Ideally situated midway between the North of France and the Mediterranean, the Tournugeois is located in the heart of an area whose hills and the River Saône, lend an incomparable mildness to the lifestyle of its inhabitants.
In the South of Burgundy, the area already reflects the relaxed atmosphere of the Mediterranean. It is endowed with a rich heritage: museums, Romanesque churches, castles... No-one can remain indifferent to it all. The vine, traditionally cultivated in Burgundy, is an important economic factor in the Tournugeois.
Its soil, the exposition of its vines, its climate, allied to the work of the wine growers all goes to enhance the Chardonnay grape. Integral parts of Burgundy, the vineyards of the Mâconnais are situated in the extreme south of the region. Tournus is known for it gastronomy, there is 4 restaurants with 1 Michelin-Star in town, which makes it the more starred-town of the world compared with the number of inhabitants.
Moreover, traditional crafts have always existed in Tournus, whether it be in the Romanesque period with its great building sites such as the construction of the Abbey of Saint Philibert, or in the 18th century with works of the artist Jean-Baptiste Greuze.
The landscapes are extremely varied : from the plains of the Saône to the slopes of the vineyards and from limestone plateaux to dense woods of broad-leaved trees, the visitor goes by degrees from the open country of the Bresse area to the valleys whose gentle slopes are reminiscent of Tuscany.
The Tournugeois, and Tournus in particular, has always been renowned for the quality of its wide variety of events throughout the year. Concerts, exhibitions, markets... Every summer is punctuated by a series of events which delight all comers. Tournus and its region have always been well endowed in terms of accommodation. Ideally situated as it is on the famous R.N. 6, Tournus and its neighbouring villages are halfway between the North of France and the Mediterranean, and also between the North Sea and the Iberian Peninsula.
Top things to do
Abbey St. Philibert
A masterpiece of Romanesque art from the 11th and 12th centuries, which dominates the old town. The abbey church, cloisters, chapter house, refectory and cellar make up the only surviving group of twelfth century monastic buildings in Europe. The unique architecture of the nave gives it a surprising amount of luminosity. The crypt and the upper chapel are also worth a visit.
Hôtel-Dieu / Greuze museum
he hospital of the 17th and 18th centuries has retained its three wards and its adjoining herb garden. The dispensary contains more than 300 earthenware jars. The fine arts museum displays collections from prehistoric times right up to the present day. The works of J. B. Greuze (an 18th century artist, born in Tournus) are, of course, well represented.
Medieval site of Brancion
This is a wonderful example of architecture from the period between the 10th and 14th centuries. The living accommodation, built on the orders of the Duke of Burgundy, Philip the Hardy, is particularly remarkable as well as the keep and the amazing view it offers. The village, with its market place and alleyways, is also well worth a visit. The Romanesque Saint Peter’s Church is a must. It is situated at the far end of the rocky outcrop and contains some delightful wall paintings.
ake a trip into the world of the bicycle. The collection ranges from the ancient dandy horse, a simplistic bicycle made in 1818 and which was propelled by kicking the ground as there were no pedals, right up to Chris Boardman’s carbon fibre bike designed by Lotus for the 1992 Olympics, along with many more amazing bicycles. Come along and be among the first to discover this exceptional collection. The diversity of the exhibits makes this a museum which is unique in France.
Tournus, the old town
Picturesque lanes, houses with coloured facades, flat roofs covered with rounded tiles: all these elements emphasize this Mediterranean atmosphere. Streets and monuments are animated all year round, following the rhythm of the various markets, concerts and exhibitions which take place there. Above and beyond its international reputation for gastronomy, with its famous chefs, Tournus has become a favoured stopping place for pleasure craft cruising on the River Saône.