Paray-le-Monial travel guide

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Visit Paray-le-Monial (Burgundy-Franche-Comté, France)

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Paray-le-Monial is west of Cluny in the Sâone-et-Loire department. It is an attractive town set in the rolling landscape of southern Burgundy and on the banks of the River Bourbince.

Explore Paray-le-Monial

The town has one major attraction, the Basilica du Sacré-Coeur, that makes it both an unmissable part of the tourist trail (it attracts more than 1 million visitors each year) and an important pilgrimage centre, and there are also several other historic monuments of interest in the town.

Basilica du Sacré-Coeur

The basilica at Paray-le-Monial is a well-proportioned roman style church dating in part from the 12th century and completed in the 14th century. Among the most notable highlights on the outside of the basilica are the chevet and associated chapels that are in a sequence of round buildings around the octagonal central tower. The front of the church is rather more austere with two thin square towers either side of a plain facade.

Cloisters in the Basilica of Paray la Monial, Burgundy

Inside the basilica at Paray-le-Monial there are three naves and a simple transept. The church makes good use of windows at various levels to allow light to illuminate the interior. Note in particular the decorative capital stones and the painting on the ceiling above the choir. 

You can also see the abbey cloisters. These were completely rebuilt in the 18th century but retain the original style, as seen in the two doorways into the cloisters. The cloisters also now contain access to a Museum of Faience as well as a centre for pilgrims and an explanation of the history of the apparitions that took place here.

See basilica of Paray-le-Monial for information.


Other places to visit in Paray-le-Monial

After visiting the basilica you will enjoy a stroll around the rest of the medieval town centre. As you explore you will find various other places of interest in the centre of Paray-le-Monial, all within easy reach of the basilica and near Place Lamartine, the central square in the town. Particular highlights include:

The Town Hall - the 16th century House of Jayet has a very richly decorated facade, covered in carvings of people, columns, shells and cherubs. The facade was built onto the existing building for a rich trader between 1525 and 1528.

The houses around Place Lamartine, dating from the 17th and 18th centuries.

The Chapel of the Visitation - this 17th-19th century chapel was built where Saint Marguerite-Marie Alacoque saw the apparition of the heart of Jesus. The chapel receives a huge number of pilgrims each year. Marguerite-Marie was canonized in 1920.

The Saint Nicholas Tower - this used to be part of a much bigger church but most of the original building has been removed. The bell-tower was added to the church in 1549 and was kept when the rest of the church was dismantled and became the town's clock tower. For about 60 years after the French revolution this building was the Town Hall for Paray-le-Monial.

The Chapel de la Colombiere, a 20th century chapel built in Byzantine style by the Jesuit population of Paray-le-Monial. Inside are some lovely and very colourful mosaics.

Town Hall in Paray la Monial, Burgundy

Museums in Paray-le-Monial

- You can visit the Museum of Hieron, built in the 1890s to house an art collection consisting mostly of 17th and 18th century Italian paintings. It is the oldest Sacred Art Museum in France and houses one of France's national treasures, 'La Vie Vitae' or 'Road of Life' by the Jeweller Joseph Chaumet (1894 - 1904).

- You can also visit the Contemporary Mosaic House and the Paul Charnoz Museum in Paray-le-Monial.

Activities nearby

As well as the town itself Paray-le-Monial is well placed to explore the surrounding countryside, a peaceful environment known as the bocage charolais.

The town is also a popular destination with those who are exploring the important roman architecture in the region such as the churches at Anzy-le-Duc and Semur-en-Brionnais.

You can find more travel ideas in the Saone-et-Loire guide and the Burgundy guide.

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Visit near Paray-le-Monial with France This Way reviews

Paray-le-Monial basilica

Paray-le-Monial basilica

Paray-le-Monial basilica is an impressive 12th century church in the romanesque style

Paray-le-Monial basilica guide


Much the most visited site in this pretty village is the Priory of Anzy-le-Duc

Anzy-le-Duc guide


As well as the pretty village itself, you can also visit the Chateau de Saint-Hugues and Collegiale Saint-Hilaire in Semur-en-Brionnais

Semur-en-Brionnais guide


As well as one of the most visited abbeys in France Cluny also has a picturesque town centre to explore

Cluny guide


The renaissance style Chateau de la Palice, its internal decorations and its gardens are the main highlight when you visit Lapalisse

Lapalisse guide


The beautifully decorated and furnished Cormatin Chateau, from the 17th century, is the highlight of your visit

Cormatin guide

... or see ALL recommended places to visit in Saone-et-Loire

Tourist classifications for Paray-le-Monial

Paray-le-Monial has received the following tourist classifications: listed town of Art and History ; village in bloom (ville fleurie) 4*

Address: Paray-le-Monial, Charolles, Burgundy, 71600, France || GPS coordinates: latitude 46.451, longitude 4.1202

Plan your visit to Paray-le-Monial, Saone-et-Loire

Sightseeing & tourist attractions to visit nearby

  • Basilique du Sacré-Cœur (Paray-le-Monial): religious monument
  • Charolles: village d'etape (12 km)
  • Eglise de Saint Pierre et Saint Paul (Montceaux-l'Etoile): religious monument (12 km)
  • Les jardins Romans de Varenne-l'Arconce: remarkable garden (13 km)
  • Eglise de Saint Nizier (Baron): religious monument (13 km)
  • Eglise de Saint-Pierre-aux-Liens (Varenne-l'Arconce): religious monument (13 km)
  • Jardin du château de Digoine: remarkable garden (13 km)
  • Jardin du château de Chaumont: remarkable garden (15 km)
  • Prieuré d'Anzy-le-Duc (Anzy-le-Duc): religious monument (15 km)
  • Eglise de Saint Germain (Saint-Germain-en-Brionnais): religious monument (16 km)
  • Prieuré church de Saint Pierre et Saint Benoit (Perrecy-les-Forges): religious monument (19 km)
  • Eglise de Saint Hilaire (Semur-en-Brionnais): religious monument (21 km)

Market days in Paray-le-Monial, France

Regular market(s) are held in Paray-le-Monial each Friday. (Markets are held in the morning unless stated.)

The French version of this page is at Paray-le-Monial (Francais)