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Petit Futé's opinion on ABBAYE DE FONTFROIDE

Plate millesim 2022

15 minutes from Narbonne, in the heart of the Narbonnaise Regional Nature Park, visit the Abbey of Fontfroide, a treasure of the Middle Ages. Founded at the end of the 11th century, Fontfroide joined the Cistercian order in 1145 and became one of the most powerful abbeys in Europe. In the Middle Ages, up to 80 Cistercian monks lived here under the enclosure, which did not allow them to leave the abbey grounds. Only the lay brothers were allowed to leave the monastery to work on the farms that supported the monastery. Although they also had the status of religious and were bound by monastic vows, the lay brothers formed a second community. They work for the monks in exchange for room and board and live in another wing of the monastery. The abbey played a crucial role during the crusade against the Cathars before experiencing a long decline from the 14th century. The monastic complex is magnificently preserved, with its 12th century cloister and chapter house, a sumptuous abbey church and its modern stained glass windows, the lay brothers' buildings and the 17th and 18th century fittings which sometimes give it a castle-like appearance. Vast terraced gardens are located around the abbey. In 1908, Gustave and Madeleine Fayet bought the abbey and began a restoration project. After centuries of austerity, prayer and silence, the abbey gradually opened up to life, color and pleasure thanks to the Fayet family. Artists, called Fontfroidians, participated in the artistic renaissance of Fontfroide, among them Odilon Redon, Richard Burgsthal and many friends, including Déodat de Séverac, Ricardo Viñes, Aristide Maillol. They created in this place a particular form of "Villa Medici" that they embellished with decorative elements. Abandoning its status as a monastic site to become a true place of artistic expression, the Abbey of Fontfroide is imprinted within its walls with rich testimonies of these residences, including Odilon Redon's monumental triptych The Day, the Night and the Silence as well as the stained glass windows by Richard Burgsthal. Today, the descendants of Gustave and Madeleine Fayet continue to maintain the monastic complex. They open the doors of the abbey to the 160,000 visitors who come every year. As you explore the different rooms, bathed in sunlight, adorned with artistic works and filled with the whispers and laughter of curious families from the region, it is hard to imagine the Cistercian austerity that reigned here when the monks still occupied the place. The abbey was then immersed in total silence, interrupted only by the reading of holy texts. During the visit, whether guided or unguided, those who are curious will plunge into the world of Fontfroide and will be able to explore the smallest corners of the abbey in order to soak up the atmosphere of the abbey and to get a glimpse of the daily life of the Cistercian monks. Some architectural features not to be missed:

The cloister. Composed of several vast and luminous galleries, it testifies to two distinct periods of construction, namely the 12th and 13th centuries. The lower part of the cloister, more stripped, is of Romanesque style, while the higher part, less austere, is of Gothic style. The capitals of the columns, which date from the Romanesque period, are covered with plant motifs, human or animal representations being forbidden by the Cistercian order in order not to distract the monks.

The alley of the converses. The converses had to use this narrow passage to attend Sunday mass, so as not to disturb the monks who, for their part, accessed the church through the cloister. Fontfroide Abbey is one of the few Cistercian abbeys to have preserved its alley in its original state. It is recognizable by its unique half-barrel vault.

The rose garden. Where the monks were buried for a long time, thousands of roses now grow. Installed on some two thousand superimposed tombs, the magnificent rose garden has been designated a Remarkable Garden, as have the adjoining gardens.

Throughout the year, the musical events are a real delight: Gregorian chants, classical concerts... Beyond the musical program, Fonfroide Abbey hosts many cultural events throughout the year. In the summer, night visits with sound and light give the abbey a sparkle! Don't miss the International Orchid Festival in the fall and the Plant and Massif Festival in the spring. Consult the online calendar to find out about possible events during your visit. The other asset of the place is its restaurant, the Table de Fontfroide, a reference in Mediterranean cuisine. More anecdotally, thanks to its remarkable state of preservation, Fontfroide Abbey is a privileged location for films set in the Middle Ages. Some scenes from Ridley Scott's film The Last Duel, released in 2021, were shot there.

Dramatized tours

Under the guidance of a pious man, come and discover the history of this bubble of serenity preserved for hundreds of years. Visits in July-August 2022 Wednesdays and Thursdays 7:30 pm and 9:45 pm. Duration: 1h30. Departure : Ticket office of the abbey. Information at 04 68 45 11 08

4.5/5 (26 notice)
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Information on ABBAYE DE FONTFROIDE

Closed on December 25th and January 1st. Low season from 10am to 12:30pm and from 1:30pm to 5pm. High season from 9:30 am to 7 pm. From April 1st to June 30th and from September 1st to October 31st from 10 am to 6 pm. Self-guided tour : 12,50 €/adult, 8 €/child (6-18 years old), 9 €/student/18-25 years old/PMR, 34 €/family. Guided tour: 15 €/adult, 9,50 €/child, student/18-25 years old/PMR: 10,50 €, family 41 €. The rooms are accessible to disabled people except the dormitory on the first floor and the terraced gardens. Restaurant open from mid-February to mid-December.

Services offered by ABBAYE DE FONTFROIDE

  • Accessible aux fauteuils roulants
  • Accessible aux personnes à mobilité réduite
  • Motards

Timetable ABBAYE DE FONTFROIDE

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Members' reviews on ABBAYE DE FONTFROIDE

26 reviews
4.5/5
Value for money
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Gabrielle 48
4/5
Visited in june 2021
Value for money
Service
Originality
Visite à ne pas manquer
Merveilleux endroit. Absolument magnifique.
Roseraie très décevante.
Nous espérions pouvoir nous restaurer sur place. Nous sommes arrivés trop tard. Impossible de manger ou boire. Accueil au restaurant déplorable, très désagréable.
Jacques11100
5/5
Visited in december 2019
Value for money
Service
Originality
Une visite Dominicale
C est un havre de paix , une abbaye cistercienne, des jardins somptueux , une production de vins hors pair .
chasalion
5/5
Visited in july 2019
Value for money
Service
Originality
Un havre de paix
Nous avons réservé une visite guidée le matin à l'ouverture de l'abbaye et nous nous sommes retrouvés à l'écart de la civilisation dans un écrin de verdure et au calme. La visite est très intéressante et permet d'avoir des explications sur tout l'historique de l'abbaye et la vie quotidienne en ce lieu. A l'intérieur comme à l'extérieur, c'est un endroit très beau et paisible.
patou58
5/5
Visited in september 2018
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Originality
Il faut la découvrir, cachée dans un vallon des Corbières, mais elle vaut largement le détour. Passée des mains des religieux dans celles d'un couple de riches bitérrois, chaque époque qu'elle a traversé a laissé son empreinte: cloître du XII, jardins du XVII, cour d'honneur du XVIII ou porte du XIX. Tout n'est qu'enchantement: l'église abbatiale et sa nef, les vitraux, la salle capitulaire du cloître, les jardins, clos ou en terrasse, la roseraie. A voir absolument.
charly1998
5/5
Visited in october 2018
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Service
Originality
très bel endroit situé au cœur des vignes dans l'arrière pays de l'Aude.
Une visite très agréable de l'abbaye et de ses jardins.
Sortie parfaite pour une découverte en famille.
Goun82
5/5
Visited in july 2018
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je suis toujours épatée quand j'arrive à Fontfroide, de découvrir un monument aussi grand, qui est totalement caché de la route!!
N'hésitez pas à flâner dans ses jardins qui offrent pour certains une vue imprenable sur l'abbaye.
Pour les plus courageux montez jusqu'à la croix, pour découvrir un point de vue magnifique
titou67
4/5
Visited in july 2018
Value for money
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Originality
Cette abbaye cistercienne du XII ème siècle est restée dans un état de conservation exceptionnel. Son histoire est aussi celle du pays cathare. La visite peut se faire seul, à l'aide d'un guide papier ou d'une tablette numérique ou encore, accompagné par un conférencier, qui partagera avec passion et enthousiasme ses connaissances et quelques anecdotes historiques.
L'abbaye est aussi entourée de jardins en terrasse, dont une belle roseraie.
AxePat
5/5
Visited in july 2018
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Service
Originality
Quelle belle visite, guidée d'abord et ensuite libre dans le parc et petit bois. je recommande à tous. c'est un très beau lieu.
sylvain3071
4/5
Visited in february 2018
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Service
Originality
Visite intéressante. Petit dépliant ludique pour les enfants entre 4 et 7 ans. Sinon tablette pour suivre la visite. Le petit plus, balade de 1h aller/retour vers la croix qui surplombe l'abbaye avec une belle vue par temps dégagé. (gratuit)
vincejoti
4/5
Visited in january 2018
Value for money
Service
Originality
Une belle visite qui nous plonge dans la vie monastique du moyen age. La visite peut se faire avec une tablette. Les informations sont intéressante et complète. Comptez deux heures pour la visite
faitmaison2
4/5
Visited in august 2017
Value for money
Service
Originality
Cadre exceptionnel pour cette abbaye en très bon état.
La visite est bien documentée et interactive (prêt de tablette contre une pièce d'identité). Il vaut mieux télécharger l'application à la maison, car pas de réseau sur place.
Grand parking gratuit et toilettes impeccables.
Cependant, il manque un supplément d'âme à cette abbaye qui est vide, puisqu'aucune communauté monastique n'y vit.
Routiti6270
4/5
Visited in april 2017
Value for money
Service
Originality
Une très belle visite dans un cadre magnifique, à ne pas manquer si on est dans le coin. Le cloître, la cour, les différents bâtiments, la roseraie et les jardins en terrasse constituent un très bel ensemble. Une très belle découverte.
Danoche78
4/5
Visited in september 2016
Value for money
Service
Originality
Cadre magnifique à visiter de préférence matin pour éviter les grosses chaleurs. les jardins sont bien entretenus et très intéressants à découvrir
cat66
5/5
Visited in may 2016
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Service
Originality
superbe abbaye et cadre magnifique...même sans guide, on profite de la visite et de ce lieu magique...Ns l'avons visité entre 2 averses mais celà n'a rien gâché !
A ne pas manquer !
snoopy854
5/5
Visited in july 2016
Value for money
Service
Originality
Dans un cadre superbe et isolé, la visite guidée vous fait entrer dans un autre monde.
De superbes vitraux

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