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Abbaye de Sénanque, Gordes, Provence, France

A few kilometers away from Gordes you can find the Notre-Dame de Sénanque Abbey (Abbaye Notre-Dame de Sénanque), a place well known around the world. A really distinctive buildings, in front of them you can see a lavender fields which decorates a lot of tourist guides and travel books.

The access and parking at Sénanque Abbey

The abbey is located a few kilometers away from Gordes. If you want to go there from Gordes, you have to move the road D177, which at some point becomes a one-way road (12). Once it was a two-way road, but due to its width and location on the slope it could cause serious problems when a coach with tourists appeared from the opposite side. In this case you had even to go back to special place where you could pass the larger vehicle. Because it is a one-way road, it's not possible to go to Gorges on the same route, so you have to make a loop on D177, and then to turn on the D244 and D15 (231), which allow us to get to Gordes from the other side. At the abbey there is a large, free parking lot, where you can park the car (2; GPS: 43.931273, 5.188968).

The prices and visiting

Notre-Dame de Sénanque is a Cistercian abbey founded in 1148. During the Wars of Religion, in 1544, some buildings were destroyed by Waldensians, and the abbey fell into decline. At the end of the 17th century there were only 2 monks in the abbey, but at the beginning of the 18th century the south wing of the abbey has been reconstructed. At the French Revolution the abbey's area was nationalized and sold. In 1854 abbey has been again settled by 72 monks. In years 1870-1940 and 1969-1988 abbey was closed. Since 1988 it is again used and can be visited.

Normal ticket price is 7,5 €. Students pay 5 €, children aged 6 to 18 years 3,5 €. Visiting without a guide is also possible, but you must move in small groups and keep quiet. There are however specified times when you can visit the abbey without a guide - when we visited this place it was the forenoon hours (9:45 - 11:00), but this may change - always check in advance the details on the website of the abbey.

Since the abbey is inhabited by monks, we do not have access to all rooms. You can visit the following places:

  • surroundings of the abbey, including the beautiful lavender fields,
  • the dormitory - the room where the monks slept,
  • the interior of the monastery church,
  • the inner courtyard with beautiful cloisters,
  • the chapter house - a meeting place for the monks,
  • the scriptorium - the place used to prescribe books (the only heated room in the abbey).

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