This is a very beautiful site along the Loire.
This abbey is remarkable for its history, but also for the beauty of the Romanesque building and the finesse of the carved capitals of the tower porch.
Located 30 minutes from the Chambres d'Hôtes L'Échappée Belle, a visit to this abbey is a must in the Loiret.
Many famous people have passed through here, including Joan of Arc. A king of France is buried here and, of course, the relics of Saint Benoît.
And don't miss the shop run by the Benedictine monks. You will find many gourmet specialities produced by different monasteries all over Europe.
Many good reasons to visit!
The Abbey of Fleury was a religious centre from pre-Christian times.
In the crypt of the abbey were the remains of Saint Benedict, who was venerated by all the monks of the West. The founder of the Benedictine order was buried at Monte Cassino in Italy, but after the great invasion the monastery was plundered. The Abbot of Fleury decided to recover the ashes and since the 8th century they have been kept in St Benoit sur Loire.
Philip I, King of France, is also buried here above the crypt. He fled to Fleury Abbey to seek the protection of St Benedict. He had repudiated his wife and was therefore excommunicated by the Church. Unable to be buried on Christian soil, he begged the saint and his "representatives" to pardon him.
Its library made it an important centre of western culture around the year 1000. The abbey flourished and had up to 170 monks on the site in the early 13th century.
Then fires, wars... ravaged the building.
Joan of Arc and Charles VII passed through in 1429 on their way from Sully to Châteauneuf sur Loire. Fires and riots followed one another.
Another famous man who passed through the abbey was Cardinal de Richelieu, abbot from 1621 to 1642.
This was followed by a more prosperous period, during which renovations and new buildings restored the Abbey to its former splendour. Until the Revolution of 1789... and the purchase of the buildings by a Parisian architect.
It was not until 1865 that two Benedictine monks returned to the abbey.
Do you know...?
- The Benedictine monks don't just sell delicacies, they "make" them. You will find a variety of sweets in the shop
- Another famous man spent a lot of time at the Abbey. Max Jacob, poet, came and lived in Saint Benoît before being arrested by the Germans and deported to Drancy where he died. A tour focusing on Max Jacob is provided by the Tourist Office.
- Mass and celebrations at the Abbey are in Gregorian chant. If you go there during a celebration, you can appreciate the acoustics.
If you are interested, you can take advantage of the guided tours. And to learn more about the building, don't miss the Belvedere Interpretation Centre, which opened at the end of 2019 and is located near the Abbey.