Fodor's Expert Review Abbaye aux Dames
Founded in 1059 by William the Conqueror's wife, Matilda, the Abbaye aux Dames was rebuilt in the 18th century; it then served as a hospital and nursing home before being fully restored in the 1980s by the Regional Council, which promptly requisitioned it for office space. The abbey’s elegant arcaded courtyard and ground-floor reception rooms can, however, still be admired during free guided tours. You can also visit the squat Église de la Trinité (Trinity Church), a fine example of 11th-century Romanesque architecture, though its original spires were replaced by timid balustrades in the early 18th century. Note the intricate carvings on columns and arches in the chapel; the 11th-century crypt; and, in the choir, the marble slab commemorating Queen Matilda, who was buried here in 1083.