Sunday, 27 November 2016

04 : Other Things to See In and Around Cormatin (2)

Apart from the many Romanesque churches, there is more to see in this part of Burgundy. Again this is only a little insight into what there is to see, for more information you can consult one of the many tourist guides of this area.

Cormatin itself has a lovely Renaissance château (1605) which is privately owned, but part of which can be seen during a guided tour. The gardens on the other hand are totally open to the public and are quite extensive and well worth a visit.

The town of Saint-Gengoux-le-National (a tongue twister for most foreigners!) has a very nice small medeival centre where there is a market every other week all year round and in the summer they have evening markets as well where local produce and local crafts are sold.

There is the beautiful medieval town of Brancion, perched on top of a hill which has recently been completely renovated. It features a fortified (non-inhabitable) castle and a covered market. From the open area in front of the church, you are afforded spectacular views over the Grosne valley.

For castles in a better state of repair, Berzé-le-Châtel and Pierreclos are worth a visit. The former can be visited via a guided tour which takes you around the outside of the castle explaining how the defences worked. One or two small rooms can be visited, but as the castle is lived in the majority cannot be seen. Having said that it is one of the most interesting tours I have taken. The visit to Pierreclos castle includes a wine tasting at the end and is also well worth the entry money.

Wine is of course inextricably linked with Bugundy. Cormatin is just in between the Mâconnais and the Côte Chalonaise. The Côte d’Or and the Beaujolais are also very close and there are a number of “wine routes” you can take which will bring you past the most prestigious wine growers where you can always pop in for a tasting. Very close to us there is a good winemaker in Bray and Viré and Azé turn out a well respected bottle.
Click here for a few pictures of touristic highlights in the area.

The gardens of the Château de Cormatin

A number of places like Cluny and Tournus have a Hôtel-Dieu, but the most spectacular (from 1443) can be found in Beaune (although not close to Cormatin certainly worth a day trip). These buildings were built as hospitals and run by nuns financed by wealthy benefactors. The roofs of the Hôtel-Dieu in Beaune, which can only be seen when you enter the main courtyard, are tiled with coloured glazed tiles and are a feast for your eyes. But it is not only the outside of these buildings that is worth a look, the various rooms have been restored to their original state complete with a little chapel, pharmacy, kitchen and the wards themselves. The hospital was still in use until 1971 when new hospital buildings were built. Finally there is a polyptych "The last judgement" by the Flemish artist Rogier van der Weyden, the small details of which can be viewed through a travelling magnifying glass if it is not too busy and if you ask the person in charge very nicely!

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