Fontfroide Abbey

Narbonne, France

Fontfroide is a former Cistercian monastery in France, situated 15 kilometers south-west of Narbonne. It was founded in 1093 by the Viscount of Narbonne, but remained poor and obscure until in 1144 it affiliated itself to the Cistercian reform movement. Shortly afterwards the Count of Barcelona gave it the land in Spain that was to form the great Catalan monastery of Poblet, of which Fontfroide counts as the mother house, and in 1157 the Viscountess Ermengard of Narbonne granted it a great quantity of land locally, thus securing its wealth and status. The abbey fought together with Pope Innocent III against the heretical doctrine of the Cathars who lived in the region.

The abbey was dissolved in 1791 in the course of the French Revolution. It was re-founded in 1858 by monks from Sénanque Abbey. The community was driven out of France by French legal changes in 1901. The premises, which are of very great architectural interest, passed into private hands in 1908, when the artists Gustave and Madeleine Fayet d'Andoque bought it to protect the fabric of the buildings from an American collector of sculpture. They restored it over a number of years and used it as a centre for artistic projects.

It still remains in private hands. Today wine is produced here under the French appellations system. It also has a small working farm, bookstore and restaurant and takes paying guests.

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Details

Founded: 1093
Category: Religious sites in France
Historical period: Birth of Capetian dynasty (France)

Rating

4.6/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Feng Shui Today Magazine (6 months ago)
Worth a visit, the tour was good but not cheap. The wine was a little young for our liking, so we put our bottles down for a future date. Cafe is very efficient, recommend you book if you want a restaurant meal.
Alex von Schilling (8 months ago)
This is a beautiful abbey! A great place to visit, we spent 3 hours to tour the Abby and the gardens. Very picturesque
Elisa S. (8 months ago)
Simply amazing! A wonderful place of beauty and peace. Well organized and easy to visit. Recommended with kids. I particularly liked the gardens full of roses and herbs and the cloister with a purple wisteria in full bloom.
Andrew Todtenkopf (11 months ago)
The pinned location is slightly inaccurate. Once you find it, the abbey is great! Didn't realize how fast the grounds were, therefore we didn't budget enough time. You probably want 3-4 hours if you plan to walk around the whole grounds including the cross on the hilltop. We only had time for the Abbey and a very brief wine tasting. Walking around the Abbey and its adjacent garden was very nice!
Kirill Maksimkin (11 months ago)
If you’d like to visit an ancient abbey that keeps lots of secrets. It’s the right place. The abbey founded in the 11th century now looks very nice. You can visit its gardens and buildings, taste local wine and buy some bottles, have lunch in a local restaurant, listen to a concert that usually takes place regularly. History, wine, roses - wherever you’re looking for - there’s something for you. Additionally, it might be a great stage for a Harry Potter movie. There’s also a hiking trail but I’m going to go there next time.
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