Final resting place of two English Kings
Fontevraud Abbaye is in a quaint little village by the same name. Located southeast of Saumur it is built of the light tuffa stone that is found in the area. At sunset the stone takes on a beautiful golden tone. Staying at the hotel in the abbaye allowed wandering around the grounds at night and free entrance to the abbaye tour. We began in the cathedral where the remains of two english kings, and two english queen/queen mothers lay in rest. The history behind the four effigies of Henry II, his wife Elinor, their son King Richard, and their daughter in law Isabella d'Angouleme (wife of King John and mother of King Henry III) in the center of the solemn nave fills books. The wonder of English history buried deep in the French countryside shows how profoundly things change and even more how we are all connected.
Though led by a woman, both monks and nuns lived and worked here. The abbaye was powerful for many years dying finally during the French revolution. It was later a prison for many years, and only lately has been wonderfully restored and cared for. Wandering the cloisters, the kitchen, the chapter house one can almost hear the sound of pens on parchment as the monks made copies, imagine the awe of a new recruit, the harshness of some disciplinary action and I swear there were ghosts of old monks pottering around in the herb garden.