Monasteries in France

Valmont Abbey

Valmont Abbey (Notre-Dame-du-Pré de Valmont) was a Benedictine abbey founded in 1169 by Nicolas d"Estouteville with Benedictines split off from Hambye Abbey. It never held more than 25 monks and was destroyed and rebuilt several times, with the abbey church only truly completed in the 16th century – countess Marie II of Saint-Pol is buried in it. The abbey buildings were built from 1678 to 1782 under Lo ...
Founded: 1169 | Location: Valmont, France

La Clarté-Dieu Abbey

The Abbey of La Clarté-Dieu was a Cistercian monastery. The abbey was founded in 1239 by the executors of Peter des Roches, Bishop of Winchester, as one of a pair, the other being Netley Abbey in Hampshire, England. The bishop had conceived the idea of founding a pair of monasteries some years before and had begun collecting the necessary endowments for them, but his death in 1238 prevented him from completing ...
Founded: 1239 | Location: Eaunes, France

Belloc Abbey

Belloc Abbey, Abbaye Notre-Dame de Belloc, is a Benedictine monastery located in Urt, in the Pyrénées-Atlantiques. It was founded in 1875. The community, which comprises about 40 monks, follows the Rule of St. Benedict and belongs to the Subiaco Cassinese Congregation. The brothers offer the hospitality of their house to men, households and groups requiring silence or spiritual guidance. To support themselves they pri ...
Founded: 1875 | Location: Urt, France

Saint-Evroul Abbey Ruins

The Abbey of Saint-Evroul is a former Benedictine abbey, today in ruins. Its name refers to its founder, Ebrulf (Evroul), who founded a hermitage in the forest of Ouche around 560. The abbey was rebuilt around 1000. Robert de Grantmesnil served as abbot of Saint-Evroul, which he helped restore in 1050. He had become a monk at Saint-Evroul before becoming its abbot. Orderic Vitalis entered the abbey as a young boy and late ...
Founded: c. 1000 | Location: Saint-Evroult-Notre-Dame-du-Bois, France

Fontaine-Guérard Abbey

At the beginning of the 12th century, there was a simple priory on the site of current abbey. Around 1190, Robert, Earl of Leicester founded the Abbey of Fontaine-Guérard. The nuns joined the order of Cîteaux in 1207 as Daughter-abbey of Clairvaux, but did not receive Abbey status until 1253. By this date, the buildings we see here were complete; the church was consecrated in 1218. Sold for the “national ...
Founded: 1190 | Location: Radepont, France

Grestain Abbey

Grestain Abbey (Abbaye Notre-Dame de Grestain) was an 11th century Benedictine monastery. Closely associated with the family of William, Duke of Normandy, the abbey was instrumental in the Normans taking control over the Catholic Church in England in the centuries following the Norman Conquest of England, establishing new churches and priories in England, and Abbots of Grestain ordained many English priests. Many churches ...
Founded: 1050 | Location: Fatouville-Grestain, France

Bonnefont Abbey

Bonnefont Abbey was founded in 1136 or 1137 and was a daughter monastery of Morimond Abbey. The land for monastery was donated by the Countess of Montpezat. During the French Revolution the abbey was dissolved. Today only the tower from the 15th century, the gatehouse and parts of the wing from the 13th century are preserved. The church has been completely abandoned since 1856.
Founded: 1136 | Location: Proupiary, France

Boulbonne Abbey

Boulbonne Abbey was first founded in 1129 about 14km from its current location. It was burned down and demolished during the Wars of Religion in 1567 by Huguenots. The reconstruction of the abbey on its current site started in 1632. The church was consecrated in 1742. After the French Revolution most of the buildings have disappeared, but there are still some facades, the entrance brick portal, the chapter house, ...
Founded: 1632 | Location: Cintegabelle, France

Tournay Abbey

A priory was first established on the site of Tournay Abbey in the 11th century, which became an abbey in the 17th century. It was suppressed during the French Revolution. A new abbey was founded in the 1930s in Madiran and was transferred to Tournay in 1952, the year after construction of a new monastery. The building was completed in 1958. The abbey remains active and houses a community of approximately 20 monks ...
Founded: 11th century | Location: Tournay, France

Valognes Abbey

In 1623, Jean de Raval, Lord Tourlaville, and his wife Madeleine de la Vigne offered de la Vigne"s cousin enough money to establish a monastery in Valognes that de la Vigne"s would become the first abbess or 'superior'. The following year, the Bishop of Séez gave permission for a group of nuns to join the new abbey. Plague prevented the nuns from taking up their new posts and construction did n ...
Founded: 1631 | Location: Valognes, France

Bricquebec Abbey

Bricquebec Abbeyn (Notre-Dame de Grâce de Bricquebec) was founded in 1824 by father Bon Onfroy. The abbey church was completed in 1834 and the priory was established in 1836.
Founded: 1824 | Location: Bricquebec, France

Saint-Sever-Calvados Abbey

Saint-Sever-Calvados Abbey was founded by Guillaume Sanche, the lord of Gascony in the late 10th century. According to the monastic chronicles, this was as the result of a vow he made after the battle of Taller, in Gascony, in which he defeated the Vikings (982). In 1060, after a fire, the abbey was reconstructed on the model of Cluny under the direction of the abbot Gregori de Montaner. The Saint-Sever Beatus was the wor ...
Founded: 10th century | Location: Saint-Sever-Calvados, France

Savigny Abbey Ruins

Savigny Abbey (Abbaye de Savigny) was founded by Vital de Mortain, who set up a hermitage in the forest of Savigny (1105). Rudolph, lord of Fougeres, confirmed to the monastery (1112) the grants he had formerly made to Vital, and from then dates the foundation of the monastery. Its growth was rapid, and Vital and Saint Aymon were canonized. In 1119 Pope Celestine II, then in Angers, took it under his immediate protection ...
Founded: 1105 | Location: Savigny-le-Vieux, France

Loc-Dieu Abbey

Founded in 1123 in a place formerly called Locus Diaboli (Latin for 'devil"s place') due to the large number of dolmens around it, tm abbey was renamed Locus Dei in Latin by the monks, which in French became Loc-Dieu, both meaning the 'place of God'. Burnt down by the English in 1409, it was rebuilt in 1470, and the abbey was fortified. The abbey was suppressed and its assets sold off as nat ...
Founded: 1123 | Location: Martiel, France

Cornilly Abbey Ruins

Hervé de Donzy, the Lord of Saint Aignan established Cornilly Abbey in the 11th century. It was authorized by Pope Urbanus II in 1091. The abbey grew rapidly, but in the 1357 it was destroyed by English Black Prince troops during the Hundred Years" War. Monks rebuilt the abbey, but it was again destroyed by religious fanatics in 1562. It was not rebuilt again and in the Revolution (1789) it was moved as a nati ...
Founded: 1091 | Location: Contres, France

Clairmarais Abbey Ruins

Clairmarais owes its origin to the famous Cistercian abbey founded by St. Bernard in 1140. He gave the village the name of Claromarisco (later to be Clarus Mariscus and then Clermarez) because of the huge marshes and many rivers in the vicinity. The Dutch Klaarmares and West Flemish Cleremeersch names reflect the nature of the terrain, too. Clairmarais became a fully-fledged common in 1790 when the abbey was going to be d ...
Founded: 1140 | Location: Clairmarais, France

Montebourg Abbey

Montebourg Abbey was probably established by William the Conqueror after the invasion to England (1066). The exact date is unknown, but it was before William"s death in 1087. The abbey got lot of donations from the Dukes of Normandy and Kings of England until the 1180s. It had a large land property even in the southern England and the abbey grew up quickly in the 12th century. The abbey suffered damages in the Hundr ...
Founded: 1066-1087 | Location: Montebourg, France

Preuilly Abbey

Preuilly Abbey, the fifth daughter house of Cîteaux Abbey, was founded in 1118 by Stephen Harding on a site provided by Theobald of Blois, Count of Champagne. The first abbot was Arthaud. The abbey soon became prosperous and founded its own daughter houses, Vauluisant Abbey (1129) and Barbeau Abbey (1148). In 1146 La Colombe Abbey, founded some years previously, joined the Cistercian Order and put itself under the s ...
Founded: 1118 | Location: Égligny, France

Sainte-Marie du Désert Abbey

Sainte-Marie du Désert Abbey was founded in 1852. It was raised to the status of priory in 1855, and to abbey in 1861. The abbey was founded on the pilgrimage site of Marie Desclassan's tomb, who lived in there eremitic life in 1109-1117.
Founded: 1852 | Location: Bellegarde-Sainte-Marie, France

Le Breuil-Benoît Abbey

Le Breuil-Benoît Abbey was founded in 1137 by Foulques, lord of Marcilly, and his son Guillaume. It was settled by monks from Vaux-de-Cernay Abbey, as a member of the congregation of Savigny Abbey. The abbey was soon able to settle a foundation of its own, that of La Trappe Abbey in 1140. In 1147 the Savigniac houses became part of the Cistercian movement, among them Breuil-Benoît, which was made a daughter ho ...
Founded: 1137 | Location: Marcilly-sur-Eure, France

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Holy Trinity Column

The Holy Trinity Column in Olomouc is a Baroque monument built in 1716–1754 in honour of God. The main purpose was a spectacular celebration of Catholic Church and faith, partly caused by feeling of gratitude for ending a plague, which struck Moravia between 1713 and 1715. The column was also understood to be an expression of local patriotism, since all artists and master craftsmen working on this monument were Olomouc citizens, and almost all depicted saints were connected with the city of Olomouc in some way. The column is the biggest Baroque sculptural group in the Czech Republic. In 2000 it was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage Sites list.

The column is dominated by gilded copper sculptures of the Holy Trinity accompanied by the Archangel Gabriel on the top and the Assumption of the Virgin beneath it.

The base of the column, in three levels, is surrounded by 18 more stone sculptures of saints and 14 reliefs in elaborate cartouches. At the uppermost stage are saints connected with Jesus’ earth life – his mother’s parents St. Anne and St. Joachim, his foster-father St. Joseph, and St. John the Baptist, who was preparing his coming – who are accompanied by St. Lawrence and St. Jerome, saints to whom the chapel in the Olomouc town hall was dedicated. Three reliefs represent the Three theological virtues Faith, Hope, and Love.

Below them, the second stage is dedicated to Moravian saints St. Cyril and St. Methodius, who came to Great Moravia to spread Christianity in 863, St. Blaise, in whose name one of the main Olomouc churches is consecrated, and patrons of neighbouring Bohemia St. Adalbert of Prague and St. John of Nepomuk, whose following was very strong there as well.

In the lowest stage one can see the figures of an Austrian patron St. Maurice and a Bohemian patron St. Wenceslas, in whose names two important Olomouc churches were consecrated, another Austrian patron St. Florian, who was also viewed as a protector against various disasters, especially fire, St. John of Capistrano, who used to preach in Olomouc, St. Anthony of Padua, a member of the Franciscan Order, which owned an important monastery in Olomouc, and St. Aloysius Gonzaga, a patron of students. His sculpture showed that Olomouc was very proud of its university. Reliefs of all twelve apostles are placed among these sculptures.

The column also houses a small chapel inside with reliefs depicting Cain's offering from his crop, Abel's offering of firstlings of his flock, Noah's first burnt offering after the Flood, Abraham's offering of Isaac and of a lamb, and Jesus' death. The cities of Jerusalem and Olomouc can be seen in the background of the last mentioned relief.