cluny abbey
abbaye de cluny
department: saÔne-et-loire (71)
region: Bourgogne-Franche-Comté

Christianity's largest church throughout the middle ages

Cluny Abbey was one of the chief Benedictine, Christian monasteries of its time and it helped to bring stability to the European society. William I, Duke of Aquitaine founded the abbey by donating the land from his own hunting preserve. 

Founded in 910, the influence of Cluny Abbey radiated across Europe during the Middle Ages, with its large abbey church of exceptional proportions: the “Maior Ecclesia”. Originally, it began on a more modest scale, as the motherhouse of the Congregation of Cluny.

All images © Centre des monuments nationaux 

The highest vaults of the Romanesque world still bear witness today to this gigantism. The remains of the vast restored abbey church and the sites of the 18th-century buildings were renovated for the occasion of the 1100th anniversary of the abbey’s foundation. 

The Cluny Abbey was considered to be the most prestigious, grandest and splendid monastery in Europe. It was the largest church in the world until the building of St Peter's Basilica in the 17th century. Most of it was destroyed during the French Revolution in 1790, and today most of it is in ruins. Napoleon used material from the ruined abbey in 1806 to build a horse-breeding centre.

Abbaye de Cluny, Palais Gélase
Place du 11 août 1944, 71250 Cluny
Unaccompanied / guided tours
Tel: 03 85 59 15 93

January to March and October to December 9.30am–5pm
April to September 9.30am–6pm (July–August 7pm)

1st January, 1st May, 1st and 11th November and 25th December


Cluny Tourist Office
Tel: 03 85 59 05 34

Recent Articles

  1. French Naturist Beaches Top 8 French Nudist Beaches For Naturists

    Jun 08, 19 09:15 AM

    French naturist beaches are some of the finest in the world. Here's our top 8 French nudist beaches to visit for a dream holiday.

    Read More

  2. Best Places to Visit in France Top 10 Bucket List

    Jun 02, 19 08:39 AM

    Whether you're a first time traveller or confirmed Francophile we've put together our top 10 bucket list of places to visit in France you simply must see.

    Read More

  3. Birdwatching in France Top 7 Reserves and Areas for Birding in France

    Jun 01, 19 09:03 AM

    Planning to go birdwatching in France? Here's our top 7 reserves and areas for birders to visit including Camargue, Baie de Somme, Tarn Gorge and Teich Bird Reserve

    Read More

  4. Canal du Midi Boating Holidays What to See Boat Hire

    May 18, 19 06:06 AM

    The Canal du Midi is the best boating holiday in France. Our guide explains what to see, why it's the best choice for beginners and Canal du Midi boat hire.

    Read More

  5. Eiffel Tower Facts And Eiffel Tower Information If You Visit Paris

    Apr 28, 19 01:12 PM

    20 amazing Eiffel Tower facts and alll the essential Eiffel Tower information you need if you're planning to visit this astonishing Paris landmark.

    Read More