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.

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Details

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

Rating

4.1/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Pauline Suckling (16 months 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.
Kalia Qp (2 years ago)
Très bel endroit et chaleureux
Patricia SOARES (2 years ago)
Magnifique lieu à ne pas manquer.
Cristian Badoiu (3 years ago)
Original and quiet, not touristy (great difference from the nearby Carcassonne!)
Sue Albright (4 years ago)
This may be the ultimate get-away. Beautifully kept with interesting details everywhere. From The monks stairway to the gardens, you feel the quiet spiritually of this abbey.
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