Abbaye de Reigny

2013 Grant of $15,000—Philadelphia and Dallas Chapters

The Abbey of Reigny, located between Vezélay and Chablis, is a former Cistercian abbey situated on 14 hectares in Burgundy. Founded in 1128 on a former Gallo-Roman site by Father Etienne Toucy under the authority of St. Bernard, the Abbey of Reigny was put under the protection of Pope Eugene III in 1147. As of 1370 the abbey came under the protection of the King of France, Charles V. Although powerful and prosperous in the Middle Ages, welcoming up to 300 monks and brothers, the abbey has witnessed the vicissitudes of history.

In 1493 Charles VIII made it a Royal Foundation. The Hundred Years' War, the Wars of Religion and the French Revolution saw the destruction of portions of the abbey. However, it has retained remarkable buildings: the exceptional 14th-century Cistercian refectory (there are only three such examples in France), the hall and the monks' dormitory from the 18th century and redeveloped in 1925 when Coco Chanel and the Duke of Westminster stayed there. The foundations of the church can still be made out despite the demolished buildings. The entire Cistercian hydraulic system has also been preserved. For today's travellers, rooms were created in this former Cistercian abbey and breakfasts are served in the elegant 18th-century salons or in the garden. Since 2005, the current owners, who live at the abbey with their children, have undertaken an ambitious restoration and development program to bring the abbey back to life. It is open to the public for visits, concerts, exhibitions, receptions, weddings, and a bed and breakfast. A well-known musical festival takes place there every year.

Restoration: Windows of the church