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

Taco Bakker (14 months ago)
It was peaceful and quiet when I visited. A place to get a moment for yourself. Elegantly decorated. A nice church.
Karl (2 years ago)
Nothing exceptional here. The village is beautiful. And there is the tomb of ruinart and there is talk of dom pe. The big one. The champagne of the night club. The class. We stroll in the alleys and the view of the vineyards is magnificent. On the road to Epernay. It is a pleasant stop
Fernando Velosos (2 years ago)
Beautiful church, where rests Dom Perignon. With the visit, specially for the catholics. Just in front of one of the best Champagne tasting, in the AY village. From there you can walk through the very charming village and try the best of Champagnes. Worth the visit.
Adrienne Keyser Luxury Life (3 years ago)
So fortunate this was part of the champagne tour I booked through Expedia. Met some great people in our small group of 6 and our guide was hands down awesome! Of course it is mostly just another abbey but spectacular to see the place where Monsieur Dom Perignon worked and was laid to rest.
Roumen Trifonov (4 years ago)
At only 6 km from Epernay is the Church of Saint-Pierre d'Hautvillers Abbey with the resting place of Dom Pierre Perignon, the inventor of sparkling champagne. Very special place to visit in Champagne region.
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