Cluny Abbey

fa+ºade.G+®lase.jlm.3075Cluny Abbey attracts thousands of art, culture and history lovers every year. The Benedictine building knew its international climax during Middle Age.

A stone’s throw away from the Abbey stands L’Hostellerie d’Héloïse, which is the ideal meeting point in order to eat at a restaurant in Cluny or to rest after long visits.

The climax and fall of a religious empire

When Guillaume 1st, count of Auvergne and Duc d’Aquitaine, built Cluny Abbey in 909, catholic church was going through an unprecedented crisis. Carolingian power was declining to the benefit of local anticlerical lords. Wealthy monasteries were often plundered by Vikings and Saracens.

The Abbey was built before St Peter’s Basilica of Rome and it was an attempt at giving back clergy independence, credibility and power under the Pope’s direct authority. Guillaume gave full powers to Cluny’s monks.

Very soon, the Abbey increased their wealth thanks to the offerings of their faithful and acquired a library as well as a school. It became a major cultural center with an European exposure. Two centuries later, former wealth started to dwindle. Monks grew less numerous. French revolution destroyed the vast majority of its buildings. In 1944, a bomb exploded in the heart of the nave. Today, the Abbey is classified as a French historic monument and a campus from the School of Arts et Métiers resides there. Multiple operations of safeguarding this cultural heritage have been launched there. In 2015, the Abbey is to be certified European Heritage in Brussels.

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Cluny Abbey’s milestones :

  • 909 : construction by Guillaume 1st
  • 927-XIIIe century : climax
  • XIII to XVe century : progressive decline
  • 1789 : Part of the Abbey is destroyed by revolutionaries.
  • 1944 : a bomb explodes in the nave

Nathalie and Patrick Dutartre, hoteliers and restaurant owners really passionate about their region, its terroir and cultural heritage, welcome visitors in a cosy and friendly setting at L’Hostellerie d’Héloïse. Located in Cluny, near the Green Path (Voie Verte), this hotel allows visitors to go to the Abbey in car, in bike or on foot.

A prestigious place of study

Ever since its construction, Cluny Abbey is meant to welcome and support knowledge. Today, the very famous French school called ENSAM settled one of its campus between those ancient walls. This successful collaboration, runs since the end of the 19th century. It’s very common to come across students in their grey blouses when visiting the abbey.

How to visit Cluny?

Abbey’s visits last for about two hours. Visitors are able to walk through the remains of the medieval city and the reconstructed indoors elements of the monument as well as its annexes. The monument remains open every day except on certain holidays.

Different kinds of visits

  • Self guided tour
  • Guided tour
  • Audioguided tour
  • Group tour

For more information, please go on this website or on the Tourism Office website.

Abbey in motion

Cluny Abbey often invites you to prestigious events : temporary exhibitions, theatre and dance shows or festivals. For example, in 2015, the Abbey was part of a dancing project title “Moving Monuments” Distinguished choreographer Nathalie Pernette was chosen to give life to this project.