Situated on the eastern side of the Pays Lauragais, the ancient fortified city of Saint Papoul has conserved its medieval style with its lanes of half-timbered houses. The abbey is to one side of the village, at its southern entrance.
Founded during the 8th century, the Benedictine Abbey is closely linked to the figure of Saint Papoul. This evangelist of the Lauragais, a disciple of Saint Sernin, Toulouse's first bishop, was probably martyred in the area.
However, thanks to Saint Berenger, the abbey became famous in the 11th century. The future Saint Berenger was a monk at Saint Papoul, where he led an exemplary life until his death. His burial place, said to be miraculous, attracted many pilgrims over a long period of time, resulting in prosperity for the abbey.
In 1119, the Abbey of Saint Papoul was the possession of the Abbey of Alet, at that time, very powerful. The golden age arrived during the 15th century, thanks to the creation of the bishopric of Saint Papoul by Pope Jean XXII, in 1317. The second Bishop of Saint Papoul, Raymond de Mostuejouls, wrote the statutes concerning the cathedral's chapter (1320).
Later, the abbey underwent several assaults such as plundering by mercenaries in 1361, or the anger of the Protestant troops in 1595. The bishops rapidly became concerned by the resulting degradation of the abbey. Pierre Soybert, who became bishop in 1426, renovated the totality of the buildings. Then, in the 17th and 18th centuries, the Episcopal Palace was built and many buildings were consolidated.
The cloister was seriously damaged during the French Revolution which also marked the end of the Saint Papoul bishopric. It was not until 1840 that restoration began. The abbey buildings remain and the former abbey church has become the parish church.References:
The Old Town in Aarhus, Denmark (Den Gamle By), is an open-air town museum consisting of 75 historical buildings collected from 20 townships in all parts of the country. In 1914 the museum opened as the world's first open-air museum of its kind, concentrating on town culture rather than village culture, and to this day it remains one of just a few top rated Danish museums outside Copenhagen.
The museum buildings are organized into a small town of chiefly half-timbered structures originally erected between 1550 and the late 19th century in various parts of the country and later moved to Aarhus during the 20th century. In all there are some 27 rooms, chambers or kitchens, 34 workshops, 10 groceries or shops, 5 historical gardens, a post office, a customs office, a school and a theatre.
The town itself is the main attraction but most buildings are open for visitors; rooms are either decorated in the original historical style or organized into larger exhibits of which there are 5 regular with varying themes. There are several groceries, diners and workshops spread throughout the town with museum staff working in the roles of town figures i.e. merchant, blacksmith etc. adding to the illusion of a 'living' town.