Hautvillers Abbey

Hautvillers, France

Hautvillers Abbey is a former Benedictine monastery in the Hautvillers commune of the Marne department in north-eastern France. The abbey remained active between 665 and the French Revolution of 1789. It housed the relics of Saint Helena, Empress and mother of Constantine, between 841 and 1819. One of its monks, Dom Pérignon, contributed to the development of sparkling wine in the Champagne region.

The abbey was founded in 650 by Saint Nivard, Bishop of Reims. According to legend, a dove indicated where to build an abbey that would follow the order of Saint Benedict and Saint Columbanus. The abbey flourished under the Carolingian Dynasty and drew great renown thanks to its manuscripts, such as the Ebbo Gospels and perhaps the Utrecht Psalter.

Saint Rieul joined the abbey in 662, before succeeding Saint Nivard as Archbishop of Reims in 669. In 841 a priest from Reims stole the relic of the body of Saint Helena from Rome and the reliquary was transferred to the abbey. The relics attracted pilgrims and the revenues allowed the abbey to purchase lands and vineyards in the vicinity (40 hectares).

The remaining relics of St. Helena stayed in the monastery until the French Revolution broke out. The monastery was destroyed but the cellarer was able to hide the relics until they could be safely transported to Paris for public veneration again. They were then entrusted to the Knights of the Holy Sepulchre and installed in their church, Saint-Leu-Saint-Gilles de Paris,in 1819.



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Founded: 650 AD
Category: Religious sites in France
Historical period: Frankish kingdoms (France)

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User Reviews

Ruthie Elizabeth (2 months ago)
The church where Dom Perignon was laid to rest. Beautiful old church that feels very provincial.
G&L Motors (4 months ago)
An incredible architectural construction. The lines were long 2 walk through. And you're surrounded by the array of different artists. The variety of foods being served and sold is mind blowing. Worth walking up the hill.
LC Collins (6 months ago)
Nice place. This is where Dom perignon is buried at. Nice small place, This church is still active.
Reinhard Hochrieser (7 months ago)
Visited this old church as part of our Champagne tour. The highlight was definitely the tomb of Dom Pérignon, though the whole church is super impressive as it’s a couple of hundred years old. Definitely worth a visit.
Marc V. (8 months ago)
Nice to visit. I expected a bit more historical background and information about Dom Pérignon. Beautiful area.
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