The abbey of Fontevraud was founded around 1101 by the reformer Robert dâ€™Arbrissel in the heart of the Anjou, Touraine and Poitou regions. Construction continued without interruption from the 12th to the 18th centuries.
A veritable monastic city occupying 14 hectares, it was one of the largest monasteries in the West. The order had both a community of men and a community of women, and had the distinction of being under the authority of a woman. Chosen from religious women of noble birth, 36 abbesses, including 16 of royal blood, ran the order of Fontevraud between 1115 and 1792.
Fontevraud was protected by powerful patrons, the first of which were members of Plantagenet family. For this reason, the abbey church contains the wonderful polychrome recumbent tomb figures of Henri II Plantagenet and his wife Eleanor of Aquitaine, of their first son Richard the Lionhearted, and of Isabelle of Angouleme, the wife of their younger son, John Lackland. The abbesses also had close ties to several kings of France, and especially those of the Bourbon family. The last four daughters of Louis XV were raised at the abbey.
At the French Revolution, Fontevraud was the richest and the most powerful abbey in the kingdom. Napoleon I turned it into a prison in 1804, a function it continued to fulfil until 1985. Since 1975, it houses a cultural centre (Centre culturel de lâ€™Ouest).
See the lising of the Hotels in Saumur
Abbaye de Fontevraud
From Saumur: exit nÂ° 2, secondary road D 947
No entry for coaches by Pont de Montsoreau between secondary roads D 152 and D 947 (limited to 16 t)
On the Saumur/Tours road
By the Loire river, 14 km southeast of Saumur
Opening / Closing
1 April to 31 May : 10 to 5:30 pm
1 June to 30 September : 9 to 6 pm
1 to 31 October : 10-5:30 pm
2 November to 31 March : 10-5 pm
on January 1, May 1, November 1, November 11 and December 25