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The Royal Abbey of Fontevraud

Close to the Loire and Saumur, the majestic Royal Abbey of Fontevraud is situated in a natural setting on the border between Anjou, Touraine and Poitou. Its scale, architecture and the whiteness of its tuffeau stone are an impressive sight! Come and discover this historic abbey, lived in for a time by Eleanor of Aquitaine and which is now a hive of cultural and gastronomic activity.

The Royal Abbey of Fontevraud, the largest monastic centre in Europe

Sinceits construction in 1101, the abbey's founder, Women have had a strong influence on the Abbey of Fontevraud,the most iconic being Eleanor of Aquitaine, the wife of Henry Plantagenet, King Henry II of England. Moreover, almost a dozen members of the Plantagenet dynasty are buried in the abbey church.
Later, after 1804, the Abbey became one of the harshest prisons under Napoleon and it retained this role until 1963. It is only since then that it has been open to visitors.

The principal priory of the Abbey of Fontevraud: at the heart of historic events

The impressive principal priory of the Royal Abbey of Fontevraud is central to the site's history.

Here, at the heart of the Abbey church, you can admire the recumbent funerary statues of four members of the Plantagenet dynasty: Eleanor of Aquitaine and Henry II, together with Richard the Lionheart, their son, and Isabelle d’Angoulême (Isabella of Angoulême) the wife of their younger son, King John (also known as 'John Lackland').
The fascinating kitchens dating from Romanesque times are hidden within a curious building of Byzantine inspiration, on which the roofs of the chimneys were built using a "fish-scale" design. These kitchens were once a smokehouse for preserving fish caught in the Loire!

Finally, don't forget to visit the large dormitory, the cloister and its garden as well as the chapter house, which are all very beautiful.

Gastronomy, hospitality and culture at the Abbey of Fontevraud

In the Saint­-Lazare priory, you can round off this peaceful visit with a gastronomic meal at Fontevraud Le Restaurant. Its fine cuisine by chef Thibaut Ruggeri uses local produce and does honour to the wines of the Saumur area.
You can also spend a relaxing night in the Hôtel de Fontevraud, which is furnished in a contemporary, elegant and unfussy manner.  

The Abbey also hosts concerts, exhibitions and open-air films throughout the year.
Accommodation nearby
Are you looking for a hotel, bed and breakfast, campsite, gite or traditional horse-drawn caravan? Discover all our accommodation ideas for your stay in the Loire Valley.


Gourmet restaurant - fine cuisine
at approximately 232 m