Abbaye royale de La Bénisson-Dieu
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La Bénisson-Dieu, thirteenth daughter of Clairvaux, was founded in 1138 during the medieval cistercian rising.
A flabbergasting faith expansion leant La Bénisson-Dieu Abbey to be one of the most important in the Forez Squired. It competited with its neighbors Charlieu and Noailly who belonged to the rival clunisian movment.
The Earls of Forez gave to the abbey most of its properties such as lands, forests and special exceptional tax benefits.
The abbey counted something like up 5000 monks, owning a lot of lands, priviledges and consideration.
By the end of the fifteenth century, the abbey appeared as particularly rich as the 100 years war wars changed the deal. It's status changed. From that time, abbotts where assigned "commendataires" and no longer for their religious merits. Pierre de la Fin leveraged the architecture of the church by adding a defensive tower.
By the end of the religions war, end of the 16th century, the abbey was about completely ruined.
In 1612, Marquis Philibert of Nérestang obtained from King Henry the 4th the permission to swap the La Bénisson-Dieu Abbey with the Megemont Abbey where his daughter Françoise was abbess.
The monks leaved La Bénisson-Dieu and where replaced by the Megemont Abbey nuns.
Françoise of Nérestang made the main abbey buildings rebuilt. She appeared as a great mystic leader at this period.
She ordered and settled down the baroque Lady side chapel (1651).
In 1791, the French Revolution pushed out the nuns and the abbey was closed.
Most of the buildings where destroyed, but the church remained about unchanged from the Françoise de Nérestang period.
The church may be visited at any period, but not during services. The tourist information center is open from April to September. At that time, visitors may attend at the church special nightshow. Information/reservation : Phone +33 126.96.36.199.65.
In addition, the local "Abbey Friends Association" organizes many events, concerts and exhibition. You may also order special History books describing different parts of the La Bénisson-Dieu history: Phone : +188.8.131.52.62.61.
Special links for english speaking visitors
Special credits to sirs Francis Godinot and Bernard Christophe for their contribution
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