FRANCE BURGUNDY YONNE L'abbaye de Pontigny Pontigny is best known for its ancient Abbaye de Pontigny [+33 386475499, www.abbayedepontigny.eu/]. This Cistercian abbey was established here in 1114 and is one of the best-preserved and long-standing Cistercian structures in Burgundy. The pale-coloured complex is a simple and strong edifice that reflects the monks’ belief in faith and hard work. Set on a bend of the River Serein, the abbey is surrounded by green fields, where the monks established farms, barns and vineyards (the Pontigny monks were the first to perfect the Chablis wine production method) . Many villagers engaged in the agricultural and iron ore extraction trades here, bringing prosperity to the land. Hence, the monks were able to further develop the small abbey, to become the 120m-tall structure that it is today. High windows flood the interior of the building with sunlight and Gothic sanctuary stands 108m long, dotted with 23 chapels. A few other installations like the choir stalls, screen and organ loft were added, only in the 17th and 18th centuries. This serene and open building welcomes visitors until 5pm (in winter) or 6pm (during summer) and is occasionally used to host conferences and concerts. Guided visits are available [ad/ch €4.50].

 

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PONTIGNY:   1. Tourist office  2. Abbaye de Pontigny