Sim and I visited Cluny Abbey, in Bourgogne, last summer. The abbey itself was founded in 910, and throughout the centuries has gone from being the headquarters of the largest monastic order of western Europe, to being attacked, dismantled and sold and, finally, restored.
The town of Cluny, population around 5 000, is built in and around the abbey. Today’s mairie is yesterday’s ‘Palace of Abbot Jacques d’Amboise’, where important visitors stayed. The less important stayed in the 11th century guest house, which is now the art gallery. The abbey gardens are now the town’s park.