, in the same way as the Frauenkirche in Dresden was rebuilt. Inside the abbey church and the Tour des Fromages, high-tech "enhanced reality" interfaces (the so-called "Gunzo" project) enable visitors to 'see' what the building once looked like.

Equestrian centre

The Clunisois is an important stop on the Cross Burgundy cycle route and boasts a number of horseback trails. A centre for stallions was founded in Cluny under Napoleon I and this later developed into the National Stud whose stables are open to the public.

Labels :

  • Pays d'Art et d'Histoire - Entre Cluny et Tournus
Office de Tourisme de Cluny et du Clunisois
6, rue Mercière - 71250 - CLUNY -
03 85 59 05 34
Horaires d'ouverture de l'Office de tourisme de Cluny
  • L'office de tourisme de Cluny est à votre écoute pour réserver un hôtel ou une chambre d'hôtes. Il assure la billetterie des spectacles et met à votre disposition une borne internet.

    En Janvier, février, mars, novembre, décembre :
    - De 10 h à 12 h 30 et de 14 h 30 à 17 h
    - Fermé le dimanche
    Avril :
    - De 10 h à 12 h 30 et de 14 h 30 à 18 h 45
    - Fermé le dimanche
    De mai à fin septembre :
    - De 9 h 30 à 19 h, tous les jours (non-stop)
    Octobre :
    - De 10 h à 12 h 30 et de 14 h 30 à 18 h
    - Fermé le dimanche

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