Cluny Abbey and Musée Ochier-Palais Jean de Bourbon
Tel: 33 3 85 59 12 79
Tour des Fromages
6 Rue Mercière
Tel: 33 3 85 59 05 34
Cluny National Stud Farm
Tel: 33 3 85 59 85 12
Le Cellier de l'Abbaye
13 Rue Municipale
Tel: 33 3 85 59 04 00
Concierge.com's insider take:
This animated town of 5,000 inhabitants about 15 miles northwest of Mâcon was long home to the biggest, most powerful monastic order in Europe: Cluny Abbey. The Benedictine abbey was founded in 910, and its main church, the Basilica of St. Peter and St. Paul (constructed between 1088 and about 1130), was the largest in the world until St. Peter's Basilica in Rome was finished nearly 500 years later. Much of the abbey was destroyed after the French Revolution, but you can still explore the soaring right transept, several watchtowers, a wine cellar–granary, the cloister, and sections of the perimeter wall. The abbey museum, Musée Ochier-Palais Jean de Bourbon, exhibits salvaged architectural elements and artwork. For an aerial view of the abbey's remnants and the town, climb the Tour des Fromages, a watchtower used for centuries as a cheese factory and aging facility, accessed through the tourism office. Cluny is also home to the National Stud Farm, which holds competitions and shows year-round, and the town's cobbled streets and squares, lined with medieval and Renaissance houses, are ideal for wandering. If you're shopping for wine, stop at Le Cellier de l'Abbaye. Transplanted American owner Alice Brinton, aided by local oenologist Sonia Blondeau, is particularly helpful and knowledgeable, making this one of Burgundy's best resources for finding little-known and organic winemakers. You can taste a selection of wines at the shop's small bar.—David Downie
Musée Ochier-Palais Jean de Bourbon open daily 9:30 am to 6:30 pm, May through August; 9:30 am to noon and 1:30 to 5 pm, September and April. Closed on New Year's Day, May 1, Nov. 1 and 11, and Christmas Day. Times may vary, call ahead.
Tour des Fromages open Mondays through Saturdays 10 am to 12:30 pm and 2:30 to 5 pm, January through March, November, and December; daily 10 am to 12:30 pm and 2:30 to 6:45 pm, April; Mondays through Saturdays 10 am to 12:30 pm and 2:30 to 6:45 pm, May and June; daily 10 am to 6:45 pm, July and August; Mondays through Saturdays 10 am to 12:30 pm and 2:30 to 6:45 pm, September; Mondays through Saturdays 10 am to 12:30 pm and 2:30 to 6 pm, October. Closed Jan. 1 and 2, May 1, Nov. 11, and Dec. 25 and 26th.
Le Cellier de l'Abbaye open Tuesdays through Saturdays 10 am to 12:30 pm and 3:30 to 7 pm, Sundays 10 am to 12:30 pm.