"Like a white dress of churches"

The Romanesque churches of the Charolais-Brionnais

Learn about the adventures of the Romanesque-style builders in Burgundy: in the 11th century, the precepts of Cluny Abbey began to spread across the whole of Europe, and to keep up with this new momentum, a number of churches were built in the Charolais-Brionnais. More than 100 in fact! Here is a selection of just a few examples of Romanesque art in Southern Burgundy!

You are bound to be passing close by one of them while you're staying in the region, so don't hesitate to stop by and visit some of them along your way!

It's time to set off on a road trip!

On the "Chemins du Roman" trail

From Paray-le-Monial, there are 3 road trips available on the theme of Romanesque art, and to explore these beautiful creations from the builders of the Middle Ages, you'll be driving along small country roads through the lush green Charolais-Brionnais country.

Each chapel and each church has its very own charm and its own unique characteristics: whether it is thanks to the simplicity of the sculptures on the tympanums and capitals, the themes represented by the sculptures or frescoes, the colour of the stone that varies from white to red, and even shades of ochre, you can expect a brand new discovery and emotions at each one!

See the routes

Détail du tympan de la collégiale Saint-Hilaire à Semur-en-Brionnais
Alain Doire -BFC Tourisme
Détail du tympan de la collégiale Saint-Hilaire à Semur-en-Brionnais Alain Doire -BFC Tourisme
L'église du Sacré-Cœur à Charolles
Alain Doire -BFC Tourisme
L'église du Sacré-Cœur à Charolles Alain Doire -BFC Tourisme
Vue intérieure de Notre-Dame-de-l'Assomption à Anzy-le-Duc
Alain Doire -BFC Tourisme
Vue intérieure de Notre-Dame-de-l'Assomption à Anzy-le-Duc Alain Doire -BFC Tourisme
Basilique de Paray-le-Monial
Alain Doire / BFC Tourisme
Basilique de Paray-le-Monial Alain Doire / BFC Tourisme

In the autumn

It is without a doubt in the autumn that you should come and explore the region's Romanesque art. Anzy-le-Duc, Saint-Pierre de Brancion and the others all take on a rather mystical appearance when the low-angled autumn light streams in through the windows.

A lesson in art history

The fascinating Romanesque style…

The Romanesque style developed in Europe between the 11th and 12th centuries. How can it be characterised?

  • Thick walls which gave the buildings a more robust appearance.
  • Very few windows.
  • Rounded shapes and very few or no pointed angles (although Cluny Abbey still has pointed arches).
  • Façades of bigger buildings are flanked by two big towers

In Burgundy, this influence can be seen throughout the Charolais and Brionnais country: there are more than 100 Romanesque churches here, some of them spectacular, some more humble, some on a village hilltop and some hidden in the woodland.

How about staying a while longer?

A getaway in the Brionnais

The Brionnais is a little "country" in Southern Burgundy and is a real Land of Cockaigne.

Shades of green, the white of the Charolais cows, and cream (well actually more ochre than cream) on the façades of the many Romanesque churches dotted across the region.

You've understood by now: whether you're interested in nature or culture, a stay in the Brionnais is the promise of a relaxing and easy-going experience.

A weekend in the Charolais-Brionnais
Paysage avec vaches charolaises
Alain Doire - BFC Tourisme
En résumé
A propos
Détail du tympan de la collégiale Saint-Hilaire à Semur-en-Brionnais Alain Doire -BFC Tourisme
L'église du Sacré-Cœur à Charolles Alain Doire -BFC Tourisme
Vue intérieure de Notre-Dame-de-l'Assomption à Anzy-le-Duc Alain Doire -BFC Tourisme
Basilique de Paray-le-Monial Alain Doire / BFC Tourisme