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.
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.
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.
Richard the Lionheart, King of England for 10 years, to die of a crossbow bolt wound whilst fighting in the Dordogne.
Isabelle of Angouleme, the wife of King John of England, lying next to her Brother in law Richard the Lionheart.
Stained Glass Window overlooking the recumbent sculptures.
Archway to chapter House, Detail from Arch below.
Chapter House Window
The Chapter House was the administrative centre, where the Abbess presided over the running of the Abbey.
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.
Abbey Kitchens. The spiky bits, reminiscent of Minarets, are the Chimneys.
Interior of Kitchen chimney.
15th Century Door Latch
Art Installation in Dormitory, which is currently being converted in to a hotel.
Art in Abbey Church. Symbolism not immediately obvious….luckily it was explained, as follows: