The Abbeys of Burgundy: Cluny, Cîteaux, Fontenay

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Burgundy is a perfect region, where numerous religious edifices are located, especially famous abbeys. Blessed with an extraordinarily rich religious heritage, between the churches, monasteries, convents and abbeys, there is no lack of choice and Burgundy is  sure to thrill lovers of ancient buildings and history. 

The region was once the cradle of the two great monastic movements of the Middle Ages.  It was in this region that the Cluny Order and the Cistercian Order were born.  These two orders then spread out throughout Europe. Visit historic Burgundy and discover its most beautiful abbeys!

A rich historic heritage

The main abbeys of the region are exception places of worship and have been classified as historic monuments. 

The oldest abbey is none other than Cluny, founded in 910. It is located in the department of Saône-et-Loire, a few kilometers from Macon. The Abbey of Fontenay is located in the Côte d’Or, a few kilometers north of Dijon. It was founded in 1118 under the Cistercian Order and was among the first French edifices to be placed on the world heritage list of UNESCO. Finally, the third and final principal abbey in the area is that of Cîteaux. Located in the department of Côte d’Or, it is located thirty minutes south of Dijon.

These religious buildings are testaments to the medieval history of France. 

Today, most of them are deconsecrated and now dedicated to tours.  Some house museums. The Abbey of Cîteaux  however, is still inhabited by monks of the Cistercian-Trappist Order. The Abbey of Cluny houses a museum of the Middle Ages. 

These main abbeys also have abbeys called “daughters”, spread throughout France, some of which are located in Burgundy. The Abbey of Fontenay’s mother abbey is the Abbey of Clairvaux, located in the Aube.  The Abbey of Cîteaux is under the aegis of the Abbey of Notre Dame de Molesme in the Côte d’Or and has twenty daughter abbeys. Finally, the Abbey of Cluny was managed directly by the Holy Seat.  That means that at that time, it was controlled directly by the Pope. 

So if you decide to travel to the area to discover these impressive religious edifices, you will be entering the totality of the region.  These abbeys will lead you to the various vineyards of Burgundy. After a visit to Fontenay, make a stop in Dijon and visit its Palace of the Dukes of Burgundy. Then slowly go to the south of the region to Mâcon to discover the grand crus of the region, along the wine route. A true gastronomic and historic trip into the heart of Burgundy.

The main abbeys of Burgundy

The three main burgundy abbey are all classified as historic monuments:

The three abbeys are open to visitors all year.  However, depending on the season, you should verify the opening hours on the respective web sites of the abbeys.

Don’t hesitate, a veritable historic journey awaits you at the heart of this colorful region!