Basilica of Paray-le-Monial or a small-scale version of Cluny Abbey
The Romanesque Basilica of Paray-le-Monial is a perfect replica - but in a smaller scale - of what Cluny looked like before it was destroyed: you can see the three floors and light streaming through the high windows, that are much more understated in the choir.
The basilica may seem rather austere from the outside, but make sure you take the time to visit it and look all around you to see some surprises: a beautiful Romanesque gate on the north side, an abundance of decorative sculptures portraying plants, legendary animals, birds, foliage, lions, bunches of grapes, etc., across the 365 capitals, and all bathed in the golden light streaming through the nave... a dream!
Along the "Chemins du Roman" trails
The Basilica of the Sacred Heart is a popular place with pilgrims due to the visions of 17th-century nun, Margaret Mary Alacoque. It is the departure point for several trails in the form of road trips on the theme of Romanesque art
These trails will lead you across the Brionnais and Charolais country, the Lands of Cockaigne, and you'll see all the treasures of Romanesque art there, of varying shapes and sizes: lay abbeys, small chapels, ochre and white churches, etc.
Paray-le-Monial is a monastic town that was built around a Cluniac priory.
The highlight of Paray-le-Monial is, of course, the Basilica of the Sacred Heart. But there is a lot more to see, to interest the whole family! To find out more, click on the link!Explore the town
3 museums to visit
Burgundy, a spiritual land
Burgundy saw the creation of two significant movements in monastic reform which had a great impact throughout Europe in the Middle Ages, and as such, it is a highly spiritual region. There are no less than 3 sites in Burgundy out of the 19 French sites that are members of the Villes Sanctuaires network, and Paray-le-Monial is one of them.
- Nevers, where Bernadette Soubirou resided for many years,
- Vézelay, on the Way of St. James, and where you can find the tomb of Sainte-Marie-Madeleine,
- and Paray-le-Monial, devoted to the Sacred Heart celebrations after a 17th-century nun saw Christ appear to her several times.
A boat trip or bike ride around Paray-le-Monial
The Canal du Centre crosses through the town. On foot, by bike along the Eurovélo 6 or by boat, there are lots of ways to explore this unmissable town!
At the heart of the Brionnais country, the Canal du Centre runs alongside Paray-le-Monial, providing lots of possibilities for outdoor activities.
The Eurovélo6 is a superb international cycle path and runs alongside the Canal du Centre, passing through Paray-le-Monial
The Canal du Centre flows between the Saône and Loire valleys, between Chalon-sur-Saône and Digoin. A small canal with peaceful, rural surroundings, perfect for a relaxing exploration at your own pace!
Burgundy at your own pace