Photographer's Note

Together with Said (didi) we did a visit to the huge former abbaye of Frontfroide. Also part of my interest in the Cathar history a 'must' to visit. As it has been private owned since app. 1908 - and even with honour to their restauration works there is no doubt that the abbaye today is a 'tourist-trap', high priced to visit and with a restaurant in the lead pricewise.

The grey weather during our visit made it actual again to use the HDR tech in an attempt to avoid the washed out sky. This presentation of the abbaye is shot from the first floor overlooking the tower and inner garden. 3 photos bracketed, combined in Photomatix, PP in Paintshop pro.

History of the Abbey of Fontfroide
The Abbey of Fontfroide was founded as a Benedictine abbey in 1093 and affiliated with the Cistercians in 1145. Construction on the church began soon after.

The cloisters and chapter house date from the 12th century and are excellent examples of Romanesque architecture. The monastery flourished and soon became a center of orthodoxy.

However, construction of Fontfroide was temporarily interrupted by the turmoil of the Cathar wars. It was the murder in 1208 of Pierre de Castelnau, a Fontfroide monk and legate to Pope Innocent III, that led to the Albigensian Crusade.

After peace was restored, construction on Fontfroide Abbey continued. The influence of Fontfroide soon dominated the entire region, all the way to Catalonia, and a daughter monastery was founded in Poblet.

Two Fontfroide monks in particular gained great fame: Arnaud Nouvel was appointed cardinal, chancellor of the church and eventually papal legate in the proceedings against the Templars. Another Fontfroide monk became Pope Benoìt XII.

In 1348, the Black Death reached Fontfroide Abbey and three-quarters of the monks were lost. In 1476, the wealthy monastery was put under prebend.

In the 17th and 18th centuries, abbots of Fontfroide rebuilt many of the monastic buildings and added new features including an orange grove, terraced garden, an elegant wall in the courtyard, and a large gate.

The last of the monks left Fontfroide in 1791, but the abbey was not damaged during the Revolution. In 1858 it became a functioning abbey once again when a small community of monks from Sénaque moved in.


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Additional Photos by Jack R Johanson (jrj) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 4529 W: 494 N: 7430] (34843)
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