Sunday, December 16, 2007

Le Thoronet

Inside the cloister au Thoronet.

The romanesque abbey of le Thoronet was built in the 12th century and was home to members of the Cîteaux, or Cistercian, order that originated in Burgundy in the 11th century.

One of the cloister walkways.

We arrived late in the afternoon, not much before closing, and the sun was getting low in the sky. There was no time to linger, but we saw the place with the added bonus of there being very few other visitors. Except I do remember standing and waiting for about five minutes for someone to get out of the way of one of these shots.

Arches within arches and circles in stone.

One of the particularities of the cloister is the double-bayed arches each with a central column that you can see in the photos above. After a few pictures we left for the pretty long drive back to the house. If I remember correctly, it was dark by the time we got home.

I think this was the abbey's dormitory.


  1. There's nothing like a lovely cloister for a feeling of peace and quiet. There's a great one hidden in downtown Albi -- don't miss it if you ever go there.

  2. Hey, have you noticed how we all wear little Blogger logos in our comments now? Just one big happy family, I guess...

  3. When I look at the monstrosities that are built today with our advanced technology, I wonder how people could plan and achieve such harmonious beauty in the 12th century. It exudes spirituality!


  4. Le Thoronet is a unique jewel not to be missed by Romanesque style lovers. I can recommend "Les Pierres sauvages" by François Pouillon to those interested in the construction of this beautiful abbey and its early monastic life ...and who read French. I don't know if there is an English translation. Vaut le détour.

  5. I made a mistake. The name of the architect-writer is Fernand Pouillon.

  6. chm: Merci pour la recommandation!

  7. You're welcome Claudia. I do not know who the publisher is but you certainly can find this information on the Net. I just found today a very interesting French web site with lots of pictures of the Thoronet and others:

  8. I just looked at
    It's marvellous! Thank you WCS and chm for sending me there.

  9. betty, I was in Albi many years ago, but missed the cloister. Now I have a reason to back!

    claudia, often times simple is better. But, being a student of architecture, I find that I like more of the newer stuff than most people do.

    chm, thanks for the recommendation and the link.

  10. Walt, more about architecture, please, now that I know you are interested! It's one of our interests too, and we're struck so often in France by how right, how solid, how well proportioned the vernacular architecture is. They got it right starting way back, using the local stone or timber. They built to last. When we get home and leave the airport, seeing the housing developments is our first big letdown.


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