Brancion - Historic Burgundy Village
Explore this beautiful village in a wonderful setting on our independent walking holiday in France in Romanesque Burgundy - the Monk's Trail & on our short break Chardonnay Wine Trail
Our self guided walking holiday explores an area of the Mont Maconnais of France which has a unique collection of pretty historic villages with Romanesque religious buildings dating from the 10th to the 12th century. This Romanesque style is found across Europe, but the southern Burgundy has some of the finest monuments anywhere. This French walking holiday goes from Tournus to Cluny, both known for their Benedictine abbeys. The walking trail then passes by the beautiful village of Brancion, which sits just below its chateau overlooking the picturesque Burgundy countryside.
The oldest solid structures found on the site date from the Mérovingienne period (a dynasty who reigned over most of France for about 300 years following the collapse of the Roman Empire) in the 6th and 7th centuries. Close to the church, there is evidence of a cemetery, and a stone and wood construction dating from the 8th and 10th centuries.
A fortified dwelling was built by the Lords of Brançion around about the year 1000, in an imposing, rectangular form. As well as its hill top defensive qualities, the choice of site was probably influenced by the presence of existing buildings in the area including a church. The original château walls on the west and south have survived and reach a height of 5m. Other parts of the original château however, have been demolished and replaced with successive developments, changing the original morphology of the building. It is possible to visit the chateau on this walking holiday in France.
At the beginning of the 12th century the original structure was enlarged. A square dungeon was built to the north and a rectangular tower to the north east, as well as a dwelling. This building was flanked by two round towers in the 13th century. From 1300, the Duke of Burgundy bought the château from the last lord of Brançion who had accumulated huge debts, and he oversaw a number of architectural changes. The original residency built around the year 1000 was partially destroyed and a monumental structure built linking the dungeon to the 12th quadrangle. From 1477, the château passed into the ownership of the Kingdom of France, who personally appointed Lords. Not open to visit during March.
The Romanesque church of Saint Pierre, built in the 12th century is the oldest building from the historic village (not including the château). The open space surrounding the church was occupied by the cemetery from the 7th century until modern times. The inside of the church contains some wonderful medieval frescoes. The distribution of vestiges of dwellings from different parts of the site (within the medieval walls) reflect a much larger village than the one that survives today. You can explore the whole site at your leisure during your independent walking holiday in the French region of southern Burgundy.
Following the religious wars the village morphology changed. A market hall was built during the 17th century. Several of the wooden posts rest on original stone capitals under the existing floor which reveal a medieval street surface.
Take a look at other self guided walking holidays in Europe.