Senones Abbey (Abbaye de Senones) was a Benedictine abbey located in the valley of the Rabodeau, in the present village of Senones in Lorraine, France.


The abbey was founded in the middle of the 7th century[1] by Saint Gondelbert, bishop of Sens, who was also the first abbot[2].

The Vögte ("advocates"), from at the latest the 12th century, were the Counts, later Princes, of Salm, in whose lands the abbey stood. There was frequent conflict between the abbey and its Vögte up the end of the monastery's existence. In the 16th century however the conflicts became so severe that to resolve them required the intervention of Emperor Maximilian II and Popes Pius V and Gregory XIII; the resolution was not to the advantage of the abbey, which found itself from then on significantly weakened in relation to the claims of the Salms.

In the 12th century the abbey premises were rebuilt by abbot Anthony of Pavia, and included a round church, now vanished. At this time the abbey was responsible for the foundation of several small priories, including those at Xures, Léomont and Vic-sur-Seille (all in the first third of the century), Le Moniet (1126) and Fricourt (in the mid-12th century). The priory at Mervaville was a later foundation of the abbey, from the first quarter of the 13th century.

The abbey was the home during the first half of the 13th century of the monk and chronicler Richer of Senones.

The reform of the Congregation of St. Vanne was introduced in 1618.

By far the best known of the abbots of Senones was Dom Antoine Calmet, famed for his extensive commentaries on the Bible, and author of other works including a history of Lorraine. (He also left a history of the abbey in manuscript). Voltaire was an admirer of the abbot, and stayed at Senones Abbey in 1754. Dom Calmet assembled a library of 15,000 volumes, and rebuilt the entire complex.

On 2 March 1793 the Principality of Salm was incorporated into the newly formed department of Vosges and at that time the abbey was dissolved.


The abbey's assets were sold off as national property. The buildings were bought by local industrialists who used them for textile works, which is what they remained until 1993, when they were acquired for preservation.

The buildings on the site today are all from the 18th century rebuilding under Dom Calmet, except for (a) the church, a 19th century reconstruction apart from its bell tower, which is the only structure on the whole site remaining from the 12th century, and (b) the individual houses to the north, also 19th century, which stand on the sites of the old mill and a farm building.

The abbey has been listed as a Monument historique by the French Ministry of Culture since 1983 [3]


  1. according to tradition, in 640
  2. The name "Senones" is the former name of Sens, after the name of Gallic people, and the new foundation is said to have been named by Gondelbert after his bishopric
  3. French Ministry of Culture: Abbaye de Senones (French)


Coordinates: 48°23′37″N 6°58′50″E / 48.39361°N 6.98056°E / 48.39361; 6.98056

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