Our 2012CATHEDRAL QUEST to France Day 7 Beaune to Cluny .


Day 7 , Sunday, Sept 9


We had breakfast in our Beaune hotel courtyard, packed up and checked out about 11:30..  It was about a 45 minute drive to Cluny.  All of the ďAĒ roads have a speed limit of 130 kms, which is 80 miles an hour.  As on the autobahn in Germany (no speed limit), people stay in the right lane except to pass.   Generally trucks donít pass at all.   We did pass a motorcyclist today who must have been going 70 mph.

Not far out of Beaune we stopped to buy diesel fuel.  Another slight problem in France is that many of the service stations only cards with chips in them Ė and US cards donít have this chip.  So we must go to an attended gas station.  We canít buy fuel in town on Sunday, or late at night. 

We got to Cluny about 1:00 and went through a number of narrow streets to our hotel Ė Hotel de Bourgogne. 




   Cluny is small town with a population of 4,585.   The only remaining part of the abbey is the right rear tower (circled building at the top right of photo). The Hotel de Bourgogne is within the walls of the original Cluny Abbey. The white outline on photo is the foot print of the original abbey.  The green "X" indicates our hotel


 The Abbey of Cluny The Abbey of Cluny, founded by Benedictine monks, was the center of a major monastic movement in the Middle Ages that would spread throughout Europe. Its church was the largest Christian building in the world until St. Peter's Basilica was rebuilt in Rome in the 16th century.

Today, one transept of the 12th century abbey church remains, along with 15th-century abbots' residences and 18th-century convent buildings. The site also includes pleasant gardens and a museum with Romanesque artifacts.

An uniqueness of Cluny was in its administration. Before Cluny, most monasteries were autonomous and associated with others only informally. But when new monasteries were founded in the Cluniac tradition, they were designated "priories," not abbeys, and were overseen by a prior who reported to the abbot of Cluny. The abbot of Cluny made regular visits to these priories and the priors met at Cluny once a year.

On September 30, 1088, construction began on the third abbey church at Cluny ("Cluny III"). Financed by kings, for centuries it was the largest church in Christendom. At its height of its influence in the 12th century, Cluny was at the head of a monastic "empire" of 10,000 monks. The abbots of Cluny were almost as powerful as popes, and four of them later became popes.

 Cluny's great success was due in large part to its abbots. The Abbey of Cluny was guided by an orderly succession of able and educated abbots drawn from the highest aristocratic circles, two of whom were canonized: Odo of Cluny, the second abbot (died 942) and Hugh of Cluny (died 1109). Odilo, the fifth abbot (died 1049), was a third great leader.

In the early 12th century, then, the order began to lose momentum under poor government. Cluny was revitalized under Abbot Peter the Venerable  (d. 1156), who brought lax priories back into line and returned to stricter discipline.

By the time of the French Revolution, the order was suppressed in France and the monastery at Cluny was partly demolished. The abbey was sold as national property and was used as a stone quarry. In 1793 the Abby was closed and desecration began.  In 1798 the buildings were sold to speculators who knocked down the nave, sold all of the stones bit by bit until all that was left was the one tower you see today.   In fact our hotel stands in part of the original nave.   To see what the original abbey looked like you can go to my church models -French models.  It was systematically dismantled until 1823.    

Our hotel was very attractive even though it didn't have any elevators. We had a two room suite with a nice sitting room with a fire place.  I didn't expect that we will need that.  The early mornings and nights had been cool, but the days have all been very sunny and hot. We needed lunch.  The hotel has a beautiful garden but it was full so we ate inside.  I had a very nice white fish and my wife had chicken.

We then began exploring.  The entrance to the cloister and the tower are opposite our hotel.  We spent several hours walking around what was left of the church,  then around the grounds.   It was interesting that in several places in the church, there was  a large screen monitor about  3í X 2í.  It showed what the area that you were looking at really looked like before the destruction.   You could move the screen about and see various parts of the former church.   We came out and explored more of the area within the outer walls.

We found another church - Notre Dame.  In front of the church was a large square with an 18 century fountain and old houses.  The church, with its quadrangular bell tower, was built a little after 1100, and extended in the Gothic era. Only the pavement is left of the primitive narthex.




The 13 century portal is in poor condition.



The interior was a good example of Cluniac  architecture.  





Near the church was an interesting WWII memorial.



 We were getting tired.  We had made 7:30 reservations for the hotel dining room.  It was a beautiful room.  We had the choice of much of the same menu that we had for lunch.  I had veal and my wife had the fish that I had for lunch.   We had a variety of sorbets for dessert.   There was a couple about our age sitting next to us.  They were speaking English, which we havenít heard very often, so after dinner we started a conversation.  They were from outside of London and have been to all of the places we are going to visit on our trip.   We had a great time comparing notes on places that we have been.   We finished dinner about 9:30 which is better than 11:00 last night.    It is hard to believe that we left home a week ago today.



Day 1 - Paris

Day 2 - Sens

Day 3 - Vezelay 

Day 4 - Abbey Fontenay, Semur-en-Auxois, Vezelay -

Day 5 - Beaune

Day 6 - Beaune, Autun, Citeaux, Chateau du Clos Vougeot-

Day 7 - Cluny  

Day 8 - Cluny 

Day 9 - Paray-le-Monial and Clermont-Ferrard

Day 10 - Le Puy-en-Velay 

Day 11 - Avignon 

Day 12 - Avignon to Nimes

Day 13 - Avignon

Day 14 - Marseille

Day 15 - Marseille

Day 16 - Marseille

Day 17 - Marseille to Aigues-Mortes

Day 18 - Carcassonne 

Day 19 - Carcassonne to Toulouse  (posted 10/6/15)

Day 20 - Toulouse

Day 21 - Albi

Day 22 - Toulouse