Monday, 28 November 2016

03 : In and Around Cormatin (1)

Cormatin itself has a very fine example of a château with extensive gardens, you can wander around and imagine yourself as one of the Ducs de Bourgogne!

Boudoir in the Château de Cormatin
Around Cormatin there are many fine examples of Romanesque villages where you can stroll along the cobbled streets, take in the village life at a kerb side café, enjoy the bustle of market day and absorb the peace and tranquillity of the exquisite Romanesque churches. A superb example of Romanesque architecture can be seen in Chapaize, and between Chapaize and Tournus, perched on top of a hill,
you will find the Mediaeval village of Brancion with its Romanesque church with frescos and its mediaeval castle dominating the surrounding area.

Buddhist monk working on a mandala - La Boulaye
Religion has seeped into the fabric of the region and the ecumenical Christian community of Taizé is just around the corner from La Tuilerie (just under 2 miles walking or 3 miles by car). Taizé attracts young people from around the world and is famous for its "Taizé Songs" (a modern version of Gregorian chants). The church services at Taizé are also worth a visit just to absorb the atmosphere that this unique place exudes.

Cluny, the "light of the world", where the largest church in Christendom was built is just 10 minutes away by car. A tour of this church is a must. Although there is virtually nothing left of the vast original abbey, the tour takes you through where the church stood and allows you to experience the grandeur and awe of the original magnificent monument built to the glory of God.

Grand National - Cluny
Cluny is not only famous for its religious roots, but also for its horses. One of the National Studs (Haras) was installed here in Napoleon’s time and stands on land that was part of the abbey. You can take a tour around the Haras, with at least one tour per day being given in English. There is a horse racing track where regular meetings are held, flat racing, harness trotting and steeple chasing all take place there. Last but not least there is the Equivallée, which is becoming one of the important horse show jumping venues in France.

Tournus on the Saône
The nearby town of Tournus is worth a visit with its abbey church and Hôtel Dieu, however, this ancient hospital is nothing like as spectacular as the one in Beaune.

If you are feeling a bit adventurous, why not visit the caves at Blanot or Azé and see the marvels of nature in the underground caverns. Blanot is not for the claustrophobic or for people with vertigo, but Azé is a relatively gentle stroll.

Click here for some more pictures of touristic highlights around Cormatin.

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