Jouarre Abbey was traditionally founded around 630 AD by the Abbess Theodochilde or Telchilde. She was inspired by the visit of St. Columban, the travelling Irish monk who inspired monastic institution-building in the early seventh century. As part of its Celtic heritage, Jouarre was established as a double community of monks as well as nuns, both under the rule of the abbess, who in 1225 was granted immunity from interference by the bishop of Meaux, answering only to the pope.

The Merovingian (pre-Romanesque) crypt beneath the Romanesque abbey church contains a number of burials in sarcophagi, notably that of Theodochilde's brother, Agilbert (died 680), carved with a tableau of the Last Judgment and Christ in Majesty, highlights of pre-Romanesque sculpture. In the mid-ninth century the abbey acquired relics of St. Potentian; the relics assembled at Jouarre attracted pilgrims. The reputation of the house stood so high the abbey received a visit from Pope Innocent II in 1131 and was able to house a synod in 1133. The abbess's submission to the bishop of Meaux did not come about until Bossuet held the post in 1690.

The abbey is an important pilgrimage center. A fortified town was built around it and gave birth to the present city of Jouarre.

At the time of the St. Bartholomew's Day massacre (1572), the abbess Charlotte of Bourbon (1547–1582) converted to Protestantism and escaped from the abbey in a cart of hay, and fled to Germany. She married William I of Orange-Nassau.

The present monastery buildings, once again occupied by Benedictine nuns, date from the eighteenth century; their traditional vegetable and fruit garden are notable.



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Founded: 630 AD
Category: Religious sites in France
Historical period: Frankish kingdoms (France)


4.5/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Francoise VENET (10 months ago)
Calm and serenity! The nuns are very smiling and welcoming. The shop is full of little treasures and delicacies, very well kept and clean.
Joss (12 months ago)
A big thank you to all the staff for their welcome (the employee of the tourist office and the shop assistant for their kindness and professionalism). Finally, thank you very much to the sister whose name we forgot to ask (and who was on duty at the store this Saturday) who took the time to sit down and chat with us for a long time, explain her daily life to us and answer to all of our questions. This discussion full of benevolence and philosophy will remain in our memories for a long time =)
Francois Huart (2 years ago)
Staff very attentive to our research. Small corner for children to wait while shopping. Big choice
Julie Viale (2 years ago)
Very nice visit to do. I would like to thank the welcome given to us as well as the presentation which taught us the important dates of the place and the principles of life of the Benedictines. It's very interesting both historically and on a human level (I keep thinking about these women when everything was in ruins have never lost neither faith nor hope in a better day it gives food for thought on our current condition)
Emilienne Kremer (2 years ago)
Beautiful boutique, charming and smiling welcome from the sisters, diversity of products and a friendly town with the locals who greet you and a very quiet village
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