- 8 Sept 11 Fontevraud Abbey
Got up and went looking for brekky because E14 at the Hotel Abbaye Royale de Fontevraud was too much. Our room was a bit noisy but OK, small shower. I'm glad I'm only paying E52 per night for it (bargain special) because it's definitely not worth the E100 they want to charge. We found espresso coffee at the nearby Le Croix hotel then did the Abbey tour.
Abbaye le Fontevraud was founded by a hermit who made the unusual decision of putting women in charge. Alas, he wasn't an early feminist; rather, he thought that placing men under the authority of women was yet another form of humiliation for them - good for their souls. Seems he was quite the cult leader in his time.
|Save your soul by putting women in charge. You know it makes sense.|
|Eleanor and King Henry. Eleanor was the mother superior of the convent and lived into her 80s.|
cilice while others prayed over them. This was to remind them, as they died, that the body would go back to the Earth. Nice. There was also a punishment cellar and dungeon where nuns were put in solitary confinement.
Meanwhile, in the chapter house, nuns had to make public confession of their sins. The walls are painted with scenes from the death of Christ with nuns - various Mother Superiors - added later in the corners.
We found this image of Jesus ascending into heaven rather hilarious:
|Jesus is YOINKED up into heaven.|
|In the nun's upper dormitories|
The kitchen building is impressive - it's completely unlike the rest of the Abbey, done in a Turkish style. The many chimneys and doors apparently helped with cooking because it allowed smoke to be blown away easily.
|The kitchen building with its "fish scale" roof|
|Looking up into the main chimney of the kitchen.|
We had Lunch at La Croix brasserie, I had French Onion Soup, Luke had Moules Frites and Affligate beer. A lot of Affligate beer. It comes in 500ml glasses, they made his hands look little.
|Beware, French Onion Soup|
We had a nap afterwards, then wine in the garden as the sun went down, watching bees, smelling the roses, patting the cat. Yes, OK, I patted a cat. It was a French cat. It came right up to me. It had an accent and a beret. What could I do?
The French Onion soup made quite the impression on me and anyone who came within 50 metres smelling distance of me. Spectacular.
Lazy, we went back to dinner at La Croix, Duck L'Orange for me, Luke had the onion soup just to be smelly. Once again we drank too much. After that we went wandering in the Abbey grounds in the dark, squashing apples in the orchard, reading the information panels in the garden and giggling too loudly. There's something delightful about drunkenly sniggering your way around religious monuments by moonlight. It's almost spiritual. That's what I planned to tell the security guards anyway.