Valmagne Abbey

Valmagne is one of Languedoc’s most famous abbeys. It is situated to the north of the Thau lagoon and is known as the ‘Cathedral of the vineyards’.
Come and explore this monument, with its vaulted chapter house. You can stroll around the medieval garden too, before visiting the Conservatoire de Cépages collection of grape varieties and sampling the wines from the estate.

A Cistercian gem

© Hérault-Tourisme - G.Delerue

Founded in 1138, not far from Pézenas, Mèze and the Thau lagoon. Valmagne initially followed the Benedictine rule, but in 1145 the vigorous growth of the Cistercian Order led the abbey to request affiliation to this Order.

Between the 12th and 13th centuries it became one of the most prosperous abbeys in the south of France. Sadly, it was ravaged by the Hundred Years War and the Wars of Religion. Scarcely had it recovered from this before it was sacked again during the French Revolution. It was confiscated, sold off as a national asset and passed through several owners before coming into the hands of the family of the Count of Turenne.

The present Gothic-style church was rebuilt in 1287, on the foundations of a Romanesque church that was no longer large enough. It stands 24.5m high and 83m long.

You can also visit the remarkable 14th century cloisters.

A peaceful, green setting

The south wing is wonderfully peaceful, with the greenery around the fountain creating a very special kind of lighting effect - and its ‘hand basin’. Don’t miss the chapter house and the gardens!

Moving on to the vineyards, it’s worth noting that they’ve been there ever since the 12th century! At the time of the French Revolution, the church was turned into a winery. Casks from Russia were installed there, which is one of the reasons for its nickname of ‘la Cathédrale des Vignes’ or ‘the Cathedral of the vineyards’.

Nowadays, visitors come to Valmagne to sample the local gastronomy, as it has a very famous restaurant.

Find out more about Valmagne Abbey

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