Cistercian Clairvaux Abbey - 900 years

"The event "Clairvaux 2015" is to celebrate the 900 years of this jewel of European memory. A young monk of 25 years of age, Bernard de Fontaine went to make his abbey a model, copied throughout Europe.

Clairvaux, which was to have 339 daughter abbeys, was as much an architectural model with its ribbed vaults as well as an economic and spiritual model. It is this authentic Cistercian adventure that is told by the exhibition-event organized by the Department at the Hotel-Dieu with more than 150 works and rare items on the history of Clairvaux Abbey.

Co-organized by the County Council, the Renaissance Association Abbey and the Ministry of Culture, this "Clairvaux 2015" event celebrates an abbey finally refound, after a decade of major restorations. And it hides another birthday, that of thirty years of the opening of the abbey to the public: "It was not until 1985, said Jean-François Leroux, that for the first time in eight centuries, people who were neither monks nor detainees were able to enter Clairvaux."

Neither sculpture nor painting or stained glass. Only the architecture, with its ribbed vaults illuminates this pure Abbey of silence. A symbol that evokes the spiritual success of Clairvaux. But this success was primarily economic. Like the Templars with their Commanderies, the Cistercians relied on a network of barns located at up to 44 agricultural and industrial operation centers. Despite the Hundred Years War and the Black Death, the small business prospered. In the fourteenth century, Clairvaux and his nine hundred monks manage 25,000 hectares of land, 15,000 hectares of forests, 230 ha of vineyards, 133 houses and 43 mills, not forgetting the forges and salt and iron mines."

Illustrations and text (translated and slightly adapted) from this French brochure on the Clairvaux 2015 Event. 

Watch on Youtube this great 3D animated movie that tracks the evolution of this famous Cistercian abbey through time.

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