La Chaise-Dieu

FRANCE AUVERGNE HAUTE LOIRE Chaise Dieu abbey

La Chaise-Dieu (pop 926) is perched on an isolated hill in the Haute-Loire department. This small town is best known for its local

Église Abbatiale St-Robert La Chaise-Dieu [+33 471000606, www.abbaye-chaise-dieu.com, ad/ch €4/1(for admission to the choir and treasury)] of the same name. The abbey was founded in the 1044 by the monk, Saint Robert de Turlande, quickly becoming a monastery of significant influence, with over 300 monks residing here by the end of the 11th century. However, the abbey saw major improvements only in the 14th century when Pope Clement VI bequeathed significant funds for its reconstruction (as he wished the abbey church to house his remains). The Benedictine
Abbey has had a tumultuous past, as it was ransacked by the Huguenots in 1562 and devoured by a fire almost a century later. The French Revolution also caused some damage to the edifice in the late 18th century. In spite of all this, the abbey remains an impressive religious building that boasts exquisite architectural detail. The abbey is home to architectural details and artefacts from various centuries, as its long history as seen regular reconstructive works.

The abbey church, erected in a Languedoc Gothic style, is the main attraction, as it houses the choir, which sheathes the tomb of Pope Clement VI (a striking black and white marble structure). The tomb is surrounded by 144 oak choir stalls that date back to the 14th century. This majestic area is cloaked by beautiful 17th century Flemish tapestries. The Salle de l’Écho (outside the church) is a curious feature of the abbey, as you can hear someone whispering at one end of the wall, even while standing at the other end. Numerous theories have cropped up about the mysterious use of the Salle de l’Écho, one of them being that the wall was used as a confession area for lepers.
La Chaise Dieu also attracts visitors to its borders thanks to its annual Festival of Sacred Music (held in August).


 

 

 

 

 


LE CHAISE-DIEU STREET MAP :   1. Tourism Office  2. Abbey

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