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Abbaye de Fontevraud

Prestige stay

Étapes prestiges Fontevraud

Abbaye de fontevraud

The Abbey of Fontevraud, one of the biggest monastic cities of Europe that the Middle-Ages handed us down, shines in the heart of the Loire valley—world heritage— with its luminous contrasts combining the whiteness of the tuffa, the blueish grey glints of the slate and the green harmony of its gardens. Built in the vineyard of Saumur-Champigny, it is one of the major monuments among the Loire valley castles.

From the Abbey to … the prison
Crossing the gate of the monastery, you travel through the singular history of an
Abbey founded in 1101 by Robert d'Abrissel, an itinerant charismatic priest. From the origin, he entrusted a woman with the running of this double community of monks and nunks. Thirty-six powerful abbesses, some of royal blood, succeeded at its head until 1792, when the last abbess went away.
Between the walls of the large monastic buildings, we can imagine and follow the everyday life of the men and women who lived here. We can also imagine its royal inhabitants: the recumbent statues of the Plantagenêts Henri II and King Lionheart, both kings of England in the 12th and 13th centuries, with as a major personnality Eleanor of Aquitaine who spent the end of her life in Fontevraud.

During this historical walk, we take the paradoxical path that trans­formed the richest royal Abbey of France into a gloomy prison, created in 1804 by Napoleon. As a treasure hunt, it is exciting to discover, hidden here and there in Fontevraud, traces of the prisoners' life in one of the toughest prisons of France until 1963. Jean Genet fixed in the litterary heritage the darkest side of Fonte­vraud in his “Miracle of the rose”.

Contemporary features and customs
After ten centuries within close doors, the Abbey asserts itself has open on its territory and the world.
It continues its history in the heart
of the 21st century creating a con­-
temporary city in a place with an ex­ceptional heritage. Visual arts and animated film, society debates, confe­rence and historical walks, music and shows give rhythm to the life of Fontevraud nowadays. As well as the numerous symposia, seminars, profesional and family events, or also heritage classes that can be organized.

Photos: D.Darrault, Amelot, CantreauD. Couineau, Anne-Sophie Ascher-CCO.

Abbaye de Fontevraud

BP 24

49590 Fontevraud l'Abbaye Tél. : +33 (0) 2 41 51 73 52 www.abbayedefontevraud. com

Aliénor Café
To decline the food
and wine pairings

New wine bar settled in the former Renaissance kitchen near the surprizing Roman kitchens that make a part of the repute of the Abbey, the Aliénor Café opens at the same time on the cloister and the gardens. It invites to discover, in a contemporary decor imagined by designer Laurent Vié, the wines of the region proposed in harmony with a refined and simple menu. All the dishes are created and prepared with local produce. They glorify, thanks to salt and sweet pairings, the diversity and subtlety of the Loire wines. The cuvées are chosen by journalist Sylvie Augereau among those made by young winegrowers of the Anjou and the medal-holders from Saumur-Champigny.