|1981||Inscribed||Reasons for inscription|Clyde (Malta):
I visited this WHS in July 2013. It is really well kept and quite different from the Maulbronn Abbey in Germany I visited earlier this year. The guide is very informative and explains the site in detail. After the tour I explored the site on my own since all the other tourists headed towards the car park, which meant I had the site all for myself. The cloister and austere chapel are in great condition considering that they are over 1000 years old! Well worth the detour from nearby Vezelay!
Date posted: July 2013 John Booth (New Zealand):
The restoration of this ensemble of buildings has been so carefully carried out that it is hard to believe that they are nearly 1000 years old. The grounds too are kept in pristine condition.
To reach this site I had no alternative but to take a taxi from Montbard station. In between showers of rain I moved from abbey church to cloiser to dormitories to kitchen and workshop, all of which lacked decoration and seemed most austere.
Date posted: May 2010 David Berlanda (Italy / Czech Republic):
In our trip to France we have visited the Cistercian abbey of Fontenay, founded by St. Bernard in 1119 and built in the small valley of the Engrevies. The church was constructed from 1139 to 1147 by the abbot Guillaume, financed by the bishop of Norwich Ebrard, that is buried here, and consecrated by the Pope Eugene III, a Cistercian and former pupil of St. Bernard. The abbey, restored in 1906, is a Romanesque masterpiece and it’s entirely preserved in this style, apart from the refectory and despite the transformations of the 13th, 15th and 18th centuries and the ruins of the 18th and 19th century. It has a plan in the form of latin cross, a blind nave and a towerless transept and contains only an altar and a statue of Our Lady; near that are the cloister and the chapter house. The architecture is simply and modest and places ashlars side by side with crude rough-cut rubble. There are also many communal buildings within the enclosing wall: the monks’ room, the monks’ dormitory, the council room, the heating room, the abbot’s lodging, the refectory, the infirmary, the guest quarters, the bakery, the hostel, the chapel, the garden, the gate, the dovecote and the forge (12th century), that is one of the oldest industrial buildings in France.
I liked very much this abbey because of its particular and simply architecture. It's worth to be visited if you are in Burgundy but I don't think it justifies the inscription because it isn't the Cistercian abbey neither most complete, nor best known, nor that with the most perfect architecture.
Photo: Fontenay - Cloister of the abbey
Date posted: March 2006
Have you been to Cistercian Abbey of Fontenay? Share your experiences!