The main reason for my trip to France this year : to visit the Royal Abbey of Our Lady of Fontevraud in the Loire Valley. Formerly a monastery in the village of Fontevraud-l’Abbaye, near Chinon, it was founded in 1101 and became the center of a monastic Order. It is one of the largest surviving monastic cities from the Middle Ages, until 1792 when the last abbess was evicted following the French Revolution. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the complex of monastic buildings was transformed into a high security prison by order of Napoleon Bonaparte housing up to 2,000 prisioners from 1804 to 1963.
There is an enthralling art installation at the abbey by Claude Lévêque entitled Mort en été