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Cluny, west to the Brionnais
The pastoral area in the southern most tip of Burgundy is known as the Brionnais. Artisans have long been attracted to this area – it is uncommercial and unspoilt. There are white Charolais cattle grazing in the gently rolling hills and the best beef in France is reared here, so plan for lunch en route with a succulent Charolais steak.
Charolles and St.Christophe-en-Brionnais are two villages
famous for their cattle markets. The former is held on Wednesday morning,
the latter in the afternoon.
The river Arcone flows through Charolles; in summer there are flower decked
canals with over 30 bridges spanning the waterways. It is here that you will find Faïence de Charolles, a factory producing traditional earthenware pottery with contemporary design.
La Clayette is dominated by a magnificent château surrounded by a lake, right in the centre of the town. The tourist office is at the entrance to the château. At 32 Rue Centrale you will find chef Bernard Dufoux. He is the master of chocolate, and specialises particularly in truffles and cream fillings. The delicious smell is quite intoxicating, and the chocolates are to die for.
A short distance from La Clayette is the tiny village
of Châteauneuf. Here there are almost more antique dealers than
there are houses, and collectors can have a field day.
Semur-en-Brionnais is a short drive through pretty countryside. This medieval village centred around the oldest castle in Burgundy, is listed as one of the most beautiful villages in France.
Finally, drive up to Paray-le-Monial, a well kept town with cobbled streets, famous for its Basilica. On the river Bourbince, this is one of the great centres of Christianity, welcoming over 400,000 pilgrims every year.