Abbaye de Mortemer
An Abbey Transformed into a Fabulous Museum of History and Legend.
Morte-mer : a marshy valley at the edge of a dense forest, where Henry Beauclerc, William the Conqueror's son, would come to hunt game or to trap eels. He died here doing just that... On the path to heaven. Imagine that! He breathed his last just a few yards away from the abbey he had founded in 1134. And what an abbey it is! The largest in the Duchy of Normandy.
The monks here followed the Cistercian ideal, dividing their time between prayer and the management of a quite wealthy estate that enabled them to live independently, far from secular temptations.
However, the centuries got the better of them. Nearly 900 years have passed, but there are no longer any monks. However, some marvellous ruins remain: a dovecote, parts of the church walls, a wing of the cloisters, and the large conventual building rebuilt in the 17th century... Please check your rationality at the door! Here, the stones are living memory. The fleeting silhouette of the Woman in White glides over the stones, while the memory of monks murdered during the Revolution also lurks. In the moonlight, when evening drapes its cool halo over the countryside, don't forget to bring a sweater, if ever a chill were to run down your spine.
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