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Abbaye d’Abondance, de l’Histoire à l’Art

Découvrez notre programmation en téléchargeant la brochure

Pour plus de détails sur nos visites et animations, consultez la rubrique « agenda ».

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Abondance Abbey Presentation

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    Abondance Abbey

    A unique heritage in Haute-Savoie

    The Abondance Abbey is located in the heart of the mountains, in the Chablais Pre-Alps, between Lake Geneva and the Swiss border.

    In 1875, it becomes the first Savoyard structure that is classified a Historic Monument.

    Centrepiece to the Pays d’art et d’histoire pays d’Evian – vallée d’Abondance, a title awarded by the Minister of Culture and Communication in 2003, the Abondance Abbey still has its abbey church, cloister and convent buildings.

    Founded in the 12th century by the Saint Augustin canons and then occupied by the Cistercian monks from 17th century, the Abondance Abbey was abolished at the end of the 18th century (1761). Still well-preserved it reveals the power of mountain Gothic architecture and conceals marvelous artistic treasures.

    You will be greeted by the Abbey’s team and be able to discover all the richness of this site thanks to the numerous activities and attractions.

     

  • Les peintures murales du cloître - Pôle culturel d'Abondance

    The Cloister and its Frescoes

    The cloister is a Gothic architectural medieval religious art treasure.

    The frescoes that adorn its galleries were painted in the early 15th century. They retrace the Virgin Mary’s life showcased in a medieval Savoy setting.

    The diverse and numerous sculptures are made out of sandstone. They show biblical figures, workers in the fields, grotesques and zodiac signs. There may be many painted cloisters in Italy, but in France they are still rare and exceptional.

    As Abondance was in the middle of the Savoyard states, it was no doubt visited by a group of Piedmontese artists in order to decorate the walls in the 1430s.

    Of the twenty original paintings, six are now clearly identifiable.

    With an “Italian” influence, the paintings express people’s thoughts at the beginning of the 15th century, which in the Duchy of Savoy was a period peaking geographically, socially and even economically. The murals are therefore considered to be true testimonies of this time..

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    The Monastery and its exhibition

    The Exhibition: “From History to Art: Religious Heritage in the Abondance Valley”

    You will discover some of the old monastery’s rooms such as the calefactory or the cells.

    The collaboration between the Abbey’s team and the Pays d’Art et d’Histoire has led to a unique and fascinating virtual visit, which enables you to explore the Abondance valley’s religious heritage, depicted by the objects and liturgical ornaments from the collection.

    From a simple object of personal worship, to the goldsmith pieces protected under the Historic Monuments; from the 12th century deed to the current heritage’s news; from Chevenoz to Châtel, via Bonnevaux, Vacheresse, Abondance, La Chapelle d’Abondance and Châtel, this exhibition offers you a wide panorama of all the Abondance valley’s religious heritage.

    To complete the visit:
    A documentary film by Fabrice Ferrari – La Vaka Productions “Restore and Conserve – the Abondance Abbey” (length: approx. 20 mins)

     

    The Religious Art Collection

    Almost 1,500 objects form the collection, of which a part of it is accessible to the public.
    This is how textiles, goldsmithery, paintings, statues, books, and reliquaries, dating from the 15th to the 20th century, are all coexisting.

    These 500 years creating ornaments or making objects enable us to understand the evolution of religious art regarding the choice of materials, the “canons” of the Church and the techniques used across the centuries.

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    The Notre Dame de l'Assomption Abbey Church

    It recalls the period of splendor that the Abbey of Abondance experienced in the Middle Ages, whose fame went beyond the valley’s borders. Its plan proves witness to this, with the presence of an ambulatory and radiating chapels. It is one of the only buildings in Savoy to lay claim to it and therefore makes it extra-special. The Abbey’s identity is affirmed by the presence of a bulbous bell tower, typically Savoyard.

    In the 19th century, Casimir Vicario turned this church into a masterpiece by creating trompe-l’oeil decorations that adorn the triforium and the choir vaults.
    Classified as a Historical Monument, it was the subject of a vast restoration programme between 2002 and 2006.

    Wander through the church by clicking here.
    Access to the church is independent to the Abbey visit. There are no visits during services.
    Information concerning the liturgy of the Saint Maurice Parish in the Abondance valley: More info

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    VISITES VIRTUELLE

    Parcourez l’église abbatiale et la charpente du monastère grâce à cette visite virtuelle en cliquant ici.
    (Cliquez sur le bouton en haut a gauche et sélectionnez dans « autres lieux » le lieux concernant « Notre-Dame d’Abondance » qui vous intéresse)

    L’accès à l’église est indépendant de la visite de l’Abbaye. Pas de visites pendant les offices.
    Informations concernant la liturgie de la Paroisse Saint Maurice en vallée d’Abondance : Plus d’infos

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Les visites de l'abbaye d'Abondance

Self-guided or Guided Tours

Discover the Abondance Abbey’s history, admire the Abbey church and its surprising trompe l’oeil frescoes. Wander through the cloister and into the magnificent courtyard to contemplate the Gothic architecture, and follow in the footsteps where the monks once walked.

You are then invited to explore the exhibition “From History to Art: Sacred Heritage in the Abondance valley”, set-up in the old monastery. A documentary film, by Fabrice Ferrari, “Restore and Conserve – the Abondance Abbey” displays the necessary actions for the site to thrive, its maintenance and showcasing (duration: 20mins).

Self-guided Tours

Information leaflets are provided at reception, (also available in Italian, Spanish, English, Dutch and German) about the architecture, paintings and sculptures. Play areas have been set-up using the themes that are on the site: monk’s day, medieval society, fabrics, arts, and frescoes.

There are game booklets for children available at reception to encourage them to discover the fascinating aspects of these places (free, from 3 years old).

Guided Tours

What could be better than a guided visit, so visitors can better understand how life in a monastery in a mountain environment was really like and to appreciate its artistic wealth.

From Monday to Friday (except public holidays) at 2.30 pm, for 1h15 (minimum 4 people) during the entire French school holidays.
Itinerary: church, cloister (free access to the religious art exhibition).

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    Attractions

    Parcourez les espaces en famille à votre rythme

    Des espaces ludiques ont été aménagés autour des thèmes présents sur le site : la journée du moine, la société médiévale, les tissus, les arts, la fresque, … A parcourir : puzzles, jeux de manipulation, panneaux magnétiques, sac d’activités “MuséOjeuxé et “En quête de pierre”

    • A-vous-de-jouer

      Your turn to play

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      Religious Art Collection

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      MuséOjeux Games Pack

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    Group Visits in the Abondance Abbey

    VISITS FOR CHILDREN’S GROUPS

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      The Painter’s Palette

      CYCLE 1

      A playful way to discover colour. Based on observing the Abbey’s clothes, murals and stained glass windows, children immerse themselves in a world that makes them understand primary colors.
      A nursery rhyme, a drawing to complete, stickers, to your palettes!
      Length: 2h
      Group size: 30 pupils maximum, with four supervisors.

      For more info
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      “Stained Glass Windows” workshop

      Cycles 2 and 3

      The Abondance Abbey’s stained glass windows are recent but they remind us of an entire story in which the techniques have evolved very little. After an interactive presentation of this beautiful art, pupils will be able to make their own stained glass, with paper and Canson!
      Interactive panels, material samples, personal creation.
      Length: 2h
      Group size: 30 pupils maximum, with two supervisors.

      For more info
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      Discovery visit of the Abondance Abbey

      Cycles 2 and 3

      An itinerary at the heart of the Abbey site to discover the collection of buildings (their history and architecture), a wealth of artistic artifacts (religious art objects, frescoes), and the religious community life (monastery life). A questionnaire booklet is given to each pupil.
      Length: 1h30/2h
      Group size: 30 pupils maximum, with two supervisors.

      For more info
    • Petits fresquistes - Pôle culturel d'Abondance

      “Young Fresco Painters” Workshop

      Cycle 2 and 3

      The Abondance Abbey is known for its cloister decorated with magnificent 15th century frescoes. We offer children a presentation of fresco painting techniques and then they create their own fresco once they have prepared their own lime plaster!
      Educational dossier, games booklet, material samples, personal creation.
      Length: 2h
      Group size: 30 pupils maximum, with two supervisors.

      For more info
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      “On the Little Angel Giacomo’s Trail” game

      Cycles 2 and 3

      On the hunt for the joker angel, each team must answer questions about the different parts of the Abbey: sculptures and frescoes, monastic architecture, life in the Middle Ages and in a monastery.
      Length: 2h
      Group size: 30 pupils maximum, with two supervisors.

      For more info
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      “Funny Creatures in the Abondance Abbey” Workshop

      Cycles 2 and 3

      Lets go on a hunt for hidden animals in the Abbey’s decor. Paintings, sculptures, they are everywhere!
      After discovering the medieval beasts, everyone can create their own animal. Cut-out, it will be a part of a mish-mash reconstituting the class’ own imaginary beasts.
      Length: 2h
      Group size: 30 pupils maximum, with four supervisors.

      For more info
    • Apprentis copistes - Pôle Culturel d'Abondance

      “Apprentice Scribes” Workshop

      Cycle 3

      Pigments, parchments, gold leaf, calligraphy, so many names that evoke the Middle Ages and the monastic scribes in the abbeys.
      A 15th century song book is used as a starting point for the pupils to set off and discover this technique thanks to the interactive panels then creating their own work. Panels, personal creation.
      Length: 2h
      Group size: 30 pupils maximum, with two supervisors.

      For more info
    • En quête de pierres

      Stones and Wood in all their States

      Discovery tour

      High School

      For more info
    • DUO ABBAYE - © Pôle culturel 2

      DUO "Offer" Abbey + Abbey

      Discovery Tour + Practical Artistic Workshop

      Cycles 2 et 3 / collège

      For more info
    • DUO MAISON DU FROMAGE - © Pôle culturel

      DUO "Offer" Abbey + Maison du Fromage Abondance

      Discovery tours on both sites

      Cycles 2 and 3 / High School

      For more info

    TRANS’ABONDANCE SKI: GROUP TRANSPORT BY REQUEST

    From the Christmas school holidays to the end of March there is a free shuttle bus to take groups staying in Abondance holiday centres. Every day, except Saturdays, it serves the ice rink in Auffaz, the Essert cable car, the Maison du Fromage and the Abondance Abbey. Route: ABONDANCE / RICHEBOURG / CHARMY L’ENVERS.

    Information & reservations : Essert Cable Car – 04 50 73 76 87

    VISITS FOR ADULT GROUPS

    • Accueil Groupes adulte - Pôle culturel d'Abondance

      INDEPENDENT VISIT

      Discover the Abbey site at your own pace: enjoy a meditative break in the cloister and submerge yourself in the exceptional universe of the 15th century frescoes. Next explore the exhibition “From History to Art: Religious Heritage in the Abondance Valley” that includes a collection of treasures from the site (liturgical objects and clothes). A documentary film by Fabrice Ferrari “Restore and Conserve – Abondance Abbey” puts the Abbey in the spotlight and shows the necessary actions for keeping the site up and running (20 minutes). Visit aids (in French and foreign languages) are available to provide you with key points to discover the site.

      For more info
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      GUIDED TOUR OF THE ABBEY

      Let us to tell you about the Abondance Abbey’s  history.
      Discover the Abbey church from its remarkable architecture to its surprising frescoes. Wander around the cloister and admire the Gothic architecture of this incredible courtyard where the Holy men used to walk, and discover the secrets of the 15th century paintings that adorn it.

      Next you may explore the exhibition “From History to Art: Religious Heritage in the Abondance Valley”, installed in the old monastery. A documentary film by Fabrice Ferrari “Restore and Conserve – Abondance Abbey” puts the Abbey in the spotlight and shows the necessary actions for keeping the site up and running (20 minutes). Disabled access with a ramp to enter the church and cloister, but the cloister’s flooring is difficult without assistance.

      For more info
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      From the Foundations to the Eves of the Abbey

      Just like the experts, explore the roof carpentry and it will reveal its secrets to you! Climb the 44 steps which lead you under the monastery’s framework. Observe this majestic monument’s carpentry in detail to identify all its evolutions. Benefit from this privileged time to appreciate the various restoration and consolidation interventions.
      With our mediator, smell, touch and retrace nearly 300 years of work, thanks to this amazing visit… unlike any other!

      For more info
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      An Abbey Full of Colour

      Step into the shoes of an apprentice fresco painter… you are going to see in multicolours!
      Our mediator will show you all the observation tricks for decoding all the cloister’s details. And why not have a go at your own sketch and reveal the artist in you!

      Fresco techniques, colours and restorations will have no secrets for you after this visit, unique in its kind!

      For more info
    • VIP Les coulisses de l'abbaye Réserves - Pôle culturel d'Abondance

      Behind the Scenes at the Abbey

      Slip alongside the curator and go behind the scenes at the museum.
      Stroll through the very heart of the reserves to find sculptures, books and goldsmithery. Contemplate the Abbey’s large textile collection with our mediator who will reveal their conservation secrets. Close to the works, take part in doing the inventory: observe, count, dust off, and describe. This visit reveals this passionate profession… a unique visit!

      For more info
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      “DUO” OFFER: 1 TICKET = 2 SITES

      One ticket to visit the Abbey and the Maison du Fromage Abondance
      Independent visit: €7.50 per person
      Guided tour: €11.50 per person
      A free tasting (white wine/apple juice and Abondance cheese) is provided at the Maison du Fromage Abondance.

      For more info

    DUO Offer: Abbey + Maison du Fromage Abondance

    With this offer you have the opportunity to visit the Abbey and the Maison du Fromage Abondance at discount prices. You can choose between a self-guided or guided visits. From 8-years-old.

    Discover the DUO Offer

    Abbey Opening Times & Prices

    See the opening times and prices
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    Access

    Take the D902 from Lake Geneva’s shores towards Abondance valley (27km, approx. 30 minutes).

    The entrance to the site is located at Place de l’Abbatiale, in the village centre.

    Nearby: free parking, charging terminal for electric cars, bike park and “Flot Bleu” welcome area.

      Accessibility

      The cloister and exhibition spaces are only accessible to people with reduced mobility if they are accompanied (there are a few steps to access the monastery and the ground has rounded stones).

      The Abbey Church is entirely accessible.

      Contact the Abondance Abbey

      BP 01
      74360 ABONDANCE
      Tel : 04 50 81 60 54

      Envoyer un email