FRANCE BURGUNDY COTE D'OR l’abbaye de Fontenay

Hailed as a masterpiece of Romanesque architecture, the former Cisterian abbey, Abbaye Fontenay [+33 380921500] is a UNESCO world heritage site. The abbey, 80 km north of Dijon, was founded in 1118, by Saint Bernard; in the small, marshy town of Marmagne. Consecrated by Pope Eugene in 1147, Abbaye Fontenay quickly became the royal abbey by 1269. Being favoured by the rulers, made the abbey vulnerable to pillages and attacks during the Hundred Years War, followed by the Wars of Religion. The abbey has managed to survive these brutal years, making it one of the oldest and most intact Cisterian abbeys in Europe. Most of the ancient Romanesque features of the abbey (such as the church, cloister, dormitory and forge) can still be sighted today. The austere building stands humbly amidst well-trimmed gardens and a wooded valley with a flowing stream- perfect for some quiet contemplation. You can arrive at the abbey by catching a cab down from the Montbard train station that is served by Djion and Gare de Lyon trains.