Cluny Abbey is considered the most beautiful abbey in France. Dating back to the Middle Ages, it is perfectly preserved today and welcomes many visitors every year. Would you like to follow in their footsteps?
In this article, you’ll find all the information you need to plan a visit to Cluny Abbey.
Cluny: the Abbey of a thousand and one stones
Hidden away in the bucolic charm of Burgundy, Cluny Abbey is a monument that has stood the test of time.
Founded in 910, it was once the largest church in Christendom. Its Romanesque silhouette, barrel vaults, mystical cloister and story-filled galleries bring the place to life.
But beyond the walls and stones lies another history, that of the order of Cluniac monks. These men marked their era and influenced the medieval Christian world. It was in Cluny Abbey, in the heart of these thick walls and under these centuries-old vaults, which they lived and worked.
What can you see at Cluny Abbey?
Cluny Abbey is a sanctuary of history and art.
The remains of the great church dominate the ensemble, offering even in its current state a spectacle of immensity and majesty.
The Eau Bénite bell tower, the last vestige of the original monument, towers into the sky, offering a poignant reminder of what was once a masterpiece of medieval architecture.
Next, head to the Abbey Museum. Here you’ll discover a collection of medieval artifacts, sculptures, frescoes and manuscripts that tell the story of the Abbey and those who lived there.
Don’t forget to visit the Abbey’s Farinier. This building, formerly the monastery’s flour granary, now houses a 3D reconstruction of the Abbey in its heyday.
Don’t forget the gardens. Inspired by medieval gardens, they are the ideal place for a contemplative stroll.
How much does it cost to enter Cluny Abbey?
To ensure that tourists get the most out of their visit, Cluny offers a range of entrance tickets for several different tours of the town:
- Bernon” ticket at €9.50: visit the abbey and the Cluny Museum of Art and Archaeology
- Hugues” ticket at €11.50: visit the abbey, museum and monks’ chapel at Berzé-la-Ville
- Odilon” ticket at €12: visit the abbey, the museum and the Tour des Fromages (cheese tower)
- The “Urban” ticket at €14: visit the abbey, the museum, the Berzé-la-Ville monks’ chapel and the Tour des Fromages.
An audio tour in French, English, German or Italian is available for €3.
How long does a visit to Cluny Abbey last?
Guided tours last around 1 hour.
For a self-guided tour, the abbey and museum can be visited in 1h30 to 2h.
Where is Cluny Abbey located?
The Abbey’s exact address is rue du 11 Août 1944, 71250 Cluny.
How do I get to Cluny Abbey?
By car, from Paris, take the A6 towards Lyon, then exit 29 for Cluny.
By public transport, you can take the train to Mâcon-Loché station, then the bus to Cluny.
What are Cluny Abbey’s opening hours?
Cluny Abbey’s opening hours are
- April 1 to June 30: 9:30 a.m. – 6 p.m.
- July 1 to August 31: 9:30 a.m. – 7 p.m.
- September 1 to 30: 9:30 a.m. – 6 p.m.
- October 1 to March 31: 9.30a.m. – 5p.m.
My opinion of Cluny Abbey
Cluny is a name immediately associated with its abbey. Passing through the outskirts of the town, I was obliged to make a detour to visit the abbey.
The arrival sets the tone. The exterior of Cluny Abbey is magnificent, perfectly preserved. After buying our tickets, we went inside.
The calm is absolute, and it’s easy to imagine the quietude felt by the monks who lived here. I was surprised and a little disappointed by the lack of furniture and information panels throughout the abbey. Take the audio tour to make the most of your visit.
I preferred the Farinier, which has a 3d educational film. It shows you what the abbey was like in its early days. While it remains impressive today, it’s nothing like the original edifice.
We then went to the Museum of Archaeology. Since it closes between 12p.m. and 2p.m., we had to wait a little between the two visits. The museum is a real plus, as the abbey visit is quick. It’s a good complement, but I still prefer the inside of the tour.
The outcome of the visit was positive. It’s a real pleasure to see a jewel of French religious history. Less crowded than other French monuments, our visit to the abbey in June was rather peaceful.
What else can you do near Cluny Abbey?
Close to the Abbey, many activities await you:
In addition to the Abbey, Cluny and its surroundings offer a multitude of activities:
- The National Stud of Cluny
- The Maison du Vin de Mâcon
- The gardens of Château de Cormatin
- The Solutré Prehistory Museum
- The Roche de Solutré, a unique natural site
- Lake Saint-Point
- The Commanderie de Saint Jean de Réome
- A boat trip on the Saône.