Via Cluny: 570 km of hiking itineraries between France and Switzerland, including 119 km in Burgundy
The Via Cluny is a section of the Chemins de Cluny, one of the great "Cultural Routes" of the Council of Europe. It extends from Burgundy to Switzerland and crosses Jura. This 27-stage itinerary provides a link between 2 existing routes of the Way of St James.
Starting at Cluny, you'll cover nearly 120 km in Burgundy, from Mâcon to the heart of the Bresse Bourguignonne region. You'll walk through some lovely soothing natural settings and discover Cluniac heritage features and other local gems... all the peace and quiet you need for a gentle adventure.
Walking along the Via Cluny is like taking a leap into the past, following in the footsteps of the builders of yesteryear, for a truly revitalising experience.
The political, artistic and religious influence of Cluny in Europe
You cannot possibly follow the Via Cluny without stopping to visit Cluny itself, where the itinerary starts and ends. You'll see the famous abbey, built in 910 by William the Pious. In the Middle Ages, the influence of the extraordinary abbatial church, placed directly under the protection of Rome, reached the outer limits of Europe.
Take the time to recharge your batteries in the cloister's silent galleries, stroll in the medieval town packed with Romanesque and Gothic architecture, and see various relics at the Musée d'Art & d'Archéologie…
And if your legs can take it, we recommend climbing the 120 steps to the top of the Tour des Fromages to enjoy a superb panoramic view over this abbey town.
Other Cluniac sites & fabulous discoveries along the way
To plunge yourself totally into the legacy of the past, don't hesitate to deviate occasionally from the itinerary.
- Make a detour via Cuisery, one of France's eight “Book towns”. Besides meeting second-hand book sellers, printers or binders, you'll be able to walk along a trail that combines traces of the medieval past with boutiques selling souvenirs of the French Resistance.
- The medieval village of Brancion is also worth a visit. It was renowned for its strategic position on a mountain pass in the Mâcon area. Brancion castle stands like a fortress, highly coveted for many long years.
- Tournus, Romenay, Cuiseaux… On the Via Cluny, there's no shortage of towns and villages that have been officially recognised as places of art and history or simply of great character! Between the banks of the Saône and the Bresse region, they will take you on a trip through time for a pleasant break before you continue your journey.
Cuisery, a book town
Village of Brancion
Verger de Cuiseaux Gate
A multitude of authentic landscapes
During your journey, you'll cross a variety of settings: the hills around Mâcon and Tournus, the Saône plain, the banks of the river Seille and the Bresse Bourguigonne countryside. Quite simply, there's something for everyone!
In terms of waterways, the itinerary follows the banks of the Saône, one of the most important rivers in France. It was a major waterway for trade for nearly 3,000 years and since the 19th century it has also carried pleasure boats and fishing vessels.
Its lesser-known tributary, the Seille, offers an even more bucolic setting and is reputed as being one of the most beautiful navigable waterways in France. Take the time to stop for a break and enjoy the host of watersports available.
For example, the Embarcadère watersports centre in La Truchère does boat rentals, cruises and even boat trips with meals on board!
Fans of the great outdoors will be delighted too! Taking to the heights, they'll appreciate the stunning view over the Cluny region from the top of Mount Saint-Romain.
Bresse is famous for its chickens, but visitors will also be amazed by the region's scenery, a mix of pastures, hedgerows and woodland.
Where to stay on the Cluny trails?
Campsites, guestrooms, gîtes, hotels... You'll find some fabulous places to stay along the route. Here are our suggestions!
On the map
View our recommendations along the route at a single glance!
Prepare for your hike
To help you organise your exploration along the Via Cluny, take advantage of the free tools available:
- Full details of the entire Via Cluny itinerary
- To view the long-distance itinerary
- To see all of the loops suggested along the way
The Cuisery loop trail awaits you!
Abbey, national stud, art and archaeology museum... To the Thomas family, Cluny is an absolute must!
Other hiking routes in Burgundy
Burgundy has a multitude of hiking routes besides the Via Cluny! There are plenty of itineraries to take you exploring the region's natural features and heritage gems, not forgetting the local culinary delights!
The GR®213a trail, for example, offers a spiritual experience as you walk from Fontenay to Vézelay, while on the GR2 you'll get to know the river Seine.
The GR®2 trail in Burgundy: a walk along the banks of the Seine
Natural treasures, unique heritage and villages full of character... Explore along the GR®2 trail to discover an intimate side of Burgundy that will surprise you! Prepare your rucksack and follow this itinerary across the Department of Côte d'Or along the banks of the river Seine. From Dijon to Châtillon-sur-Seine, you'll enjoy a pleasant walk in the intimacy of this legendary river that's such an iconic part of the history of France.