Macon is a town on the crossroads between Geneva and Lyon, and Paris and Nice. I had passed through many times and always thought, I gotta have a closer look one day. In prctise this is not so easy. The cobblestone Roman roads best suited to a horse and cart, and haphazard one way signage make driving around a nightmare. Add to this the locals all nervous and in a hurry and the first sign out of town was too tempting.
I figured I could stay just outside and commute. A few minutes out of town I stopped at a Chateau. Another car pulled up, a couple got out, I said "bonjour" as is customary here and got the response "g'day"!! We were the only people there.
Anyway, we chatted and Trudy & Tony from Newcastle told me that Cluny was a nice town and I had to check out the Abbey. With the afternoon free I followed their advice. It looked nice, is only a 30 minute drive from Macon so why not stay the night?
If you are ever in the area this is a great place to stay. It is built adjacent to the Abbey and quite luxurious inside. The price is barely more than a McHotel in Macon.
So lets do a tour!
Just next door is the Abbey which is a weird combination of school and museum.
There is not much left of the original structure. The French revolution in 1798 was not too kind to the religious institutions. The symbols of power and oppression were destroyed, churches set ablaze, decorations crudely vandalised and heads of both statues and humans separated from bodies.
To make up for the lack of anything normally associated with an Abbey like stained glass windows, gargoyles, murals, stories have been placed.
Someone went to a lot of trouble to remove whatever was decorating the arches.
Restoration is still going on and some of the former residents have been remounted although not in their entirety. Poor fell doesn't have much to say anymore.
The gardens are huge and the view is magnificent.
Some parts are yet to be unearthed.
This church was built in the 12 century.
These pillars were just placed here to decorate an otherwise empty hall.
Not the neatest gardens I have ever seen unless you are going for the "Andy Warhol" effect with the strategically placed Coke bottle. Either that or "we are French and don't give a ...."
A Cyclops Ent?
So if you have plenty of time and want to support the school, by all means visit the Abbey. At 9.50 euros it won't send you broke but there is more to see outside.
Out on the street just next to the Abbey is another church and this war memorial. Reminders of the two world wars are everywhere. I'm not sure a few sculptures and medals are sufficient reward for running into machine gun fire but that must be just me.
And here we have a street named after the day Cluny got bombed. Just below this sign was a shop selling Bratwurst to German tourists, of which there are many.
On one side of this tiny river is the town, on the other, farms. The contrast is quite striking.
Now I had circled the town and came upon this cute little bar and restaurant. Pity it was still closed. Between 2 and 5pm few places are open.
View from the park
The "Hotel de Ville" or Town hall.
Not sure what this is but worth a picture. More from Burgundy soon.