Abbaye Saint-André

In 1999 the owners of the site of the Abbey Saint-André celebrated the one thousandth anniversary of the founding of the abbey, since 999 was the year the abbey was officially recognized and approved by the Pope Grégoire V.

Actually the abbey was founded somewhat earlier than that, since it had already been endorsed in 982 by the Bishop of Avignon.

Abbey Saint-André

Four about four centuries this was an extremely rich and powerful abbey, with huge land holdings on the right bank of the Rhône and the revenues from over two hundred priories throughout the region of Languedoc–Provence.

In those days, being the Abbot of the Abbey Saint-André must have been the equivalent of being the CEO of a hedge-fund today — a way of becoming extremely rich at other people’s expense.

This did not go unnoticed at the time. In 1388 the inhabitants of Villeneuve lez Avignon refused to swear allegiance to the Abbot, who didn’t even live there and was in effect an absentee landlord.

Garden of the Abbey

The abbey went into a decline after that, but continued to exist until the French Revolution, when it was disbanded. On September 3, 1792, the monks were ordered to disperse. The abbey’s buildings were used for a while as a military hospital, then sold and for the most part demolished.

Avignon from the Abbey

Today the site of the abbey is private property, but the gardens and the remaining buildings are open to the public and are in good condition. As of 2019, the price of admission is seven Euros (or six Euros if you have an Avignon Pass).

My photos in this post are from 2014. I revised the text in 2019.

See more posts on Avignon and Villeneuve lez Avignon, France.

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