Visit the Mâconnais: the south of Burgundy with the towns of Cluny & Solutré-Pouilly!

The south of Burgundy is a wonderful place for a holiday in France. This region, known as the Mâconnais wine region, contains many highlights! Here you will find the beautiful cities of Mâcon, Cluny and the lovely wine village of Solutré-Pouilly. It is right on the Route du Soleil, so perfect for a stopover on your way to the South of France. But don’t underestimate this region, I am sure in the end you will decide to stay longer! In this blog, all you need to know about southern Burgundy.Counterside in France Bourgogne Visit France

Mâconnais: The south of Burgundy in France

Twice in less than four months we visited Burgundy, a beautiful region in France. Where we spent a few days in the north of Burgundy last year (in Chablis and Noyers), we now drove further south, to the Mâconnais. Here the chance of sun is much higher, the landscape is more hilly and just like in the rest of Burgundy you will find a lot of wine here!

This area is really fun to drive through, think of rolling hills, vineyards, mountains, rivers and more. But you will also find a number of highlights and activities here. For example, visit the old Abbey town of Cluny or the wine village of Solutré-Pouilly. Go wine tasting, visit the castle of La Clayette, climb the rock of Solutré or visit the town of Mâcon.Small beautiful villages in the Bourgogne France

What to do in the Mâconnais, the south of Burgundy?

1. Visit the old Abbey town of Cluny (Abbaye de Cluny)

Cluny is a nice town just north of Mâcon. The city is best known for the immense abbey that has dominated the center for many centuries. An abbey is a collection of buildings used by monks or nuns of a particular monastic order.

Abbaye de Cluny

Built in 910, Cluny Abbey was the largest religious building in Europe for centuries. It was just a close call, because for long it looked like Cluny would become the center of Christianity, rather than Vatican City. Unfortunately, with the construction of St. Peter’s Church in Rome, that all came to an end and Cluny’s fame went out like a candle.

Unfortunately, the abbey had a hard time during the French Revolution and several buildings inside were expertly demolished. Today, only 10% of the original abbey is still standing. But the good news is that you can admire that 10% present in several ways.

You can walk around independently, take a guided tour or see in 3D what the abbey used to look like in the museum. Admission is €8 per person, but on the European Heritage Days (often the first Sunday of the month) admission is free! Click here for more information.

Unfortunately we were unlucky and the abbey was closed for restorations when we were there. We could only see the outsides. Visit Cluny France travel blog

Restaurant tip in Cluny: Go for food to La Nation. Typical French dishes and with a bit of luck you can sit outside in the sun on the terrace.

2. Climb the Rock of Solutré (Rock of Solutré/ Roch de Solutré)

With its distinctive shape, you can already see it protruding from far above the landscape: the rock of Solutré. Just outside the center of the village of Solutré-Pouilly, surrounded by vineyards, you will find this striking rock, gently sloping from one side, steep and angular from the other. It strongly reminded me of the Lion rock in Sri Lanka.

rock of solutre source: keithhullVisit Cluny Rock of Solutre FranceVisit Cluny France Hiking

The rock is easy to climb, and at the top there is a lookout point from which you can see the whole area. With clear weather you can even see the snow glittering on the peaks of the Alps. The hike to the top is easy to do and takes about an hour. You will notice that this mountain is made of very soft stone, it crumbles easily. Not surprising when you consider that this is actually a large fossil: millions of years ago, the sea ran here. The rock is a fossilized coral plateau. Such a crazy idea that you are actually walking on the bottom of the sea when you climb this rock.

There is also a prehistoric museum at the foot of the rock. Free parking is possible here.Visit Solutre Pioully France perfect holidays

Tip: is the hike to the rock of Solutré too tough for you? Then consider climbing Rock of Vergisson nearby. This is a shorter hike of only 15 minutes and from here you have a nice view of the Roche de Solutré.Hiking Rock de Vergisson in distance easy hike Solutre Visit France

3. Wine tasting in the Mâconnais

The Mâconnais is the southernmost wine region of Burgundy. White wine is mainly made here, but the Crémant de Bourgogne (sparkling wine) is also produced here. In the hilly landscape you can always see a vineyard in the distance. At many local wineries you can just pop in for a tasting or to buy a few bottles of wine. Unfortunately we didn’t have enough time for this so we can’t recommend specific wineries to visit. What we did do, however, was make a visit to l’Atrium in Solutré, where we tasted delicious wines from various wineries in the area.

See below a map of Burgundy, with the Mâconnais, Cluny and Mâcon indicated in light blue.Map of the Burgundy region France Highlights of the Burgundy region

l’Atrium in Solutré

Combine a visit to the Rock of Solutré with a wine tasting by stopping at l’Atrium in Solutré. In this wine information center, you will find all kinds of wines from the four different wine villages of the Pouilly-Fuissé, the most prestigious region in the Mâconnais. Besides buying wine and gathering information, you can also do a wine tasting here. You will then taste the best wine of each village to get to know this wine region better. Highly recommended and fun way to taste different wines from the Mâconnais in a short time.

For more information click here. You pay €6.50 for a tasting, but if you then buy a bottle of wine, this amount will be waived.

Tip: do you prefer to discover the vineyards of the Mâconnais with an organized group? From Mâcon you can do a wine tour with a guide where you learn more about the Mâconnais and its wines. Click here for more information.Visit Cluny France wine areaHiking around Solutre Pioully France

Wine from Beaujolais: just south of the Mâconnais!

Are you planning to go just a little further south? Then consider visiting the Beaujolais. This is the wine region immediately south of the Mâconnais (about 10 kilometers south of Mâcon). Officially, Beaujolais falls under Burgundy, but because the wine here is really different, it is seen as an independent unit. The production process of 90% of Beaujolais wines is based on carbon dioxide fermentation. This makes the taste of the wine fruity and different from Burgundy wines.

Tip: From Mâcon you can do a guided tour through the Beaujolais. You will visit several wineries, walk through the vineyards and of course taste the signature wine of the Beaujolais region. Click here to book this wine tour.

Is rosé from the south of France more your thing? Then visit the wine regions in the vicinity of Aix-en-Provence. Read all about it in our blog!Vinyards landscape of the Bourgogne France

4. Visit La Clayette Castle

Chateau de La Clayette, located on Lake La Clayette, is one of the most beautiful castles in Burgundy. The castle, which was built in 1380, has undergone many renovations. An observation tower was built in the 18th century, and beautiful French gardens have been laid out.

Chateau de La Clayette has been owned by the Noblet family since 1722. It seems that the descendants of this family still live there now, more than three centuries later. After a long time, parts of the castle have finally been open to the public again since 2020. Twice a week you can now take a tour with a guide along, among other things, the observation tower. Click here for more information.

Tip: the village of Clayette is known for the best chocolatier in France: Maison Dufoux. Be sure to stop by here for some chocolate or a cup of tea in the tea garden. Click here for more information.

Chateau de la Clayette vu de la rive du lac source Picasa

Source: Picasa

5. Visit the historic center of the beautiful city of Mâcon

Unfortunately we didn’t get to this but Mâcon seems to be a really beautiful city to visit. The river Saône runs through the center, along which you can stroll along the boulevard.

The historic center with brightly colored houses should not be missed. You will find here the Saint Vincent Cathedral, the Eglise Sainte-Piere, a beautiful old church and the Saint Laurent Bridge, which has some resemblance to the Parisian bridges. And don’t forget the highlight of Mâcon: Le Maison de Bois. This is the oldest existing house in Mâcon and dates back to 1490. That is special in itself, but what makes it even more special is that this house is completely made of wood. All kinds of beautiful carvings can be seen along the facade.

Mâcon is not very big and you have seen it in an afternoon. Looking for a nice hotel in Macon? Then consider sleeping in the beautiful Panorama 360 hotel!

Road tripping through France? Then also add the Champagne region to your itinerary and visit these champagne houses in Épernay!

Nice hotels to sleep in Southern Burgundy!

Looking for nice hotels to stay near Cluny, Macon or Solutré-Pouilly? Below three fun options in Southern Burgundy, the Macconais!

Les Clos Dommage  

Best chambre dhote in the Bourgogne France

This charming Chambre d’hotes is located in the middle of the vineyards, a bit north of Cluny. There is a nice swimming pool, hot tub and possibility to camp (without your own tent). From €95 per night including breakfast, camping from €15.

Book now!

Panorama 360 hotel Mâcon  €€

Panorama 360 hotel en spa

This lovely hotel is located right in the center of Mâcon. Located in a beautiful old building, it has a rooftop bar, nice spa and its own gym. Both the indoor and outdoor areas of the roof terrace are beautiful. From €123 per night.

Book now!

Maison Mazille

Maison Mazille

This B&B is run by two young Dutch people with a passion for wine. Located in a quiet village, you will find beautifully spacious rooms and a swimming pool. Also great with children! This location is almost always full so get in quick. From €140 per night.

Book now!


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