Abbaye Notre-Dame de Senanque, an iconic abbey

The Abbaye Notre-Dame de Senanque is one of the most photographed sites in the Luberon Valley!

Abbaye Notre-Dame de Senanque
Abbaye Notre-Dame de Senanque

You’ll indeed find thousands of postcards of the abbey with its spectacular field of lavender.

The Bishop of Cavaillon founded the Cistercian Abbey in 1148 near the perched village of Gordes.

The Abbaye Notre-Dame de Senanque indeed overlooks a small valley, surrounded by lavender, fragrant pines and olive trees.

For centuries, it provided shelter to a small monastic community, who followed the rigid discipline of the Cistercian order.

Their abbey thrived in the 13th and 14th centuries, as it operated 4 mills, 7 granges and owned large estates in Provence.

These became state property at the French Revolution, the monks were expelled and the abbey was sold.

Abbaye Notre-Dame de Senanque
Abbaye Notre-Dame de Senanque

The revival of the Abbaye Notre-Dame de Senanque

In 1858 a new Cistercian order returned, however, eventually left in 1908.

The Abbaye Notre-Dame de Senanque remained vacant until 1998, when a small group of Cistercian monks returned.

They have remained there since, tending lavender and bees in order to earn a living.

They also propose a tour of the Abbey, and relate the long and interesting history of the place.

Department of Vaucluse
Coordinates: Lat 43.928282 – Long 5.186656

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