Rendezvous With Abbey Of Cluny

Rendezvous With Abbey Of Cluny

Built in the Romanesque style, is Abbey of Cluny, a former Benedictine monastery located in Cluny, Saône-et-Loire, France. It was William I who donated the land for the Abbey from his own hunting preserve. However, both William I and Duke of Aquitaine are credited for its creation in 910. A major intellectual and spiritual centre in the Middle Ages, Abbey of Cluny happened to be one of the most influential Benedict monasteries in Europe. The library in Cluny Abbey was at one time considered to be the most important and the riches library in all of Europe. In fact, it was also home to the largest church in the world until St. Peter’s Basilica was built in the 17th century.

Abbey of Cluny was the mother house for over 1000 monasteries. Inside, three churches were built in succession from the 10th to the early 12th centuries. Berno was nominated as the first Abbot of Cluny, subject only to Pope Sergius III. The abbey reached the summit of its importance in the 13th century. However, most of it was destroyed during the French Revolution in 1790. Archives were burnt in 1793 and the Church looted.

Despite the monastic ideal of a frugal life, the Clunaic monks were different, in the sense that they enjoyed an elaborate life. Though they devoted themselves to almost constant prayer, they wore the finest linen and ate luxurious food served in gold platters. Another uniqueness of Cluny was in its administration. While all the previous monasteries were autonomous and engaged in informal association, the abbot of Cluny made regular visits to the new priories.

The best place to start is the Porte d’Honneur, the entrance to the abbey from the village. Ensure that you go to the 13th-century Gothic building that served as a wine cellar on the bottom level and a flour store, which is on the upper level and is made of a beautiful oak-and-chestnut timber roof. The Musée Ochier, in the abbatial palace, which contains masterpieces of Romanesque sculptures.

How To Reach

As far as accessing the Abbey of Cluny is concerned, Cluny is a charming little town in Burgundy. So, it is recommended that visitors take a flight to Paris, which will serve as a good base. From Paris, there are numerous trains to Burgundy which one can opt for. Cluny is located between Dijon and Lyon.

Important Information

• Timings: Visitors should note that The Cluny abbey is open daily, all the year round except 1st January, 1st May, 11th November and 25th December. However, the timings vary in different months. From 2nd May to 31st May, the timings are 9:30 am to 6:30 pm. For the rest of the year, the Abbey is open from 9:30 am to 12:00 noon and then from 1:30 pm to 5:00 pm.

• Ticket Prices: Admission is 8.5 euro for adult. Admission is free for children under 18 years old.

What survives today of the Abbey of Cluny, is merely 10 percent of the original glory, but it is magnificent, nevertheless. Enjoy this magnificence by planning a visit! 

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