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La Croix Blanche - Fontevraud
Charming historic hotel & restaurant
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The Royal Abbey of Fontevraud & art museum


Share our passion - right opposite La Croix Blanche

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Major events of summer 2024

  • La nuit des Musées: Saturday 18th of May 2024 - free entrance to the museum between 19-23hrs
  • Exhibition on Bernard Buffet: 8th of June to 29th of September 2024
  • Les Etoiles de Fontevraud: 16th of July until 25th of August (except Mondays) - sound & light

The Cligman collection in the new Museum for Modern Art opening late 2020

1700 sq. metres of modern art in the centuries old abbey: the Cligman collection. This exquisite and unique collection of  900 works of art will be housed in the Fannerie building of the abbey, opening late 2020.
Monsieur and Madame Cligman are passionate art collectors and have donated a large part of their private art colelction to the abbey. Works of art include famous names such as Toulouse-Lautrec, Degas, Delaunay, Richier, Rodin, Van Dongen, Richier, Buffet, Derain... as well as Asian and African art.

Summer exhibition 2022: Claude Monet
Summer exhibition 2023: Rembrandt
Summer exhibition 2024: Bernard Buffet


The Royal Abbey of Fontevraud was founded in 1101

During the so called Monastic period (1101-1792) the largest monastic city of Europe was built creating an extraordinary building with elegant architecture using local limestone.
The founder, the monk Robert l’Arbrissel, empowered women by choosing an abbess, often of royal blood, to lead the double order of monks and nuns.
Originally the Abbey of Fontevraud was composed of four monasteries: Grand Moutier (used for the daily life of the nuns), St. Benedict (infirmery), Saint-Lazare (home for leppers) and La Madeleine (refuge for ‘repentant women’ ).
The architecture reflects the daily life of the nuns – the cloister, dormitory, refectory and the unique kitchens.
During its most influential period the order quickly spread out over Europe and in less than a century a hundred priories were founded, mostly in France, England and Spain. 

Four effigies can be found in the abbey church: Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine who spent the last years of her life in Fontevraud, her son Richard the Lionheart as well as his father King Henry II and Isabella of Angouleme, wife of John Lackland.
During his reign, four daughters of king Louis XV were educated at the abbey. The abbey has always had close ties with royalty.

After the French Revolution, the abbey was transformed into a large prison (1804-1963) 

For inmates living conditions were particularly harsh, with one in 7 prisoners dying inside the walls of Fontevraud Abbey…
The first prisoners -men, women and children- arrived in 1814. The center had up to 2000 inmates and was known to be the “toughest in France after Clairvaux.” Children were imprisoned separately in the nearby Domaine St.Hilaire in Roiffé. Inmates worked in the locksmith shops, did weaving, made rush seating and mother-of-pearl buttons. This Prison Period lasted until 1963.
During WWII political prisoners were imprisoned here before being sent to the death camps, some members of the resistance were shot inside the abbey walls too.

After nearly 900 years of religious life the abbey was opened to public

The abbey is now an important centre for cultural activities with one annual core event : ‘Cité Idéale’ (The Ideal City) which promotes exchanges and contacts themed around cultural activities for all ages. The main objective is to encourage cultural activities as well as facilitate exchanges between the local population, artists and tourists so they can experience a kind of communal life based on shared values.
Activities in and around the Abbey include guided tours (also possible after dark), visual arts and animation, social debates, lectures, historic walking tours, musical performances, innovative multi-media presentations and the exploration of the work of contemporary artists through exhibitions, conferences and events.

Housing a Michelin star restaurant since 2017

Bocus d'Or 2013 winner Thibaut Ruggeri obtained a Michelin star for his cooking with home grown seasonal ingredients, the menu changes every lunar month (29.5 days). His extraordinary cuisine at Fontevraud Le Restaurant obtained a Michelin star in 2017 to which a 'sustainable cuisine' green star and 3 toques with Gault et Millau were added in 2020 and 2023.
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