Filed under : Adventure Travel, Europe

The Abbey at Cluny Fascinates Seniors

This senior well recalls his first visit to one of the largest romanesque abbeys in the world. I stood in awe as I gazed upward in its interior and marveled at the architectural structure that was completed so long ago. Cluny, located in the Burgundy region of France, was the first of the major monastic reform movements and its construction continued for many years.

Senior travelers will find France to be rich with old romanesque churches,  but none in my mind can compare or even come close to Cluny. Most were constructed between 1000 and 1200 and their architectural styles vary from region to region, as do their sizes. Cluny was immense at one time however presently only one huge tower remains of the entire structure. Here’s a view of what it looked like years ago. Notice the only portion standing is the darker colored tour on this model.

So Get Me To Cluny

Cluny on this map is in east-central France. Early on it owed its importance to its celebrated Benedictine abbey, founded in 910 by Duke William the Pious of Aquitaine. Cluny’s abbey is the main attraction this Burgundian city offers, although the region does have several other interesting attractions for you to visit. It is an attractive small city and, although it is quiet and quite tranquil, it receives over 100,000 visitors yearly due to its appealing historical past and unique set of buildings.

If you, like moi, enjoy interesting facts on old sites, these on Cluny Abbey will keep you busy for a while. Brittanica has many links on Cluny that include architecture, religious and cultural life of the times and the Benedictine religious order. And here are 117 photos that can each be enlarged that show many of the Abbey’s primary features.

It is a sacred place, and you will sense  this once you stand silently within its monstrous walls.  I recall a mass taking place inside that was very moving… monks chanting, sounds reverberating off the walls. This video is in French but you will comprehend much of it with the photos. Note the size of the old column bases now in ruins. I loved this Cluny III en 3D video, again one sees the immensity of the abbey and the fact that only one tower remains today called the South Tower.

A Reading Assignment For Senior Learners

I’ll leave you with a little assignment to read prior to your visit and a small model to study more closely.  I am confident that you too will be overwhelmed by Cluny and the other Benedictine monasteries in France. The Cistercian monasteries are plentiful and beautiful as well.

If you enjoyed Cluny, check these out.  This book at Amazon will prove helpful. The local Office du Tourisme is always a good resource for first timers.  Enjoy Cluny.  jeb

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