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Provence Sights

Abbaye de Montmajour

  • Religious Building/Site/Shrine
  • Fodor's Choice

Updated 12/16/2013

Fodor's Review

This magnificent Romanesque abbey looming over the marshlands north of Arles stands in partial ruin. Begun in the 10th century by a handful of Benedictine monks, the abbey grew according to an ambitious plan of church, crypt, and cloister and, under the management of worldly lay monks in the 17th century, became more sumptuous. When the Church ejected those monks, they sacked the place, and what remained was eventually sold off as scrap. A 19th-century medieval revival

spurred a partial restoration, but portions are still in ruins. What remains is a spare and beautiful piece of Romanesque architecture. The cloister rivals that of St-Trophime in Arles for its balance, elegance, and air of mystical peace: Van Gogh, drawn to its isolation, came often to the abbey to reflect, but the strong mistral winds kept him from painting there. The interior, renovated by contemporary architect Rudy Ricciotti, is used for world-class contemporary art exhibitions, and the Chapelle St Croix is open for visits—but you need to ask for the keys.

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Sight Information

Phone:

/04–90–54–64–17

Sight Details:

  • €7.50
  • Apr.–June, daily 9:30–6; July–Sept., daily 10–6:30; Oct.–Mar., daily 10–5

Updated 12/16/2013

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Fodorite Reviews

Average Rating

By Heidi

  • Service

  • Food

  • Décor

  • Value

Mar 17, 2005

Stunning!

This ruin is absolutely amazing, especially when it is as abandoned as it was during our recent visit this past March. All ruins should be seen this way!

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