Exploring Fontevraud-l’Abbaye: Unveiling a Scenic Gem nestled in Maine-et-Loire, France’s Most Exquisite Village

Welcome to Fontevraud-l’Abbaye, a treasure nestled in the heart of Maine-et-Loire, among the most beautiful villages in France. Let yourself be carried away by the fascinating history and captivating charm of this exceptional place, cradle of a rich cultural and architectural heritage. Follow the guide for an immersion in the heart of this jewel full of emotions and discoveries.

Welcome to Fontevraud-l’Abbaye

Located just 15 km from Saumur, in the department of Maine-et-Loire, Fontevraud-l’Abbaye is one of the very last gems to have integrated the prestigious label of “ most beautiful villages in France “. This picturesque and peaceful village is not only charming with its narrow streets and old buildings. Indeed, Fontevraud is above all renowned for its royal abbey, an abbey complex among the largest and recognized in Europe.

The fascinating history of the Royal Abbey of Fontevraud

Founded in 1101 by the Benedictines, Fontevraud Abbey covers 13 hectares, making it one of the largest in Christian Europe. Transformed into a necropolis by the Plantagenet dynasty, the abbey housed the tombs of certain eminent members of this royal family, thus adding to its famous reputation. However, its influence declined from the 13th century onwards.e century, a decline which continued until the French Revolution and the Napoleonic era, during which the building was converted into a prison. She retained this function until 1963.

A cultural and architectural renewal

It was only from the 1970s that Fontevraud rediscovered its former glory, first of all by becoming a cultural center. In 2000, it was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site as part of the “ cultural sites of the Loire Valley », further accentuating its iconic look.

What to see in Fontevraud today?

Today, the monastery complex still contains two of the four original monasteries. The most impressive, the Grand-Moûtier, is open to the public, offering a multitude of discoveries:

  • Visit to theabbey church
  • Discovery of the Saint-Benoît chapel
  • Walk in the cloister and exploration of various other buildings

In addition to these cultural visits, Fontevraud also offers a unique hospitality experience as a hotel residence. Since 2021, the abbey also houses a modern art museum where you can admire works by big names such as Toulouse-Lautrec, Degas, and Juan Gris.

The charm of the village of Fontevraud

Although the abbey inevitably attracts the most attention, the authentic charm of the village itself should not be overlooked. You can stroll through its picturesque streets, visit the old Saint-Michel church and discover various chapels scattered everywhere.

Why visit Fontevraud-l’Abbaye?

Whether you are a history buff, an art lover or simply someone in search of tranquility, Fontevraud-l’Abbaye offers a unique cultural wealth that deserves to linger there. It is a destination that combines historical heritage and contemporary experiences, all in an enchanting setting.

For more information and to plan your visit, go to the official website: fontevraud-abbaye.fr.