Semur-en-Brionnais, Burgundy: tourism & sightseeing
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Semur-en-Brionnais is a village 25 kilometres to the north of Roanne in the Saone-et-Loire department of Burgundy. It is listed as one of the 'most beautiful villages in France'.
When you visit Semur-en-Brionnais, as well as the village itself you can see the remains of what could be the oldest castle in Burgundy and an exceptional roman style collegiale church . Start your visit in the centre of the village which is clustered around an open square surrounded by attractive traditional Burgundy houses, and with a few adjacent small side streets to explore.
There are various buildings of particular interest in Semur-en-Brionnais including the town hall dating from 1780; the 17th century house where salt-taxes were paid (these salt taxes were the causes of many revolts in the 18th century), the Saint-Hugues Priory, an ancient lavoir (public washhouse) and several grand townhouses dating from the 16th-18th centuries.
Take a look also at the Maison du Chapitre - you can go inside to see the painted ceiling in one of the rooms.
Apart from the attractive village there are two reasons that people visit Semur-en-Brionnais.
Chateau de Saint-Hugues
The first is the remains of the Chateau de Saint-Hugues, situated on a raised rocky area and dating back to the 11th century. The square donjon dating from the 10th century and two later round towers, as well as an original secret entrance into the castle called a poterne are all that remain of the building which at one time would have occupied most of the rocky hill.
The castle is said to be the oldest in Burgundy and was once home to the powerful Semur family. Saint-Hugues, born in the castle, went on to found the Abbey at Cluny. The castle is now well known for its collection of revolutionary posters. Open mid-March to mid-November, entrance 3 euros.
Collegiale Saint Hilaire
The second highlight is the 12th century roman-style Collegiale Church of Saint Hilaire. Although we have mentioned it last the church is a very good example of the roman style and for many visitors this will be the highlight of a trip to Semur-en-Brionnais.
Note particularly the octagonal belltower with an elaborate diminishing stone arch structure, the ornate carvings around the doorway and the chimney decorated with 17th century paintings inside the church. The capital stones inside the church also feature various carvings and engravings.
Another way to enjoy the village is to follow the grassy path that follows the original defensive ramparts. Walking round the path there are some pretty views across the surrounding countryside.
The surrounding region to the south of Burgundy is known as the Brionnais and is a region of gentle countryside that is very pleasant to explore. There are several treasures to discover such as the priory at Anzy-le-Duc, the roman style churches at Iguerande and Montceaux l'Etoile (there are many other roman churches in the region) and the basilica at Paray-le-Monial.
There are also many small villages of interest close to Semur-en-Brionnais such as Oyé with the garden of Chaumont Chateau and Marcigny with a sculpture garden.
Photos of Semur-en-Brionnais
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Map of Semur-en-Brionnais and places to visit
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Semur-en-Brionnais is classified as a one of the most beautiful village in France (plus beau villages)
Address: Semur-en-Brionnais, Charolles, Saone-et-Loire, Burgundy, 71110, France || GPS: latitude 46.263, longitude 4.0916
Plan your visit to Semur-en-Brionnais, Burgundy
Sightseeing & tourist attractions to visit nearby
- Eglise de Saint Hilaire (Semur-en-Brionnais): religious monument
- Eglise de Saint Marcel (Iguerande): religious monument (6km)
- Prieuré d'Anzy-le-Duc (Anzy-le-Duc): religious monument (7km)
- Eglise de Saint-Pierre-aux-Liens (Varenne-l'Arconce): religious monument (10km)
- Les jardins Romans de Varenne-l'Arconce: remarkable garden (10km)
- Jardin du château de Chaumont: remarkable garden (10km)
- Eglise de Saint Pierre et Saint Paul (Montceaux-l'Etoile): religious monument (10km)
- Couvent des Cordeliers (Saint-Nizier-sous-Charlieu): religious monument (12km)
- Charlieu: recommended detour (13km)
- Abbaye Saint-Fortuné de Charlieu (Charlieu): religious monument (13km)
- Eglise de Saint Germain (Saint-Germain-en-Brionnais): religious monument (16km)
- Les Jardins du château de Drée: remarkable garden (18km)
The French version of this page is at Semur-en-Brionnais (Francais)