The abbey was very self-sufficient. The monks would craft items to sell or trade for the supplies they needed. In the forge building, you can see the original forge tools including the water mill that powered the hydraulic hammers used to pound out the iron that was forged.more
South of the church and upstairs you'll find the monk's dormitory. All of the monks would sleep together in this one large room on simple pallets laid on the floor. For a touch of privacy, there were low screens to separate them.Downstairs from the dormitory you'll walk out into the cloisters. Along the way you'll see some other smaller rooms and...more
In 1139, construction began on the church of Fontenay and it was consecrated by Pope Eugene III in 1147. It's design is that of a roman cross and is 66 meters long and about 17 meters high. At one point in its history (circa 1820) the abbaye and the church was transformed into a paper-mill. The subsequent restoration in the early 1900's has brought...more
Compactness enhances the spirit of confinement and isloation, so building upward was undertaken with the dormitory (dortoir), in spite of the large amount of ground available. This addition was made in the 15C. The room is reached by stairs originating in the corner of the south transept. It has a remarkable wooden ship-keel ceiling. The monks...more
The church furnishings are few but are noteworthy. It should be remembered that there would have been a choir screen walling off the worship area (no longer present). By far the most impressive element is the end of the 13C statue of the Virgin and Child as realistic as one could desire. Nearby is a 12C tomb slab in the floor. On the apse wall is a...more
The interior has eight bays covered by broken arches rather than rounded Romanesque ones. The arches are supported on columns with minimally decorated capitals. Light enters the church only through the east and west end windows. The aisles have barrel vaulting. The chancel is flat; some of the original glazed paving is still present here.more
The Iron Foundry was always a money maker. The ore came from nearby. Although originally it lived under a severe Rule, the corruption of Commendatory Abbots brought changes. Initially there was a dovecoat (colombier or pigeon house) which was an emblem landownership, hence the right to raise pigeons. But if one looks further theere are the kennels...more
The Abbey of Fontenay is an essentially intact monastery. It is also a rare example of a severe Cistercian institution. Its church was consecrated in 1147 and the Abbey was one of the first daughter houses of Citeaux led by St. Bernard's uncle. The severity of line makes it all the more attractive. It is situated 6 km beyond Montbard. The church is...more
It is said that the name Fontenay is derived froma word for fountains. As one leaves the forge building and heads for the gate house which is the entry, on the left is a cascade pouring into a large pool. The source of the cascade is the mill-run which powered the forge. The pool is filled with fish, said to be trout. In olden times this was a...more
The Cistercians believed in the sanctity of work and they developed and here practiced a useful trade in metal working. The forge building is almost as long as the church. It stands to the South of the monastic complex next to a channeled water-run, from a diverted stream, that circles the compound and at other points provides water for the several...more
One emerges into the monastery grounds once more. Ahead is a long factory building that is visited last. To the right attached to the Scriptorium, is the prison. Up on a rise near the monastery back wall near the herb garden, is a cottage (not visited) which was the Infirmary. The outer wall of the prison is not intact and it reveals itself to have...more
The same vaulting is to be seen in the scriptorium, where the ribs are received centrally by a row of five columns. The scriptorium is in line with and connected to the chapter house to the north and to the warming-room (chauffoir) to its east. There are two fireplaces in the chauffoir, the only ones in the Abbey except for those in the cooking...more
7, rue Auguste-Carre, , Montbard 21500
Satisfaction: Very Good
Good for: Families
Fain-les-Montbard, Montbard, Burgundy, 21500, France
Good for: Couples
10, rue Marechal Foch, Montbard, 21500, France
Good for: Solo
Family run Hotel with Restaurant owned by M. Gérard and Mme Isabelle Coupat. Hotel De l'Ecu is listed with Logis d'France and Inter-hotel as 3 star. We visited the dining room on a Sunday night in May 2006 (Mother's Day in Australia) and partook of the 18 Euro Menu (now €22). We were joined in the room by 5 or 6 other couples (some with children) and a large table of 6 German gentlemen celebrating the first day of safe cruising on a Burgundy Canal Hire Boat. We monitored the other patrons' enjoyment of their meals. It appeared to match ours.
We had one of the best meals that we have ever had anywhere in France during our dozen or so visits in the last 25 years. With pre-dinner drinks, water and a glass of wine each the bill was 62.5 Euros. Food, Silver Service, Ambience were exceptional:so good that we returned the following night to try more expensive menus.
Favorite Dish: My wife and I ate different 3 course meals on two nights sharing the taste sensations as we went. We enjoyed everything. Service was exceptional. The wine list was better than average but still gave a good range of prices including wines by the glass.
Note: In April 2008, we returned on a road trip - booking in for dinner a month in advance so as not to miss out. Stayed overnight in the hotel and dined as well. Our expectations were met. We enjoyed the meal as we did on the previous visits. Accommodation was good but not exceptional. The standard was to be expected for the 60 euro a night tariff.....but this is a restaurant review and we will go out of our way to eat here again when on the Canal de Bourgogne or driving in this part of France.