Wednesday, November 05, 2014

A glimpse of the Abbaye de Fontenay

This is the second time I've been here, and it's the second time that I didn't go inside. This time it was raining and we had the dog in the car. So we just had a look from the outside. The first time, we were on our way to Paris from the south and the abbey closed just as we got there. One of these days...

Looking into the abbey from outside the gates.

We kind of got lost trying to get out of Montbard and onto the road for the abbey. One is never really lost in France, as all roads lead somewhere and it's not hard to find the right one. Still, we were driving in the rain and the roads were small ones, twisting and turning in deep valleys. We came upon a field of cows who regarded us with mild curiosity. Ken photographed them as they were on his side of the car.

The UNESCO plaque at the abbey. It was designated as a world heritage site in 1981.

So we arrived at the abbey and walked around outside. Because it was raining, we figured that the interiors would be dark and not very interesting for photos. And Callie was waiting for us in the car, so we moved on. We stopped to get gas and to buy a couple of sandwiches for a picnic lunch later on. And we got some wine while we were at it for dinner that night.

The abbey, built in the 12th century, is nestled in a deep valley, far from anywhere.

In the wine aisle, I met a couple who decided to let me know which wines were good and which weren't. It was fun talking to them and they enjoyed advising a foreigner about what was good to drink. We all laughed, so that's a good thing. And they were right about what was good.

Again, outside the gate, but still pretty.

The gas tank filled, we headed farther south toward a town called Semur-en-Auxois. There was construction on the main road, but we drove in and through the historic center with its huge church and fortifications. Very pretty, but we didn't get out of the car. Then it was on to Epoisses, a town famous for its cheese.

Part of the park outside the abbey.

We got lost on the way, which is so unlike me. But still. We stopped in Epoisses to eat our sandwiches in the shadow of the local château. Then we went on our way toward a town called Montréal. And the sun decided to come out for the afternoon.


  1. impressive; 12th century, eh? did you buy some cheese in epoisses?

  2. Six years ago , we did a day trip from the outskirts of Dijon to visit the Abbaye. It was a guided tour and it was very interesting to learn about the Cistercians- ( after visiting the one in Cîteaux a couple of days before). It has a very beautiful garden inside.
    Now it is owned by a French family .

  3. Please stop posting gorgeous photographs of Bourgogne (and mentioning some of our favourite spots)! The great debate is still on here - when we sell the house is it Bourgogne or Lot? Your photos are certainly colouring my judgement!

  4. I believe one day you will visit it inside..

  5. Thanks for bringing back the memories for us - we've enjoyed the as well Abbey but maybe 2010. The towers of Semur en Auxois with their little Chinese hats are also a great sight.


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