Welcome to the Abbey of La Réau

Monks,  landsmen and builders, orders and rules, prayers and silence, nonsense and penitence  . . .  Come with the family and discover the secret world of an abbey, in a setting you might see at the cinema!

Lost in the middle of the countryside, the Royal Abbey of la Réau is a jewel of the Haut-Poitou, an historic monument in an exceptional setting.

Concealed in the wooded countryside of the River Clain, dotted with woods and ponds, at the end of an alley lined with hundred year old linden trees, the Abbey of La Réau, “la Royale”, appears only at the last moment. The visitor is then amazed by the impressive ruins of the abbey church, raising its high and severe silhouette to the open sky.

Among the monasteries founded in Poitou, the Abbey of  La Reau occupies a place of merit, for both its unusual history and the quality of its architecture.

The austere beauty of the buildings harmonizes with its French-style garden, the destruction of which has not altered either the grandeur which strikes the imagination or the force which reigns in this place. Its military structure bears witness to the defensive character of the monasteries of a region where, over the centuries, there have been numerous political and religious disturbances.

Did you know?

Did you know, the monks were self-sufficient and followed very strict rules, in that they certainly prayed eight times a day, but they worked hard, they invented beer, they were trading in what they grew and they made, they did not have the right to speak to each other except in a room provided for that purpose, that they had to be scrupulously punctual at the risk of being punished, that they were performing simple tasks such as housework, watching the fire, working in the fields, in the garden, making bread, that they had the right to consume olive oil, that their only daily meal was meagre and always without meat, and that we are indebted to them for our great wines of Burgundy?

Did you know that, as pioneers, the monks cut back the forests to create new areas for cultivation and rearing of animals, that it took a year to copy the Bible, that the work of calligraphic illumination was difficult and demanding and hidden from view, that the hood of their robes served to isolate them for prayer, and that they distributed bread, soup and used clothes to the poor.

. . . and thousands of other things to know, to experience, to discover at the Abbey of la Réau.

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