Villelongue Abbey

Saint-Martin-le-Vieil, France

The Villelongue Cistercian monastery was first established on the lands of the neighbouring county of Saissac, before being transferred to its present location, around the 12th century: a donation was granted in 1149 to the Cistercian Order, and to Guillaume, a monk who came, with 12 companions, from the abbey of Bonnefont de Comminges. Construction of the monastery began in 1180.

At the beginning of the 13th century, Simon de Montfort rewarded the monks of the Abbey of Villelongue for taking position against the Cathars: he gave them much land as well as the village of Saint-Martin. Villelongue then became a very rich and powerful abbey. Later on, the abbey profited from the King of France's protection.

Weakened by the plague during the 14th Century, then by internal wars during the 15th century, the abbey slowly declined until the French Revolution when it was sold as state property and transformed into a farming property. The domain was thus divided into 2 parts: on one side, the abbey's ruins and on the other, a group of dwellings, in what had probably been the residential area of the former abbey.

Since 1916, the successive owners have tried to bring the abbey back to life and started the most urgent restoration. Colonel Maissiat, in 1916, managed to have the abbey listed as an Historic Monument, thus saving it from being sold and preventing the demolition of the southern gallery of the cloister.

In 1964, the abbey was acquired by the Eloffe family, who are still the owners today.

References:

Comments

Your name



Details

Founded: 1180
Category: Religious sites in France
Historical period: Late Capetians (France)

Rating

4/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Brecht Desmeijter (3 years ago)
Beautiful place to relax after a tough bike ride
Mike van der boom (4 years ago)
A wonderful place and great hosts
Karl Alvestad (5 years ago)
Lovely place, but if you are using the Pays Chatare app, then download the audioguide before arriving as there is no phone coverage in the abbey.
Pauline Suckling (5 years ago)
Wow. What a place. If you like rustic French. Nest to ruined Abbey. Run by two ladies who are incredibly welcoming. Rooms lovely. Lots of antique furniture. Very atmospheric. Traditional French cuisine served by ladies. Fantastic breakfast.
Powered by Google

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Arch of Septimius Severus

The white marble Arch of Septimius Severus at the northwest end of the Roman Forum is a triumphal arch dedicated in AD 203 to commemorate the Parthian victories of Emperor Septimius Severus.  and his two sons, Caracalla and Geta.

After the death of Septimius Severus, his sons Caracalla and Geta were initially joint emperors. Caracalla had Geta assassinated in 212; Geta's memorials were destroyed and all images or mentions of him were removed from public buildings and monuments. Accordingly, Geta's image and inscriptions referring to him were removed from the arch.

The arch was raised on a travertine base originally approached by steps from the Forum's ancient level. The central archway, spanned by a richly coffered semicircular vault, has lateral openings to each side archway, a feature copied in many Early Modern triumphal arches. The Arch is about 23 metres in height, 25 metres in width and 11.85 metres deep.