Cîteaux Travel Guide

  • the library
    the library
    by Mikebond
  • nature
    nature
    by Mikebond
  • the side of the library
    the side of the library
    by Mikebond

Cîteaux Things to Do

  • Welcome back to 1106!

    Before moving to the library, our guide had us sat down on the banks you see in this photo. You will most likely think these banks were laid there as part of the visit to let tourists have a rest. And you - like my parents and I, and the tourists who were with us - would be terribly wrong! The banks form the perimeter where the first stone...

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  • Choose your visit!

    The monks of Cîteaux organize guided tours of the monastery, which take place several times a day (more often in peak seasons).Three ways to discover Cîteaux are offered:1) an audio-visual presentation (diaporama), lasting around 30 minutes;2) a guided tour of around 1 hour 15 minutes;3) a guided tour + audio-visual presentation (around 2...

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  • Cistercians around the world

    An exhibition has been set in a room of the definitorium with panels showing the worldwide diffusion of the Cistercians and of the orders that related to them. First, the Cistercian order spread across Western Europe, mainly in France, Spain and Italy, then also across other continents. All the monasteries are marked on these maps, with a colour...

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  • The definitorium - remarkable Monks

    These photos show some of the Cistercian monks who marked the history of this Order.In the first pic, you see Bernard de Clairvaux, a Burgundian noble who decided to leave everything and went to the New Monastery in Cîteaux with 30 mates of his. The second photo gives you short information about him and a quote from Saint Benedict's Rule.The third...

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  • The definitorium - cloister

    The definitorium is the building where the monks who prepared the issues to be debated at the General Chapter. These monks were called definitors.The construction of this building last until 1699. What remains today is a cloister and some vaulted rooms on the ground floor.In the cloister you see the silhouettes of some monks who honoured the...

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  • The library - first floor

    The library itself, on the first floor, is a vaulted room, where the books from different parts of the abbey were regrouped. In 1797, there were over 10,000 books.Today the room exhibits reproductions of ancient Cîteaux manuscripts; the original ones are kept at the Dijon city library.Our guide told us that the inscription you see in the second...

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  • After the French Revolution

    The devastating rage of the French Revolution led to the dismantlement of most of the abbey, while some other parts were used for other purposes.Only three buildings have survived until today: the 15th-century library, the 17th-century definitorium and the 18th-century abbey seat by architect Lenoir (which still houses the monks).The first four...

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  • The library - ground floor

    The library was achieved in 1509. It housed the copyists' cells on the ground floor and a big reading room on the first floor. It is the only example left of a building where the library itself lies above the copyists' rooms.The copyists' cloister had already been built in 1260 and was restored in 2001. It was used as a "book atelier" until the end...

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  • Introductory talk

    The visit of the abbey will start from this room, where you can see some reproductions of books, just to get an idea of what they look. The original books are not exhibited, because they are fragile and could easily get spoilt. As you may know, copying codices and other books was one of the main activities of Cistercian monks.The guide will start...

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  • Beginning of the visit

    If you choose to visit the abbey, you will wait for your guide in this building, which is no longer used as a church. The statue represents Saint Robert de Molesme, the founder of the Cîteaux site.Inside, panels have been set up to show the daily life and activities of the Cistercian monks and an exhibition shows their products (restored books,...

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  • "Way of silence and memory"

    To introduce you to the visit of the monastery, a sequence of ten engraved paving stones telling the story of Cîteaux has been set. The first stone bears the date 1098: the foundation of Cîteaux.The second stone, 1198, depicts the symbol of Cîteaux and of its first four "daughters" (La Ferté, Pontigny, Clairvaux and Morimond).The stone in the third...

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  • The way to peace

    After leaving your car at the park, you walk down a path across beautiful meadows and already feel a new atmosphere of peace and silence, something rare in our times. You will see a lot of grass and plants during the whole visit of the abbey.

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