The royal abbey of Fontevraud
900 years of history on 14 hectares
The 14 hectares of the Royal Abbey of Fontevraud tell 900 years of history.
From the first constructions in Romanesque style through to the last 19th-century additions, its buildings narrate the history of architecture and the history of France. The Royal necropolis of the Plantagenêts is the final resting place of sworn enemies of the crown during the Hundred Years War: Eleanor of Aquitaine, Henry II, Richard the Lionheart and Isabelle of Angoulême).
The Abbey also tells the history of equal opportunities before there was any such thing. The 5 monasteries that formed the site were home to men and women alike. And according to the wish of its astonishing founder, Robert d'Arbrissel, at their head was a woman.
But at the French Revolution, the country’s richest abbey lost its religious vocation. Napoleon made it a prison and it is only since 1975 that it has been home to the very active Cultural Centre of the West.
Founded in 1101 on the borders of Poitou, Anjou and Touraine, Fontevraud is the largest monastic settlement to have survived from the medieval period. At the heart of the complex are the recumbent tomb statues of Eleanor of Aquitaine, Henry II and Richard the Lionheart - a reminder tha (...)