Saint-Hilaire Abbey

Saint-Hilaire, France

Originally devoted to Saint-Sernin, first bishop of Toulouse, the Saint-Hilaire abbey later took the name of Saint-Hilaire who was Bishop of Carcassonne during the 6th century, because relics of his mortal remains were apparently sheltered there.

It was during the medieval period that this locality grew in importance, the village spread around the abbey whose abbots were also the feudal lords.

Until the beginning of the 13th century, the abbey benefited from the protection of the Counts of Carcassonne. During the Crusade against the Cathars, however, the monks were accused of heresy and lost their autonomy and most of their property. The monastery itself was devastated by the Catholic Crusaders. In 1246, Saint-Louis, the French King, ordered the Seneschal of Carcassone to give back to the Abbot of Saint-Hilaire the lands which had been confiscated from Cathars.

By the 14th century, the abbey was in financial difficulty. Insecurity caused by the Hundred Years War meant the abbots had to finance the maintenance of the village fortifications, and the abbey started to decline.

According to tradition the abbey was the birthplace of the Blanquette de Limoux. During the 16th century, the monks elaborated a semisparkling wine which has become famous around the world.

During the 18th century, the French Revolution caused further financial problems for the Abbey and it was obliged to sell its land and possessions.

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Details

Founded: 8th century
Category: Religious sites in France
Historical period: Frankish kingdoms (France)

Rating

4.4/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Miguel nousty (19 months ago)
Ok
Pär Håkan Bergström (2 years ago)
Very interesting Abbaye! Peaceful!
sula corbet (2 years ago)
Lovely abbey.
Johannes L. (3 years ago)
Lovely little Abbey. Staff is friendly and very helpful explaining the history. Definitely a nice place to visit if you have some time and you are looking for a quiet place. Nice contrast to the mass tourism of Carcassonne castle.
Jenny Jomp (3 years ago)
Lovely place. Nice staff. You don't need too much time here.
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