- Places to Explore
- Travel Tips
- Fodor's Choice
- French Phrases
Fodor's France 2014
Abbaye de Fontenay
Abbaye de Fontenay Review
The best-preserved of the Cistercian abbeys, the Abbaye de Fontenay was founded in 1118 by St. Bernard. The same Cistercian criteria applied to Fontenay as to Pontigny: no-frills architecture and an isolated site—the spot was especially remote, for it had been decreed that these monasteries could not be established anywhere near "cities, feudal manors, or villages." The monks were required to live a completely self-sufficient existence, with no contact whatsoever with the outside world. By the end of the 12th century the buildings were finished, and the abbey's community grew to some 300 monks. Under the protection of Pope Gregory IX and Hughes IV, duke of Burgundy, the monastery soon controlled huge land holdings, vineyards, and timberlands. It prospered until the 16th century, when religious wars and administrative mayhem hastened its decline. Dissolved during the French Revolution, the abbey was used as a paper factory until 1906. Fortunately, the historic buildings emerged unscathed. The abbey is surrounded by extensive, immaculately tended gardens dotted with the fountains that gave it its name. The church's solemn interior is lightened by windows in the facade and by a double row of three narrow windows, representing the Trinity, in the choir. A staircase in the south transept leads to the wooden-roof dormitory (spare a thought for the bleary-eyed monks, obliged to stagger down for services in the dead of night). The chapter house, flanked by a majestic arcade, and the scriptorium, where monks worked on their manuscripts, leads off from the adjoining cloisters.
- 80 Degrees: Fodor's Helps You Find Your Best Beach Vacation Spots
- Fodor's Go List 2014: Where we are going in 2014
- World Cup Fever: Start planning your trip to Brazil!
- Fodor's 100 Hotel Awards: Check out the winners of 2013
- Weekend Getaways: Fodor's Recommends the Best Weekend Escapes in the US
- Great American Vacation: Find Your Next U.S. Trip with Fodor's
Most of the towns along the northern coastline of France were destroyed during WW2, but there is at least one notable exception -- the town of Mers-les-Bains in Picardy, which displays one of the most amazing Read more
In my wildest dream, i would never have guessed that my favorite niece and I would celebrate out big birthdays on the same year, or that we would do it in Paris in September!
She has always had a fascinated Read more
Renting a car for 3 days with pick-up and drop off in Biarittz, choice of pick-up seems either train station or airport. Read more
· News & Features
For a lover of brews, there's no place quite like New Zealand.... Read more
Phu Quoc, a fishing island in the Gulf of Thailand, is a quiet refuge of serene beaches, phenomenal seafood,... Read more
Travel is as much about the journey as the destination.... Read more