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Cistercian Abbey of Fontenay, France

From series “The Most Interesting UNESCO Sites in France”
Year: 1118.

The Abbey of Fontenay is the oldest surviving Cistercian monastery in France. It was founded in 1118. Its foundation was due to the rapid growth of the order. The 12th and 13th centuries were the heydays of the monastery. It has been falling into disrepair since the Hundred Years' War. The monastery was sacked by the army of the English conquerors during the war period. It lost almost all of its valuables. Less than 20 monks lived in the dilapidated monastery at the beginning of the 18th century.

Cistercian Abbey of Fontenay, France The monks themselves destroyed some buildings of the large-scale abbey as unnecessary during this period. There were no funds for the maintenance of a large architectural complex. The Abbey of Fontenay was closed during the French Revolution. The historic building was sold in 1791. The manufacturer Claude Hugo became its owner. He converted the convent into a factory for the production of paper. It worked for more than a hundred years afterward. Wealthy banker Edouard Aynard became the new owner of the historic building in 1906.

He decided to close the factory. He carried out a complete reconstruction of the historical building at his own expense. It was possible to restore the original medieval appearance of the building during the reconstruction. The ancient monastery continues to be owned by the Aynard family today. A significant part of its premises is open for guided tours. The old monastery church is of particular interest to visitors. It was built in 1147. It is a striking monument in the Gothic style.

There are many unique design elements in the walls of the abbey. The elaborate mosaic floor is considered one of the main decorations. The cloister of the abbey is perfectly preserved. Its length is 38 meters. Incredibly beautiful galleries with vaulted ceilings and carved colonnades frame it. There is a monastery smithy in the southern part of the architectural complex. It was built in the 12th century. Originally, the workshop was located here. The stone was processed in it. The forge received its current status several hundred years later. Next - Abbey of Saint-Savin-sur-Gartempe

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  Ancient theater and Arc de Triomphe in Orange, France   Abbey of Saint-Savin-sur-Gartempe, France  
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Cistercian Abbey of Fontenay - interactive map

Nearest airports:
 »  Longvic Airport DIJ - in 64 km
 »  Semoutiers Airport XCW - in 70 km
 »  Barberey Airport QYR - in 81 km
 »  Tavaux Airport DLE - in 102 km
 »  Nevers Airport NVS - in 119 km
 Cities nearby

Best hotels near Cistercian Abbey of Fontenay

Hotel L' Ecu

Located in 3 km from Cistercian Abbey of Fontenay
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Rooms: 23
The Hotel-Restaurant de l'Ecu offers everything you could wish for in terms of hospitality and high quality cuisine in Burgundy. With all creature … More: photo, rates and booking
Hôtel du Commerce

Located in 16 km from Cistercian Abbey of Fontenay
Route on the map:
Rooms: 18
Rooms at Hôtel du Commerce are simply decorated and they offer flat-screen TV with cable channels. There is free Wi-Fi access. A continental … More: photo, rates and booking
Gîte Les Volets Jaunes

Located in 17 km from Cistercian Abbey of Fontenay
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Rooms: 2
The rooms at Gîte Les Volets Jaunes feature a private entrance, a seating area with a sofa and a fireplace. They also include a DVD player and a … More: photo, rates and booking
Hôtel du Roy

Located in 18 km from Cistercian Abbey of Fontenay
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Rooms: 8
All simply decorated rooms offer a flat-screen TV and a private bathroom with free toiletries and a bath or shower. A continental breakfast can be … More: photo, rates and booking

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