The “Romanesque Road” program in Southern Burgundy aims at connecting about one hundred 11th and 12th century churches and chapels that are wholly or partially Romanesque.
The density of Romanesque buildings is so great in this limited area that it has been called a “Romanesque Garden”.
Paray-le-Monail: Basilica Sacré Coeur
In the heart of the Charolais-Brionnais, the basilica of Paray-le-Monial is a masterpiece of Romanesque art.
It is a reflection, unique in Burgundy and in the whole of Europe, of the great abbey church of Cluny III, the biggest church of medieval Christendom, which was demolished after the French Revolution.
Logically, the tour of Romanesque churches in Brionnais starts in Paray-le-Monial. Its basilica permits to visualise, even in reduced shape, the gone magnificence of Cluny.
Built at the same time as the great abbey church Cluny III, after 1088, the priory church of Paray shows its main characteristics: the systematic use of pointed arches, the three storeys of the nave, the decoration with fluted pilasters, and the masterly handling of light and shadow recreate the amosphere of Cluny. Thanks to the simplicity of its architectural lines there is a general impression of harmony in this church, which is a true monument of faith.