Castle of Brancion
Location: 45km South of the cottages, 13km from Tournus.
Nearby: Tournus, Saint Gengoux, Cormatin, Taizé, Cluny, Chapaize.
Why we love this place:
- it is real eagle's nest as the Chateau of Brancion overlooks the picturesque medieval village of the same name,
- the vegetation, very evident within the enclosing walls of the Chateau, provides a sense of authenticity and a walk within this area is very pleasant,
- the dedication of volunteers committed to the preservation and restoration of the site who, as members of the association, "La Memoire Médiévale" (the Medieval Memory), now run the Chateau,
- St. Peter's Church, which is one of the most beautiful Romanesque churches of Burgundy , is situated at the end of the outcrop. From this vantage point you have a beautiful view across the Mâconnais countryside. This church, a historic monument since 1862, contains the recumbent statue of Josserand of Brancion, companion of St. Louis, King of France. One can also admire there a fresco from the late thirteenth century, "The arrival of the Pilgrims", which is of 4-color ochre in the purest Romanesque style. Entrance to the Church is free in summer. This church is not to be confused with the church of Chapel sous Brancion, where other frescoes have been discovered and are being restored,
- the market hall of the fifteenth century, provides a place for exhibitions in the summer,
- there are visits (with costumes) dedicated to children,
- there are cultural activities inside the castle and the village, especially in summer,
- the circular walk around the outcrop of Brancion,
- the pretty road leading to Cormatin which passes through the picturesque village of Chapaize.
A little history: Built between the eleventh and thirteenth centuries, the castle was a strategic crossing point from the Saône to Cluny. Many conflicts took place there between the monks of Cluny and the successive owners of the castle, the Gros family, whose motto, "au plus fort de la mélée" (i.e. the strongest of the fight ) says a lot about the morals of the time. Although repeatedly abused, the castle was not taken for the first time until during the religious wars in 1594, the starting point of its decline.