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Links to all French Cathedral and Abbey Photo Pages in Paradoxplace

Link to all Abbey and Cathedral Pages in Paradoxplace

About Paradoxplace

 

THE CISTERCIANS IN FRANCE

 

Introduction to the Paradoxplace Cistercian History and Photo Pages

Link to the early years of the Cistercian Order

Link to Saint Bernard and the Cistercians' Big Leap Forward

CISTERCIAN ABBEY PHOTOS

 FRANCE (THIS PAGE) ITALY
THE FOUNDATION ABBEYS IN FRANCE
BRITAIN SPAIN & PORTUGAL

Books on Cistercian Abbeys

Chronology Entry

Link to all Abbey and Cathedral Pages in Paradoxplace

 

Link to other books on the Cistercians and their Beautiful Abbeys

 

 

IGN also have an excellent sheet map showing the French Pilgrimage Roads

Link to IGN website

 

 

 

If it's Cistercian Abbey photos you want, this is THE coffee table book

 

Buy from Amazon USA

 Buy from Amazon UK

 

 

On this page are photos of and links (not) to:

 

 

Citeaux

Pontigny *

Clairvaux

Morimond

La Ferté

Fontenay **

Noirlac **

La Trappe

l'Épau

Sept Fons

Loc Dieu

Flaran

Fontfroide *

Valmagne *

Sénanque **

Royaumont

 

 

** must visits

* highly recommended

 

 

 

This map is included in the excellent book (in French and English) published by MSM - see below

 

 

Citeaux, Pontigny, Clairvaux, Morimond, La Ferté

 

Above - the Abbey of Pontigny (founded in 1114 as the first daughter of Citeaux, photographed in June 2004), second cab off the ranks and now the only one of the 5 originals in use as a church.

 

LINK TO 5 FOUNDATION CISTERCIAN ABBEYS IN BURGUNDY PHOTO PAGE

 

LINK TO PONTIGNY PHOTO PAGE

 

 

Fontenay

 

The Abbey of Fontenay in Burgundy was founded in 1119 as a daughter house of Clairvaux.  Over the centuries it suffered an English pillage, a French revolution, general neglect, then later a conversion into a factory and paper mill.  It is now beautifully restored and is a designated UNESCO World Heritage site - the only intact example of Romanesque Burgundian monastic architecture, as opposed to later (and still beautiful) Gothic rebuilds. 

 

LINK TO ABBEY OF FONTENAY PHOTO PAGE

 

 

 

 

 

 

La Trappe (Active)

 

This is the closest any visitor is allowed to the beautiful lakeside "chateau" Abbey of La Trappe (Normandy).  On request they will show you a 45 minute video of French Trappist Cistercians talking in French about what it is like to be a silent French Trappist Cistercian, and, like Citeaux, there is a shop with bad drainage smells (have the Cistercians lost their water engineering skills?).

 

 

Noirlac (Museum)

 

The Cistercian Abbey of Niorlac was established in 1136, in a place called Maison Dieu deep in the thick woods south of Bruges, by a group of twelve monks from Clairvaux led by Robert (one of the many relatives of S Bernard who had helped set up Clairvaux with him in 1113).  Another wonderful restoration job including a double storey refectory.

 

LINK TO ABBEY OF NOIRLAC PHOTO PAGE

 

 

l'Épau (Museum)

 

The only thing worth seeing in the Cistercian Royal Abbey of l'Épau (now in a park in suburban Le Mans) is this gisant of the sad Spanish Princess Berengaria, who had the gross misfortune to be married to the nasty King Richard I of England.

 

LINK TO L'ÉPAU ABBEY PHOTO PAGE

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sept Fons (Active)

 

Sept Fons (France) was a stop off point on our June 2005 drive across from Noirlac  to Mont Blanc "because it was on the way".  It does not cater for casual visitors (though there is accommodation for prebooked men and families), and its architecture is un-noteworthy. That said, we were invited by a friendly young monk we met in the (pleasant smelling) shop to come to the (newish) abbey church, built in the block-house bare concrete and wood style so liked by 1960s universities, to join the midday (Sexte) service.  Instead of the "normal" complement of a dozen or less low energy participants, we shared the service with around 50 young Cistercian monks mostly in their 20s and 30s, hurrying in to the church from their various daily tasks, and the space was pervaded by a feeling of great friendly energy. 

 

Sept Fons Web Page.

 

 

 

Loc Dieu was closed for the "winter" on 3 October 2007 - does not look a Paradox sort of place anyway!

 

 

 

 

 

Flaran (Museum)

 

Flaran is an ex Cistercian Abbey to the south of Agen.  It is owned by the regional authority, and an impressive amount of creative effort has been put into displays and signage about Cistercian monastic life and about medieval pilgrimages to Santiago de Compostela.  They deserve great credit for having more than made the best out of what they have got, but what they have got is not even vaguely in the same league as Noirlac or Fontenay, let alone a lot of the Spanish and Italian Cistercian Abbeys, as a basic structure.

 

 

 

 

Fontfroide (Museum)

 

Fontfroide Abbey in Languedoc in the foothills of the Pyrenees in South West France was founded in 1093 as a Benedictine Abbey, and joined the Cistercians in 1146.  It achieved an early link with the grizzly realities of the medieval world when the murder of one of its monks (and legate to Pope Innocent III), Pierre Castelnau, led to the Albigensian Crusade.   

 

 

Over time the Abbey became very wealthy indeed, with 25 granges and over 20,000 animals.  Later, as the number of monks declined, so their standard of living climbed - by the 1700s one abbey cook was receiving more pay than the abbey's total donations to the "shameful poor".   The buildings (including chapter house and cloisters from the 1100s) were saved in the French revolution because the City of Narbonne turned them into a hospice.  Later the cloisters narrowly escaped the clutches of an American millionaire who planned to relocate them to New York.

 

LINK TO ABBEY OF FONTFROIDE PHOTO PAGE

 

 

 

 

 

 

Valmagne (Museum)

 

LINK TO ABBEY OF VALMAGNE PHOTO PAGE

 

 

Sénanque (Active)

 

LINK TO ABBEY OF SÉNANQUE PHOTO PAGE

 

 

Link to French Cistercian Abbey Photos in romanes.com

 

The Cistercians in Languedoc

 

 

 

Link to MSM

 

 

 

AND THE LIST FOR  FUTURE TRAVEL INCLUDES .......

 

Royaumont

 

The Abbey of Royaumont is in the Val-d'Oise in Northern France.  It was founded in 1228 as a daughter house of Citeaux,  and richly endowed by St Louis (Louis IX, King of France, 1215 -1226 - 1270 (55)) who regarded it as his own abbey. 

 

The church was destroyed at the end of the 1700s in the wake of the French Revolution, and the monastery buildings were turned into an English staffed cotton mill (these were the early years of another revolution - the Industrial one - in England). 

 

Today the monastery buildings have been renovated and turned into a cultural and conference centre.  This is the refectory, with much a more slender column / arch structure than many earlier Cistercian abbeys (Louis was a patron of architecture and amongst other places the delicately beautiful Sainte Chapelle in Paris was built during his reign). 

 

 

 

Over 40 photo pages of Cistercian Abbeys in:  SPAIN & PORTUGAL  ITALY  FRANCE  BRITAIN

 

Cistercian Insight Pages:  INTRODUCTION   EARLY YEARS   LATER YEARS   ABBEY  PHOTOS

 

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All original material  © Adrian Fletcher 2000-2014 - The contents may not be hotlinked, or reproduced without permission