Saint-Benoit-sur-Loire Abbey, Loire Valley
Discover Saint-Benoit-sur-Loire Abbey
Saint-Benoit-sur-Loire is on the Loire river in the Loiret department, to the south-east of Orléans. It is the abbey that dominates the village that is the main reason visitors come here.
Abbey of Saint-Benoit-sur-Loire
Note: the abbey is more correctly referred to as the Abbey de Fleury
Dating from the 11th century (and built on the site of an even older religious edifice that had been destroyed) the Abbey of Saint-Benoit-sur-Loire is one of the best examples of Roman style churches in France and contains numerous features of interest.
Start with the Tour Porche, a perfectly proportioned 11th century building that has open archways surrounded by decorative stone around the ground level, and some attractively carved capital stones and engravings.
The north entrance has the most impressive individual stone carving at the abbey, with Christ at the centre, surrounded by the four evangelists and with his hand raised in blessing to the pilgrims that once passed through this entrance to the church. The central carving is surounded by further representations of angels and apostles.
Inside the large abbey church the main highlights are the decorative mosaic floor around the altar, and the many ornately carved capital stones that adorn the columns (when looking at these recall that originally they would all have been painted in bright colours, even if the paint has largely disappeared today).
There is also an important medieval carving in alabaster of the Virgin and child inside the church.
Beneath the church, the original 12th century crypt still contains the relics and shrine of Saint-Benoit, originally brought here by monks in the 7th century.
Following the revolution it became illegal for monks to establish their communities in France. However a group of benedictine monks re-established themselves here in 1944 and are still in residence.
The houses in the region of Saint-Benoit-sur-Loire around the abbey also create an attractive ensemble.
Map of Saint-Benoit-sur-Loire Abbey and places to visit
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Address: Saint-Benoit-sur-Loire, Sully-sur-Loire, Orleans, Loiret, Loire Valley, 45270, France || GPS: latitude 47.81, longitude 2.306
Sightseeing & tourist attractions to visit nearby
- Abbaye de Saint Benoît sur Loire (Saint-Benoit-sur-Loire Abbey): religious monument
- Arboretum des grandes bruyères: remarkable garden (21km)
- Quiers-sur-Bezonde: ville fleurie 4* (23km)
- Saint-Cyr-en-Val: ville fleurie 4* (25km)
- Eglise de Notre Dame (Boiscommun): religious monument (26km)
- Parc Floral de la Source: remarkable garden (28km)
- Orleans: town of art and history (31km)
- Fleury-les-Aubrais: ville fleurie 4* (32km)