In the Macon wine valley


The village gave its name to this eponymous variety of vine, which is the origin of all white Burgundy wines.
Cave de Chardonnay. Discovery of local produce and tastings. Tel.: +33 3 85 40 53 01


The district is renowned for the quality of its white wine and, in 1997, it obtained the Viré Clessé appellation, a slightly fruity wine full of freshness. Viré is twinned with the free community of the old town of Montmartre in Paris,which also owns an historic small, walled-in, vineyard.
La Maison du Viré Clessé. Tasting cellar. Tel.: +33 3 85 33 10 57

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Le Relais de Montmartre. New, highly colourful, hotel and spa run by Marie and Frederic Carrion. The restaurant has been awarded a well deserved Michelin macaron. Bigorre black pig with white truffles, bass with morel mushrooms, lamb juice and a touch of kumquat or the demoiselles of Loctudy delicately browned with artichokes. The wine list is made up of over 150 different bottles from the heart of Burgundy. A thoroughly warm welcome and pure pleasure for the palate. Tel.: +33 3 85 33 10 72


The Château de Besseuil. Formerly owned by the Canon of Saint-Pierre of Macon, the current architecture and layout date from 1737.The estate, surrounded by vineyards, was taken over by investors, and now includes both a collection of contemporary luxury apartments and the wine making business. Jean Thevenet, world renowned wine maker and wine merchant, holds the reins and runs the estate, which follows strict organic cultivating principles. The Château de Besseuil’s wines, which hold the Viré-Clessé appellation and include a “Levrouté” blend, a local expression to designate grapes that are over-ripe, are available to taste and to buy in the wine shop, along with other wines from the estates. Each year, the manager selects a few bottles from the Hospice de Beaune sale to replenish his shop with fine wines.

Domaine de la Bongran. Jean Thévenet’s estate. White wines with a golden robe, superb, highly concentrated and flowery, which have been reviewed by the famous yet feared American wine critic, Robert Parker, and labelled the “ the finest Macon wines”. What more can one say?


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Domaine Nicolas Maillet. Nicolas is a young, enthusiastic wine maker who respects his land and vineyards. He has six hectares planted in Chardonnay and a smidgen of Aligoté, an acidy blend, which many have long since abandoned, although interesting in small quantities as a wine for your friends. In chalky soil, which gives fine wines, he uses no weed killer and hand picks his harvest, maturing his wine in vats. The result is a small production of very pure Mâcon-Villages, Mâcon Verzé… and a blend “Sourire d’Automne” (Autumn Smile), a sweet wine which he produces from a late harvest. Tel.: +33 3 85 33 46 76 /+33 6 89 64 49 92

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Small cloistered town and the Famous Cluny Abbey. Founded in 910 by Duke William of Aquitaine, the abbey was dedicated to Saint Peter and Saint Paul. Cluny shines over the Western world. It is at the origin of a truly monastic empire which, in the twelfth century, counted 1180 monasteries, and many small fields and vineyards. From the esplanade of Abbot Jean de Bourbon‘s palace, one can see the plans and remains of the Abbey. The classically built Cloister is located next to the Square of the Petit Marché, next to the Cheese Tower, which rises to a height of 30 meters, the Windmill Tower, which sits within the Abbey’s walls, and the Clock Tower. Towers and spires are proof of the power and wealth of Cluny. Palais Jean de Bourbon. Tel.: +33 3 85 59 12 79

Cluny Tourist Office. . A collection of local pottery and ceramics from renowned local craftsmen is on display here. A choice of guided tours of this historically rich town are on offer. Tour des Fromages. Tel.: +33 3 85 59 05 34

Saturday morning market. . Not to be missed. Organic and local producers. A favourite amongst tourists and foreign residents alike.

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Le Café du Centre. Convivial setting, like a brasserie, it is packed on market day as everyone comes in to enjoy the specials. Open until 22.30, you can devour a hearty Charolais steak for supper. 4, rue Municipale. Tel.: +33 3 85 59 10 65.

Au Bon Point. Home cooking in true tradition with regional dishes and a reasonably priced menu. Tel.: +33 3 85 59 23 24

Deanery of Cluny Abbey. This amazing Clunisian site played a key role in the organisation of the Clunisian seigneury up until the Revolution. The eleventh century Roman chapel is all that is left of the original medieval building. Exceptional mural paintings representing Majestic Christ, the Virgin Mary and local saints. The chapel is open to visitors from May until October. Tel.: +33 3 85 36 66 52


The Milly estate, where Alphonse de Lamartine was born in 1790, has hills planted with vines. Lamartine, who was a great poet but a poor wine maker, freely admitted that “he paid for his wine through his pen and sold his vineyard to the wine maker Toutant”. In a pastoral setting, a bust of the famous man has been placed in the shade of a cedar tree.

The Château de Saint-Point Lamartine. The poet’s dewelling is of medieval origin. Lamartine added to it with a square dungeon and a pavilion with a neo-gothic turret, which appealed to his romantic side. One may visit the apartments, his study and the park where he liked to meditate.

The extraordinary yet movingly simple twelfth century Roman church, conceals the Lamartine family tomb.

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Château de la Greffière. The seventeenth century buildings, together with an old vat room and a vaulted cellar have belonged to the Greuzard family since 1924. Isabelle follows in her ancestor’s footsteps by cultivating 30 hectares of vineyards in Chardonnay and in Mâcon la Roche Vineuse appellations with great passion. Amongst her blends, one finds the Château de la Greffière, a woody wine from old vines, and a Passetoutgrain, blend of gamay and pinot, which are particularly interesting. Tel.: +33 3 85 37 79 11

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Domaine Olivier Merlin. Both Olivier and his wife Corinne call themselves wine craftsmen. Having first studied at the Beaune winemaking school, then worked in the wine business in the Napa Valley in the United States, they became wine makers through their shared passion in 1997, building Olivier’s family estate in Vieux Saint-Sorlin back up. Plot after plot in the Saint-Vérand and Roche Vineuse areas, he brings together 4,5 hectares of vineyards in Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Gamay vine plants. Their white, as well as their red wines, are both balanced and full of character. Very representative, the Saint Véran Grand Bussière blend expresses the freshness of aromas of peach and pear with each note


The historical château of Pierreclos. A masterpiece of medieval architecture, it is one of the most magnificent historical monuments under private ownership in Burgundy. Built in the twelfth century then re-fashioned in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, it is surrounded by vineyards, which cover the entire hillside. Lamartine would visit Pierreclos to see his beloved Nina Cormatin with whom he had an illegitimate son, Louis – the family’s last heir. The castle in now in the hands of the Pinault family and they have undertaken considerable works in order to enable access to the public. The property has a nine hectare vineyard. The view from the terrace to the foot of the Roman chapel is magnificent. Within the castle’s walls from the medieval kitchens, the bread oven, the armoury, and the dungeons, one discovers how lords lived in medieval times. In the huge Roman cellar there is a museum of vine and wine, tastings and with Macon-Villages wine on sale in the shop.

La Pierre Sauvage. At the Enceints pass, one can stop for a simple lunch-time snack in artistic surroundings. Tel.: +33 3 85 35 70 03

Le château de Monceau. Lamartine’s winemaker’s dwelling, where he used to entertain numerous famous people from the world of politics, arts and literature. It is here, in the kiosk of solitude that Lamartine wrote “The history of the Girondins”. Visits by appointment only. Tel.: +33 3 85 37 81 52

Les Vignerons des Terres Secrètes, Prissé winemaking plant. A dynamic cooperative of winemakers who vinify, assemble and commercialise the grapes brought to them by local winegrowers. It groups together 120 wine makers and over 900 hectares of vines with three remarkable blends: Terra Incognita Prestige, Terres Secrètes and Esprit des Lieux. Terres Secrètes organises Open Days in October on the theme of Wine and Gastronomy as well as jazz concerts and wine tastings in June. They also have wine stores in Sologny and Verzé.

Café de la Lie. A literary coffee shop where painting and sculpture exhibitions are organised and where one can also become acquainted with, taste and learn more about, Burgundy wines. Tel.: +33 3 85 37 60 36


The Macon French Wines Show is held here annually at the beginning of March. There are many cellars to visit.

La Roche de Solutré. A mecca in Prehistoric times designated Great French Site in 2003. This hunting ground and place of passing was frequented by Prehistoric man. Solutré is also this mythical rock that the former French President François Mitterand was in a habit of climbing annually with his political cronies. The museum holds one of the richest collections of European Prehistoric artefacts.

La Roche de Vergisson. Twin sister of Solutré, surrounded by vineyards in Pouilly-Fuissé, La Roche is part and parcel of the site.

L’Atrium du Pouilly Fuissé. Presents wines from five Pouilly-Fuissé producing villages.
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The Pouilly-Fuissé vineyards are well known and produce a white, very mineral and elegant wine enjoyed by former French President François Mitterand appreciated, are lined up in a half moon shape on and around the Roche de Solutré, the villages de Chaintré and Vergusson. In the heart of the Pouilly-Fuissé appellation, the wine making village is a show of vineyards. Two churches, two wash houses, and a fine line of typical Macon houses makes the detour worth it.

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Manoir du Capucin. Originally owned by the Capuchin friar Luillier, this manor house with its Italian colonnades, cellars and walled in vineyards was bought by Antoine Forest in the twentieth century, great grandfather of Chloé Bayon, who is the president of the Pouilly-Fuissé union of producers. This vineyard had been run by share-croppers until Chloé decided to study wine making and oenology in order to run the business herself and to devote her time to the vine and her wine. Amongst the blends is the Manoir du Capucin and the Clos de la Maison which, according to the Gault and Millau guidebook “a true success with a taste of aniseed and soft liquorice in the mouth”. A women’s wine. Tel: +33 3 85 35 87 74

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Le Domaine de Beauregard. Beauregard «which looks onto the Solutré rock» has been handed down through six generations of wine makers, from Joseph to Frederik Burrier. The Burrier family cultivate 22 hectares of Pouilly-Fuissé spread over 120 plots on three districts. A mono-varietal Chardonnay, which gives the wine its typicity according to the geology of the soil. The G Classique is the wine of reference and the Grand Beauregard, a selection of the two best vats from each climate, an apotheosis! Tasting takes place in a cellar dating back to Napoleon III and in the wine library. Tel.: +33 3 85 35 60 76

Rontets’ Castle

A splendid manor house overlooking woods and vines. Claire Gazeau Montrasi and her Italian husband, Fabio are trained architects. In 2005, Claire decided to take over the Montrasi-Varambon family estate and to focus on the vineyard. They run the business following organic principles, working six hectares of enclosed vineyards and only putting the wine in tuns and casks. Bichette, Pierrefolle and the Clos Varambon, the three AOC Pouilly-Fuissé blends are full of elegance and delicately express the fruit. The Clos Varambon is essentially a feast wine! A real wine makers work, coupled with a poetic mind to make refined wines – like themselves! Tel: +33 3 85 32 90 18




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Château de Chasselas. Organised around a vast interior courtyard, the magnificent wine making property has been set up in buildings from the fourteenth through to the eighteenth centuries, overseen by three watch turrets. The outbuildings, Dove cot, barn, wine makers’ houses and orchard are ideal for receptions and events. The owners, hailing from a long line of wine makers and art collectors enjoy mixing the pleasure of wine with that of hosting admirably. They organise concerts, theatrical evenings, and sculpture and painting exhibitions throughout their estate and also have guest rooms at the château. At the 2011 Independent Wine maker’s competition, the Saint-Véran 2009 Premium blend won a silver medal as did the Crémant de Bourgogne. Whereas the Saint-Véran Thetys, an exceptional vintage with hints of toasted bread, crystallized and wild fruit, was rewarded by the Michelin Guide.

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Saint Vérand

Very trendy, the Saint Véran, a dry white wine with character, very seductive, is fast becoming THE Chardonnay that is enjoyed as an aperitif in New York and Boston. The village, on the Beaujolais border, gave it its name, dropping the ‘d’, which was an administrative error dating back to the Revolution.

St Peter and St Paul’s church. Built towards the tenth century by Cluny monks, the church with its nave with Lombard arches and its elegant belfry is a precious example of Clunisian architecture and is part of Burgundy heritage.


The cooperative cellar. Visits, tastings, and sale of all the

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Château de la Barge. Turned into a country inn, surrounded by parkland and vines, the Barge restaurant offers ‘New Cooking”, which remains rich, like the region it is in. Tel.: +33 3 85 23 93 23

La Table de Chaintré. Michelin starred. A quick menu for those in a hurry and a Tasting menu to discover local produce from the daily market. The chef, Sebastien Grospellier, has that special touch, which makes one want to linger a while. Tel.: +33 3 85 32 90 95.

At the gates of Mâcon, The Château of Urigny, dating from the thirteenth century, once belonged to Lamartine’s uncle. The poet would often stay there.