Abbaye de Fontfroide

Abbaye de Fontfroide

by Wendy VanHatten

The Cistercian Abbey of Fontfroide is nestled in the foothills of the Corbières, south-west of Narbonne. Founded in 1093, Fontfroide, now classified as a Historic Monument and a Great Site of Occitania, crosses centuries, eras and events, witness to history for present and future generations.

This Abbey was founded in 1093, on land given to a few Benedictine monks by the Viscount of Narbonne. It takes its name from the nearby source, the Fons Frigidus, the Froide Fountain. Besides water, the monks could find wood and stone in the massif for the construction of the monastery.

But Fontfroide did not really develop until after 1145 and its attachment to the Order of Cîteaux . The Cistercian monks, under the direction of St Bernard of Clairvaux, wish to return to the purity of the rule of St Benedict, advocating poverty, austerity and architectural sobriety.

The Abbey of Fontfroide is imprinted within its walls with rich testimonies of these residences, including the monumental triptych by Odilon Redon “Day, Night and Silence” as well as stained glass windows by Richard Burgsthal.

Today, the descendants of Gustave Fayet still maintain the Abbey of Fontfroide with the same passion.

We spent the better part of a day wandering and exploring around and through the Abbey with its thick walls, impressive gates and doors, and graceful archways. Courtyards beckoned for us to sit and reflect in the silence. Fragrant flowers perfumed the air. Statues watched over us. Garden paths wove in and around it all.


If You Go: Abbey de Frontfroide is located at Route Départementale 613, 11100 Narbonne, France. Their phone number is +33 4 68 45 11 08


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