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Abbaye d'Ardenne | by DameBoudicca
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Abbaye d'Ardenne

ⓒRebecca Bugge, All Rights Reserved

Do not use without permission.


This abbey is situated just outside the small town of Saint-Germain-la-Blanche-Herbe. It was founded in the 12th century, first with a chapel and in 1138 a church was consecrated here by the bishop of Baueyx, Richard III of Kent. At first it was connected to the abbey of La Lucerne, but became an independent abbey in 1160 and during the next hundred years a great monastery was built. In 1230 the roof collapsed over the church choir killing 26, including the abbot.


The 15th and 16th century were hard on the monastery, with war and religious conflicts (several times the monks had to take refuge Caen). But after the Hundred Years Wars the place saw intense rebuilding at the site.


Still the monastery continued to decline, up until the end of the 17th century - in the 18th century things turned around, and for example they owned quite a lot of the mills in the region. But this of course all came to an end with the revolution of 1789. The monks had to leave and afterwards the territory belonging to the abbey was turned into three farms - the historic value of the place not recognized until 1918 (but still divided between three different owners).


The place was very badly damaged in the second world war, and it wasn't until the 1990s that proper renovation and reconstructions were made to preserve the place. This was done by the architects Bruno and Agnes Decaris Pontremoli, who for example chose to completely change the interior or the church (it is now a library) but keep the exterior as it must have originally looked. The abbey is now the home of Institut mémoires de l'édition contemporaine (IMEC).

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Taken on May 19, 2011