WEST LOIRE VALLEY Fontevraud AbbeyListed as a World Heritage Site, the Fontevrand Abbey [Centre Culturel de l'Ouest, +33 241517452 www.abbayedefontevraud.com ad/ch €7/5.50] is one of the most frequented sites east of Saumur. It is a large ecclesiastical complex that was fully functioning till 1793. The building used to be the home of both nuns and monks, who were led by an abbess, a nun of noble lineage. Although the building was damaged several times, their dorms, workrooms, prayer halls and secluded underground passageways are still intact today; so is the abbey church that features grand pillars, which stand supporting the large Romanesque domes. Romanesque, rocket shaped kitchens and vaulted refectories are also part this enormous building which has been accredited to be one of the largest abbeys in Europe. The abbey is also the resting place of the Plantagenets (Henry II, his wife- Eleanor of Aquitaine, Richard the Lion Heart and his wife Isabelle of Angouléme) and their polychrome tombs can be found here. 

  

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SAUMUR MAP:   1.  Château de Montsareau (east of map limits; zoom out to view) 2. Fontevrand Abbey (east of map limits; zoom out to view)