Saturday, 26 November 2016

05 : Day Trips

Whilst there is more than enough to do in the immediate surroundings, there are a number of places that are worth taking a day trip for.

Romanesque frescoes - Berzé-la-Ville
The Mâconnais is well worth visiting for its Romanesque architecture, the many exquisite châteaux and the beautiful landscape.

A walk up the Roche de Solutré, a rock formation not far from Mâcon, is well worth it for the spectacular views over the surrounding vineyards. There is a museum at the bottom of the rock that is dedicated to the prehistory of the area.

For Romanesque art, there are some very special frescos round here though, the best can be found in the Chapelle des Moines in the village of Berzé-la-Ville, just down the road from Berzé-le-Châtel with its impressively complete mediaeval castle linked to Cluny by tunnels and with stunning views in all directions.
On the subject of castles, Pierreclos has a lovely château with wine tasting in the cellars after the tour.

Pierreclos
Moving into the Brionnais you will find Paray-le-Monial, a place of pilgrimage, where you can see the Romanesque basilica, a "miniature" version of the Cluny abbey church which is still standing and is well worth a visit. Just round the corner from the basilica is the impressive Renaissance Hôtel de Ville. In other places in the Brionnais there are also excellent examples of Romanesque churches to be seen, for example in Semur-en-Brionnais and Anzy-le-Duc.

La Boulaye
In the Morvan there is the first Tibetan Buddhist monastery built in Europe, the Temple of the Thousand Buddhas, Paldenshangpa (Kagyu Ling) at La Boulaye. Paldenshangpa is in harmony with, but strangely in contrast to, the green rolling hills of the Burgundy landscape. Hundreds of Buddhists come to La Boulaye every year to take part in the many ceremonies and many other people come just to experience and take part in a Buddhist service. There is also a Serbian-orthodox monastery in Uchon in the Morvan. The monks make religious icons for sale and at certain times of the day you can visit the beautifully painted refectory and other parts of the monastery.

The Last Judgement - Beaune
When mentioning the Côte d’Or most people think only of its outstanding wines (like Nuits-Saint-Georges) or they think of Dijon, but Beaune is also very well worth a visit. Give yourself the time to wander around the streets of Beaune and visit the stunning Hôtel-Dieu (which was a working hospital until 1971), with its spectacular roofs of coloured tiles which are only visible when you get into the internal courtyard. Also within the hospital complex is the famous altar piece "The last judgement" by the Flemish artist Rogier van der Weyden, that attracts tourists from around the world. In Beaune there are a number of small museums that are worth a look, most notably the wine museum telling you all about wine from grafting on to the vine to producing the finished article.

Wine Tasting - Beaune
Don’t forget to visit one of the wine cellars (caves) in the town centre, most notably the Marché aux Vins , in the former church of the Cordeliers close to the Hôtel-Dieu, where for a few Euros you can not only visit the cave but you can also taste some of the most expensive wines in Burgundy if not in the world.

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