Lagrasse Abbey

Lagrasse, France

The Abbey of St. Mary of Lagrasse is a Romanesque Benedictine abbey whose origins date to the 7th century. Despite a legend attributing its creation to Charlemagne, the monastic community was founded in the 7th century by the abbot of Narbonne, Nimphridius, who adopted the Benedictine rule. It was elevated to the rank of abbey in 779 and enriched quickly thanks to donation from lords from the neighbourhood and the county of Barcelona, acquiring lands, castles, priories and other assets. During the 12th century it ruled over a large territory encompassing the dioceses of Toulouse and Béziers and the county of Urgell.

It however started to decline during the 13th-15th centuries, when it was reinforced and fortified due to the numerous wars. In the 16th century a bell tower was begun, remaining unfinished after the death of its commissioner, Philippe de Lévis, in 1537. The abbey lived a period of renovation under its second last abbot, Armand Bazin de Bezons, receiving for example a new cloister.

The community of Canons Regular of the Mother of God moved into Lagrasse in 2004. The community, the majority of whom are priests, live in common under the Rule of St. Augustine, and dedicate their lives to the liturgy, which they celebrate in the 1962 extraordinary form of the Roman Rite and to evangelization. Common life, contemplative life, and apostolic life form the three facets of their charism. The canons have begun the massive restoration work necessary to repair the abbey.

The oldest part of the abbey is first abbot house, including a small cloister whose columns' capitals feature scenes of the Luxury. The upper gallery leads to the abbey chapel, dating to the 13th century and with decorated walls.

The Romanesque church was built in the 11th century, with a single nave ending in a presbytery, with a transept and three small apses. There are a new church and a new abbot palace (18th century). Restoration works in the cloister (also from the 18th century) have found remains of an ancient Romanesque portal with a marble sculpted arch, attributed to the Master of Cabestany.

The bell tower has an octagonal plan, with a total height of 40 meters. The monk's dormitory features an ogival vault in timber framework.

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I love the Monk Dormitory, the arches in the interior is a work of Art.


Details

Founded: 779 AD
Category: Religious sites in France
Historical period: Frankish kingdoms (France)

Rating

4.4/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Cheryl Speer (11 months ago)
This Abbaye is beautiful! The self guided tour shows off the rooms and places well. The little cafe adjoining the Abbaye serves cold drinks, which was perfect on this hot day. We both enjoyed the local beer. The Abbaye is well worth a visit.
Ellie S (11 months ago)
Incredible place, absolutely beautiful and tranquil. Visit Alet-les-Bains as well, sister abbeys. Both places are a real slice of history.
Lizzy Ali (2 years ago)
Beautiful place to spend an afternoon visiting the abby and having a splash in the river, later having a meal or snack in the local restaurants and bars.
Anhsar M (2 years ago)
The place is really beautiful. We can see how they are trying hard to preserve the place. If you happen to be there in summer you can actually dive in the river( not so deep) just below the abbaye so make sure to take your bathing suit. We will certainly come back to visit the private sector of the abbaye. The entrace fee is affordable.
Paul Nadjar (3 years ago)
Great spot enter that diverse a visit. No cars friendly, use the public parking lot and come with coins (credit card was broken)
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