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A look into Fontevraud l’Abbaye

Posted 17 May 2018

Our Loire Destination Managers, Philippa and Martin, report back on their recent visit:

A short cycle up the hill to Fontevraud from either Montsoreau or Candes-Saint-Martin takes you to the 900-year-old Abbaye, the centre piece of the village.

We visited on a very warm day so the coolness of the church was most welcome. Inside the church you will find the final resting place of the last Plantagenet Kings; Henry II and Richard the Lion Heart. Although there are lots of notices around the Abbaye we found the audio-guide very useful in bringing the story of the Abbaye to life.

fontevraud abbaye

For 700 years the Abbaye was a place of worship and run by nuns. Although there were both nuns and monks at the Abbaye, the two sexes never mixed and on many occasions the Abbess had to work with the Monarch of the time to stop the monks from taking over control. The Abbaye boasts a Byzantine roofed kitchen that was also used as a smokery with its many chimneys. During the French Revolution, the building was ransacked and fell into disrepair until it was taken over by the state and made into a prison, with the last prisoners leaving in the 1980’s.

Today it has been fully restored for visitors, complete with hotel and gardens and the old refectory is used for concerts and art installations. We happily spent half a day at the Abbaye before making the easy descent back down to the river.

Click here to find out about our Chateaux of the Loire tour.

fontevraud exterior

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