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Southern BurgundySaint Gengoux le National

If you have been driving awhile in Burgundy and are looking for a place where you can stretch your legs then Saint Gengoux le National is a good place to stop. The streets in the town center are medieval at heart and easy to walk as there is little traffic. Some ‘streets’ are not much more than a space between two buildings whereas others have cobblestones, some even have both!

Saint Gengoux le National like so many towns and cities in France got its start as a stop along a Roman road. In the case of Saint Gengoux le National the road was between Tournus and Autun. It’s thought that the building of an urban center was first started in the 3rd or 4th century.

In 925 Benedictines monks from nearby Cluny gave the town its name Saint Gengoux. In the 12th century thanks to a royal charter the town’s name became Saint Gengoux le Royal. Then during the French Revolution the named changed to Jouvence, those living in Saint Gengoux le National are called to this day Jouvenceaux. Then the named changed back to Saint Gengoux le Royal only to change a few more times between Saint Gengoux le Royal and Saint Gengoux le National. Today the name is Saint Gengoux le National and it seems to have stuck!

The church of Saint Gengoux le National was built in 950 by monks from Cluny and rebuilt in 1120. As is the case with many churches in the area the church in Saint Gengoux le National has undergone many changes and all that is left of the original church built in 1120 is the hexagon bell town. The church’s bell town looks over the town and can be seen from miles around.

Saint Gengoux le National is a good place to visit if you like to bike. Should you not have a bike one can be rented at the tourist office. Saint Gengoux le National is on the ‘Voie Verte’ the once railway line that passed through the town and is now a cycle path. A path that goes on for 75 miles and there are plans for an extension! The town’s railway station is now a stop along the Voie Verte.

During one of my many visits to Saint Gengoux le National I took a self guided tour of the medieval center. I bought a booklet at the tourist office, for if I remember right 1.50€. It included the tour with photos and text along with a map. The tour took about an hour and a half. It takes you through the medieval center and just outside what were the town’s walls. The tourist office is on the town’s tree lined boulevard just outside the old center. To get an idea of what the tour is like and what you can see just see the Saint Gengoux le National Photo Album.

If you are look for someplace to buy gasoline there is a Maximarché supermarket in Saint Gengoux le National. It has two pumps and there is self service 24 hours a day but only if you have a French debit card with a PIN number. If you don’t have that then you can only buy gasoline during business hours, more or less 9-12 and 2-6, with it being open all day on Saturday.

Saint Gengoux le National has a nice wine store.

Saint Gengoux le National is in the Saone-et-Loire department in southern Burgundy. Many roads lead into or are near the town. You should be able to find signs to Saint Gengoux le National from Tournus and Cluny. The A6 Autoroute, exit Tournus is not far.

If you are looking for a nearby B&B try - B & B in Southern Burgundy.

Saint Gengoux le National Then & Now

Saint Gengoux le National Photo Album

Hotels in Burgundy

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