A UNESCO World Heritage site since 1981, the abbey was one of the first French monuments to be included on this prestigious list that distinguishes the exceptional value of both the Fontenay Abbey complex and its natural environment.

A little history

 Located between Auxerre and Dijon, Fontenay Abbey was founded in 1118 by Saint Bernard de Clairvaux, a charismatic personality from the Cistercian reform. It’s the oldest preserved Cistercian abbey in the world. After the French Revolution, which led to the departure of the monks, it was home to the paper mill of the Montgolfier brothers. These are their descendants, the Aynard family, who today ensure the remarkable restoration and preservation of all the Romanesque-style buildings: the abbey church, the monks' dormitory, the cloister, the chapter house, the monks’ hall and the forge.

A full programme! 

The Abbey is open to visitors all year round. Each year it welcomes more than 100 000 visitors who come to admire the beauty and purity of an architecture preserved for 900 years, and appreciate the peace of this deeply spiritual place.
The tour includes most of the monastery buildings, gardens and lapidary museum. It ends in the library.

Did you know?

Fontenay Abbey has inspired many filmmakers, including Jean-Paul Rappeneau, who in 1990 used this as the setting for his film Cyrano de Bergerac, with Gérard Depardieu.


Visit Fontenay Abbey

Visit Fontenay Abbey (information on rates, opening times, tickets,...).