The Cistercian Abbeys of Provence

Nestled in the most secret parts of the hinterland, the Abbaye de Sénanque, Thoronet and Silvacane embody another Provence, one that is spiritual and mystical. Their Cistercian heritage illustrates the influence of the Order in medieval times in the region.

A Bit of History

Founded by Saint Bernard de Cîteaux in the late 11th century, at the height of Western Christianity’s spiritual awakening, the Cistercian Order is organised around work, prayer and liturgical life. It encourages its members to live apart from the world. It is in this context that the Cistercian abbeys of Provence were constructed, their bareness reflecting the austerity advocated by the Order. In the 12th century, the Cîteaux Order developed under the impetus of Bernard de Clairvaux (1090-1153), spiritual master of the Cistercians.

The Abbaye de Sénanque

Located in the valley of the same name, near Gordes in the Parc Naturel Régional du Luberon, the Cistercian Abbaye de Sénanque is surrounded by lavender fields and wooded hills. Built in 1148, the monastery was burned and partly destroyed during the religious wars in the 16th century, then abandoned afterwards. In 1988, a new community of monks established itself there, reconnecting with centuries of Cistercian tradition.

The Abbaye du Thoronet

Built in 1146 in the hinterland of the Var, the Abbaye du Thoronet is distinguished by its architecture, which combines a play plays with proportions and space in a sparse style. The architect-planner François Pouillon was inspired by this sublime structure in the aftermath of the Second World War. Since 1991, it has been the atypical setting for the Rencontres Internationales de Musique Médiévale, which bring about 2,500 spectators to Le Thoronet.

Cistercian itinerary in Provence

It is possible to discover the three Provençal abbeys at your own pace while benefiting from a preferential rate. From the Luberon massif to the Var hinterland, via the Durance valley, these three buildings adorn our Provencal landscapes with their beauty. Jewels of the regional Romanesque heritage, the three Cistercian sisters complement each other and should be discovered without further delay.

A full-price entry purchased in one of the three abbeys gives you access to a reduced-price entry in the other two!