ABBEY DE VAULUISANT
Festival of Music at XII Century Cistercian Monastery
Every June for the past 25 years the chords of strings and ivories have replaced the long forgotten echoes of monastic prayers at the ancient Abbey of Vauluisant in the tiny town of Courgenay in the valley of the Yonne river near Villeneuve l'Archevêque between Troyes and Sens. The Music Festival de Vauluisant (Resonances de Vauluisant) consists of three days of Piano Concertos and Jazz quartets in the monastery originally constructed in the early XII Century.
In 1127 a group of monks of the monastery established at Preuilly, in the Seine et Marne region, came to settle in this valley. The Cistercian order were followers of St Bernard of Clairvaux (see St Bernard and Chatillon -su-Seine) a supporter of the Crusades and the Templar Knights (see Hugues de Payns Museum). The order at its height has over 500 monasteries stretching from Paris to Jerusalem, with many of the important ones in the Champagne and Burgundy regions of France (see Abbey Fontenay).
The Abbey at Vauluisant was originally claimed from swampy flatland, transformed by earth dams and later stone walls which still today fully surround the monastic compound. The monks made income from wood carving and tile production sold in the markets of Troyes (see Troyes Medieval Cork of Aube Champagne). In the hard times of the Hundred Years War and following the monastery was ransacked many times. The monastery was restored and thrived in the XIV and XV centuries but again cam under attack during the religious wars of the XVI, until the Cistercians were reformed under Cardinal Richelieu (see Abbey Cluny). In the 1700’s the abbey was reputed to be one of the most beautiful of the Cistercian Monasteries, but ravaged during the revolution and turned into disuse and wreckage, ultimately falling into private hands in the 1800’s and turned into a farm. The Gamby family acquired the property in the 1960’s and restored the Chapel of Saint Madeleine, barns and common areas. It is still a working farm. The Abbey at Vauluisant is private property but can be visited with appointment April to October and regular tours every Sunday in July and August. If you come at other times the workers will wave you away.
Tickets and reservations for the festival "Resonances de Vauluisant" can be made through the website (in French) or through the tourism office in Sens. The €14 ticket price is a bargain for Chopin, Mozart, Listz, Bach and Brahms to be heard in the once holy surroundings of 900 years of history. For a nearby Bed & Breakfast Hotel Villenueve L’Archeveque has the Auberge des Vieux Moulins Banaux. The Vaulisant Abbey property also has some cottage lodgings for groups but during the festival the musicians stay there. © Bargain Travel Europe
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