Normandy, France

History - Abbeys & Churches

Abbey church of the Holy Trinity - Fecamp

Located in the heart of the medieval city that dominates its high dome, the Holy Trinity first gives an impression of austerity, with its long outer walls pierced with small arched windows.

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Abbaye Notre-Dame du Pré Valmont

1011 Founded by the Countess Lesceline of Eu in his castle of Epinay (now Saint - Pierre -sur -Dives )

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The abbey Of Montvilliers

The original plan of the church, following the " Benedictine", was one of the great Romanesque churches in Normandy. It was amended in the fifteenth century. At the crossroads, the Romanesque church retains a monumental tower of the late eleventh century.

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Abbaye du Valasse

The Abbey of Our Lady of the Vow, called Valasse Abbey, Abbey is a Cistercian, located Gruchet le Valasse in Seine-Maritime, in the canton of Bolbec.

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Abbaye St Wandrille De Fontanet

Just beyond the Pont de Brotonne as you continue towards Rouen, the medieval abbey in ST-WANDRILLE was founded – so legend has it – by a seventh-century count who, with his wife, renounced all earthly pleasures on the day of their wedding.

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Abbaye De Jumiege

Abbey Jumièges (near Rouen and Saint Georges de Boscherville) Was founded in 654 by Saint Philibert, thanks to a gift that made him Clovis II.

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Abbaye Saint-Georges de Boscherville

Very close to Rouen, in the middle of a bend in the Seine, at Saint-Martin de Boscherville, there stands one of the most prestigious Roman abbeys in the Haute-Normandie region.

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Saint Joan of Arc Church, Rouen

Built next to the site where Joan of Arc was martyred, this modern church serves both as a church to honour Saint Joan and as a civil memorial to France's national heroine.

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Abbaye aux Hommes and Abbaye aux Dames, Caen

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Abbey church of the Holy Trinity - Fecamp

40 minutes from The Chateau

Located in the heart of the medieval city that dominates its high dome, the Holy Trinity first gives an impression of austerity, with its long outer walls pierced with small arched windows.

The arches vaulted are reduced to arches simple and massive and they are based on cons - strong powerful that reminder a fortified church.

It was founded in 658 by Waningus, a Merovingian count, for nuns. Another convent he founded in 660, near the site of the Precious Relic, was destroyed by the Vikings in 842. Around the Ducal palace, the foundations of two chapels have been found.

After more Viking raids in 851, Richard I of Normandy rebuilt the church. It was Richard II who invited Guillaume de Volpiano in 1001 to rekindle the life of the abbey, under Benedictine rules.

The abbey at Fécamp was critical in the Norman conquest of England. Edward the Confessor granted the royal minster church in Steyning to the abbey, in gratitude to his Norman protectors during his exile. With its large, wealthy manor lands and thriving port, this grant was to take effect after the death of Aelfwine, Bishop of Winchester, who had charge of Steyning. The bishop died in 1047 and ecclesiastical jurisdiction then passed directly to Pope Clement. In the same way, Fécamp Abbey itself answered to no Norman bishop, only to the Pope. The gift was later confirmed by William the Conqueror.

A nearby port with land around Rye, Winchelsea and Hastings had already been given to the same Abbey by King Cnut, to honour a promise made by his wife Emma of Normandy's first husband King Aethelred. The monks had hardly had time to settle in when in 1052 Godwin, Earl of Wessex expelled them from Steyning and seized it for himself. His son Harold decided to keep it upon his accession, rather than restore it to them. This made commercial and strategic sense (Harold did not want a Norman toehold at a potential invasion port), but William responded by swearing on a knife before setting out for England to recover it for the monks.

This gained him a ship from the abbey and, upon his victory at Hastings, he made good his promise and returned Steyning to the abbey, with whom it remained until the 15th century.

The charter acquitted the grantees of all earthly service and subjection to barons, princes, and others, and gave them all royal liberties, custom, and justice over all matters arising in their land; and threatened any who should infringe these liberties with an amercement of £100 in gold.

They moved the remains of the local saint, Cuthman of Steyning, to the mother abbey at Fecamp. The abbey also provided William with Remigius de Fécamp, the first Bishop of Lincoln.

The Abbey church of the Holy Trinity was built between 1175 and 1220 using the cream-coloured stone of Caen. Under the Plantagenets, the scriptorium at Fécamp produced numerous illuminated manuscripts.

Abbaye Notre-Dame du Pré Valmont

30 minutes from The Chateau

1011 Founded by the Countess Lesceline of Eu in his castle of Epinay (now Saint-Pierre-sur-Dives)

1046 of his son Hugh, bishop of Lisieux, Lesceline establishes the nuns at St. -Desir -de -Lisieux; William the Conqueror sign the founding charter.

1792 To survive the Revolution, the Community form in the vicinity, small clandestine groups

1808 Community comes together and resumed conventual life. A boarding school is open that in 1881, hosts St. Therese of Lisieux.

1904 Closure of the school and resuming a tradition monastic.

1944 Bombardment of Lisieux. 20 nuns were killed, the monastery was destroyed. Temporary refuge in Paris and stay in the Monteillerie, in Normandy.

The church is open daily to the public.

Access to the Lady Chapel (stained glass of the sixteenth century) and the recumbent is possible during the months of July, August and September, from 11am to 12pm on request and from 15h to 17h. (Except for Sunday mornings and Tuesday)

The abbey Of Montvilliers

40 minutes from The Chateau

The original plan of the church, following the "Benedictine", was one of the great Romanesque churches in Normandy. It was amended in the fifteenth century. At the crossroads, the Romanesque church retains a monumental tower of the late eleventh century.

Newer part of the Romanesque church, the façade of the first half of the twelfth century. It should include in its primitive state two towers, as in churches Jumièges or Boscherville. Only the northern one has survived. Above the portal novel was breakthrough the fourteenth century a large window Gothic.

In the nave, only the south side, restored in the nineteenth century, is still novel.

The main arches, falling on engaged columns are topped by clerestory without intermediate stage.

The nave late Gothic, with tall columns in capitals, is abundantly lighted by large windows its six chapels adjoining and this in wall west, a beautiful gallery three-sided, and very ornate.

Abbaye du Valasse

40 minutes from The Chateau

The Abbey of Our Lady of the Vow, called Valasse Abbey, Abbey is a Cistercian, located Gruchet le Valasse in Seine-Maritime, in the canton of Bolbec.

The abbey was founded in 1157 by Valéran II, Count Meulan, returning from a crusade, and Empress Matilda. The abbey was consecrated in 1181, the assembly is completed in 1218.

Attached to the abbey Mortemer of the Cistercian order, it is destroyed XVth century by the English, then rebuilt using stones from the quarry Valasse.

Destroyed during the Hundred Years War by the British troops, she was sacked by the Protestants in 1562.

At the French Revolution it was confiscated from the Church and became chatelaine remains.

After being converted into spinning the XIXth century, then dairy after World War II, it has since 1985 owned by the commune -the-Gruchet Valasse.

The site hosts since July 12, 2008 an amusement park dedicated to sustainable development : Eana - Earth possible.

The abbey is mentioned in the film 'Arsene Lupin'.

Abbaye St Wandrille De Fontanet

30 minutes from The Chateau

Just beyond the Pont de Brotonne as you continue towards Rouen, the medieval abbey in ST-WANDRILLE was founded – so legend has it – by a seventh-century count who, with his wife, renounced all earthly pleasures on the day of their wedding.

The abbey's buildings make an attractive if curious architectural ensemble: part ruin, part restoration and, in the case of the main buildings, part transplant – a fifteenth-century barn brought in a few years ago from another Norman village miles away.

St-Wandrille remains an active monastery, home to fifty Benedictine monks who in addition to their spiritual duties turn their hands to money-making tasks that range from candle-making to running a reprographic studio; they also show visitors around the abbey on guided tours (Tues–Sat 3.30pm, Sun 11.30am & 3.30pm; 3.05; www.st-wandrille.com).

You can wander through the grounds for no charge in summer (July & Aug Tues–Sun 10.45am–12.30pm & 3–5pm), and you can also listen to the monks' Gregorian chanting in their new church (Mon–Sat 9.45am & 5.30pm, Sun 10am & 5pm).

Abbaye De Jumiege

40 minutes from The Chateau

Abbey Jumièges (near Rouen and Saint Georges de Boscherville) Was founded in 654 by Saint Philibert, thanks to a gift that made him Clovis II.

It flourished until the Norman invasions of ruin (841). The renaissance of the Abbey came in two stages. Initially, it was revived with the arrival of monks Benedictine at 940. time, it regained its influence before the invasion by William of Volpiano ( the designer of the rotunda of Holy Begnins Dijon).

William the Conqueror attended the consecration of the abbey primary in 1067

The Abbey knew a second phase of decline ( the Hundred Years War, relaxation ) before being reformed by the congregation Saint Maur. The resurgence due to the reform allowed for the renovation of some buildings. This effort was interrupted by the Revolution. Transformed into a stone quarry, the abbey was bought in 1852 by the family Lepel - Cointet , which prevented its complete disintegration. Since 1947, Jumièges belongs to the state.

Today, the monastic buildings have almost completely disappeared. Only a few stones to determine their location. In contrast, the two churches of the abbey have ruins splendid and beautifully preserved.

Abbaye Saint-Georges de Boscherville

Very close to Rouen, in the middle of a bend in the Seine, at Saint-Martin de Boscherville, there stands one of the most prestigious Roman abbeys in the Haute-Normandie region. Nestling in the Seine Valley, on the edge of the forest of Roumare, Saint-Georges de Boscherville is an ideal place to visit and for a walk through a site with two thousand years of history.

The abbey church, whose clarity brings out its purity, was built in the 12th century and is still in a remarkable state of conservation.

The abbey estate, is dominated by the imposing lantern tower and stretches over seven hectares.

The Benedictine abbey was built in the 12th century on a site where a succession of buildings used first for pagan and then for Christian worship have stood ever since the 1st century B.C.

The chapter house, is late 12th century and offers a remarkable series of statue-columns and historiated capitals.

The monastic building was built by Maurist monks in the 17th century and has retained its elegant stone vaults

The striking thing about the abbey church, which is in the purest Norman Roman style, is the harmony of its lines and proportions and also how bright it is. The visitor experiences a sense of curiosity and emotion all the way through to the gardens which have been restored on the basis of 17th century archive plans and documents. From these gardens, you also have a panoramic view over the Seine Valley and the whole of the abbey. The verdant cloister rounds off the abbey on an unusual note.

The dwelling of the lords who founded the abbey was built within its walls. All that remains is their own private chapel: the Chamberlains’ chapel.

The most recent major restoration work on the abbey estate was completed in 1998 and, since then, the abbey gardens have been gradually reconstructed to look just as they did back in the 17th century. The work was funded by the Ministry of Culture and by the Department of Seine-Maritime, which owns the abbey estate. European funds also contributed to the financing of some developments.

www.abbaye-saint-georges.com

Saint Joan of Arc Church, Rouen

Built next to the site where Joan of Arc was martyred, this modern church serves both as a church to honour Saint Joan and as a civil memorial to France's national heroine.

Consecrated in 1920 to coincide with Joan's canonisation, the roof is designed to recall the flames and smoke from the fire. The famous stone statue of Joan of Arc by André Malraux is also protected beneath the roof of the church.

Louis Arretche designed the Eglise Sainte Jeanne d'Arc Vieux Marche in Rouen, France, completed in 1979. The church replaces the Vieux-Marché market were executions and public humiliations took place. It retains the original stained glass window from the original Renaissance-era Saint-Sauveur church which was ruined in World War 2.

The curved wood structure and open window facades recalls a covered market place. The upturned boat figure recalls Corbusier's Ronchamp cathedral. It's a dark and slender tribute to one of France's most mysterious heroes.

Abbaye aux Hommes and Abbaye aux Dames, Caen

Although virtually destroyed during World War II, Caen miraculously retained its two magnificent abbeys, the Abbaye aux Hommes, founded by William himself and the Abbaye aux Dames, founded by his wife Mathilda.

William the Conqueror's tomb can be found in the abbey church of Saint Etienne.