Discover the Brionnais-Charolais region

Welcome to the Brionnais area in south Burgundy, Nourishing and spiritual ground.

Brionnais-Charolais region
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In the south-west of Saône-et-Loire, the Charolais Brionnais offers a wide variety of landscapes, with fields and pastures, outlined by its winding rivers (l'Arroux, l'Arconce, la Bourbince, L'Oudrache), before they flow into the wide Loire and soon reach the ocean. The 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 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. From Charolles, head down the D985 to La Clayette. The Château de Drée is just off this road at Curbigny, with its formal gardens and ornate interior.

La Clayette is dominated by a magnificent châteaux surrounded by a lake, right in the centre of the town. There is a vintage car museum in part of the château, and the tourist office is at the entrance. 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. La Fontaine restaurant is highly recommended, and if you would like to linger longer, spend some time at Le Bourg, the chambres d’hôte in the village, run by Chris and Carolyn Salmon. 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. The Romanesque Churches in the area are impressive, specifically Bois St Marie, Anzy-le-Duc, Chateauneuf, Charlieu, Semur-en-Brionnais, and of course Paray le Monial. The village of Iguerande on the Loire has an outlet for very good, high quality nut oils which also make great presents.

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. Historic Cluny is less than an hour away. Wine buying is, of course, encouraged in the main production centres. In addition we have bought very good value wine in co-operatives in Buxy (try making kirs with the Creme de Peche de Vigne, Creme de Mur, Creme de Cerise) and also in the village of Prissé near Macon.