Visiting Tournus in Burgundy France With a Small Dog
I will not beat about the bush, Dear Reader. Nope. The main reason to visit the old medieval town of Tournus is to see the beautiful 11th century Abbey of Saint Philibert. It is one of the oldest monastic centres in France. It’s been around for over a thousand years and still looks amazing.
At one time, Saint Philbert was a cultural centre with a well-endowed library, which attracted many pilgrims. On the day we visited, though, there was barely a soul.
There is a beautiful cloister with pretty gardens for quiet reflection.
The church has an unusually high and airy vaulted ceiling.
There’s so much art to look at it. Of particular note is the “Notre-Dame-de-la-Brune,” a 12th century wooden statue of Madonna and child.
Surprisingly, the church also boasts a mosaic floor depicting the zodiac and you can also climb to the top of one of the bell towers if you like!
And all of this is free of charge. We bought a candle and that way, made a donation.
But Tournus has more to offer. The tourist centre is just across from the Abbey. The staff are extremely helpful so do not hesitate to pop inside. In fact, you may want to visit the tourist centre before visiting the Abbey. The tourist centre will give you a handset with information about the Abbey and its crypt.
They will also provide you with a handy map marking out a walking tour of the pretty, pretty town. All you have to do is follow your map and the bronze arrows in the street. How very clever!
You will zig and zag through narrow streets.
Find some absolutely lovely building to gaze upon.
And maybe even stop on a little terrace and enjoy a great, freshly made, locally grown meal.
Dogs are almost always welcome inside and are always welcome on patios. We were never turned away—not for a meal or a dessert and coffee.
And—although not nearly as impressive as the one in Beaune—the hospice of Tournus is also impressive, I am told. We did not pop in to visit, but passing by, you get the impression that the place was built to stay.
You will find wonderful spots to pick up wine, local cheese and cold cuts, and, of course, all sorts of yummy breads and baked goods!
You’ll also enjoy browsing some cute shops and checking out antiques for sale.
All and all, Dear Reader, Tournus is a wonderful place to spend a half day. It’s no wonder that many regional tours of Romanesque architecture start here. The train station is small and close to the centre. Parking is plentiful and equally close to the centre. The town is well equipped to deal with visitors but without losing its charm. Also, especially of note, should you need one, there is a free—yes, free—public bathroom at the back of the Abbey. Do bring your own toilet paper though.
In review: A wonderful medieval town with a stunning Romanesque Abbey. Very canine friendly. I was permitted to walk through the Abbey, although the bipeds did do a and-off for the church proper. Other than that, I was walking about having a good time and no one ever questioned my right to be there. Yep. I heart Tournus! Visiting Tournus in Burgundy France With a Small Dog is totally worth it!