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Valloires Abbey

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Abbaye de Valloires
Valloires cloître.JPG
Basic information
Location Argoules, France
Geographic coordinates 50°20′36″N 1°53′00″E / 50.3433°N 1.88338°E / 50.3433; 1.88338Coordinates: 50°20′36″N 1°53′00″E / 50.3433°N 1.88338°E / 50.3433; 1.88338
Affiliation Roman Catholic
Ecclesiastical status Abbey
Architectural description
Year completed 1741
Length 91.4 meters
Width (nave) 21 meters

Valloires Abbey is a 12th century Cistercian abbey situated in the commune of Argoules in the Somme department of France.

Early History

In 1138, Guy II of Ponthieu agreed with Cistercian monks to the foundation of their seventh abbey in France. The monks established themselves at Valloires in the valley of the Authie river in 1158 AD. At the height of its prosperity, in the 12th and 13th centuries, the abbey was home to about one hundred monks. The abbey’s wealth allowed the construction of the first abbey in the rib-vaulted style as early as 1226. In the following centuries, especially during the Hundred Years War and the Thirty Years War, the abbey suffered badly because of military operations and pillage. By the 17th century, it was nothing much more than ruins. But the abbey was rebuilt, the work being completed around 1730. In 1738, the preserved 13th century parts of the abbey collapsed and it was necessary to construct a new church. The work began in 1741, to the plans of the architect Raoul Coignard. The internal decoration was entrusted to the Austrian sculptor Simon Pfaff of Pfaffenhoffen and to metal worker Jean-Baptiste Veyren. The new church was consecrated in 1756 and as early as 1790 became a national monument, thanks to the efforts of the lord of the manor of Argoules and so escaped further desecration.

Recent History

Abbaye Valloires réfectoire des moines

Monks refectory

In 1817, the abbey was handed into the care of the lay brotherhood of the Basilians, then in 1880 to the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul to be used as an orphanage. Sold again in 1906, it was classified as a historic monument, then abandoned. During the World War I it was transformed into a military hospital.
In 1922, it became a preventorium for children at the instigation of Thérèse Papillon, a young nurse.

Today the abbey is the property of an association founded in 1922. One part is devoted to the care of children in difficulty, the other is reserved for paying guests.

The Gardens of Valloires

04-06-12 Valloires- Abbaye de 01

The gardens and abbey of Valloires

Created in 1989 with a collection of over 4000 rare plants, the Jardins de Valloires cover an area of eight hectares. Laid out below the abbey, the gardens are split into three distinct parts:

  • An formal garden fin keeping with the abbey building
  • An English style garden, which contains the rare plant collection
  • A marsh wilderness garden.

Lenient Gilles, the famous landscape gardener was assigned to create the gardens. His ideas integrated the wild environment and the historic character of the place, but with little regard for the monastic garden style. Valloires is very much a contemporary garden.

The collection spans a huge variety of species, such as maple, spirea, deutzia, beech, plum and rare apple family members. Certain varieties are unique in Europe.

Recently, a new garden has been laid out, dedicated to the work of the naturalist Jean-Baptiste Lamarck, born in the Somme department in 1744.

External links

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