Thursday, December 17, 2015
The Royal Abbey of Our Lady of Fontevraud 3.6.1978
The Royal Abbey of Our Lady of Fontevraud or Fontevrault is a complex of religious buildings hosting a cultural centre since 1975, the Centre Culturel de l'Ouest, in the village of Fontevraud-l'Abbaye, near Chinon, in Anjou, France. It was founded in 1101 by the itinerant preacher Robert of Arbrissel. The foundation flourished and became the center of a new monastic Order, the Order of Fontevrault. This order was composed of double monasteries, in which the community consisted of both men and women--in separate quarters of the abbey--all of which were subject to the authority of the Abbess of Fontevraud. The Abbey of Fontevraud itself consisted of four separate communities, all completely managed by the same abbess.
The first permanent structures were built between 1110 and 1119. Then located within what is sometimes referred to as the Angevin Empire, the King of England, Henry II, his wife, Eleanor of Aquitaine, and son, King Richard the Lionheart were buried here at the end of the 12th century. Disestablished as a monastery during the French Revolution, it served as a prison from 1804 to 1963.
It is situated in the Loire Valley, an UNESCO World Heritage Site between Chalonnes-sur-Loire and Sully-sur-Loire, and is within the Loire-Anjou-Touraine French regional natural park (Parc naturel régional Loire-Anjou-Touraine).