Fontevraud Abbey….Aliénor of Aquitaine

fontab

After Chateau Brézé we moved on to Fontevraud Abbey. Close to Saumur in the Loire valley, the Abbey is best known for its association with the Plantagenet monarchs of England.

plantagenets

These are the recumbent Plantagenets, medieval sculptures of Henry 2nd of England and  Eleanor of Aquitaine, his wife, in the second row and Richard the Lionheart their second son and Isabelle of Angouleme who was Eleanors daughter in law, the husband of her son King John, in the foreground.

alienorN
Eleanorplaque

Eleanor of Aquitaine, who knew a bit about marrying well, became the Queen of France when she married King Louis VII in 1137. She eventually forced her husband to agree to an annulment of the marriage on grounds of consanguinity.  Subsequently she married Count Henry of Anjou in 1152…he was shortly to become King of England. Henry was her third cousin (any worries about consanguinity must have evaporated) and nine years younger than her; she was to bear him 8 children, 3 of whom would become kings.
She was a powerful and politically active woman who was later to conspire with her son Henry against her husband, who had her imprisoned for 16 years. She was ultimately to outlive all her husbands and most of her children.

henry2
henry2plaque

Henry 2nd. Second husband of Eleanor, Father of Richard the Lionheart.
richard
richardplaque

Richard the Lionheart, King of England for 10 years, to die of a crossbow bolt wound whilst fighting in the Dordogne.

richard-and-isabelle

Isabelle of Angouleme, the wife of King John of England, lying next to her Brother in law Richard the Lionheart.

stainedglassN

Stained Glass Window overlooking the recumbent sculptures.

cloistersN

The cloisters.

archto

detailfromdoortochapterhouse

Archway to chapter House, Detail from Arch below.

windowN

Chapter House Window

The Chapter House was the administrative centre, where the Abbess presided over the running of the Abbey.

FloorN

The ornate Chapter House tiles commemorate the Bourbon family…Renee de Bourbon (RB) was Abbess from 1491 (at the age of 22) and ran the Abbey for 43 years, and was followed by Louise Bourbon, her niece.

kitchen

chimneys

Abbey Kitchens. The spiky bits, reminiscent of Minarets, are the Chimneys.

insidechimney

Interior of Kitchen chimney.

15cdoorlatch

15th Century Door Latch

art1

Art Installation in Dormitory, which is currently being converted in to a hotel.

forgottenpassion

Art in Abbey Church. Symbolism not immediately obvious….luckily it was explained, as follows:

rubric

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Rambling about Europe with the Kray Twins (Colin and Penny).

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Posted in - France, 2013 Autumn, Fontevraud, Pays-de-la-Loire
5 comments on “Fontevraud Abbey….Aliénor of Aquitaine
  1. Colin says:

    Are you still staying at the same site south of Saumur

  2. Jim Palmer says:

    Peter,

    Thanks once again, these blogs just get better and better ! Such a pity about our Henry VIII and Thomas Cromwell. It would be so exciting to have just one or two intact medieval monasteries. What a gal our Eleanor was ! I bet she was head of school, captain of hockey and all that before she began making a real CV. Where next ? Keep them coming,

    Jim

  3. I’m truly enjoying the design and layout of your website.
    It’s a very easy on the eyes which makes it much more enjoyable for me
    to come here and visit more often. Did you hire out a designer to create your theme?
    Exceptional work!

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Places Visited
Dordogne Guide
Our Guide to Bordeaux, the Médoc and the Dordogne

Our Dordogne Guide Book is now available. See motorhomefrance.com

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