...des églises, abbayes, et cathédrales ! Here's another one: Pontigny. It's just north of the small city of Auxerre and the wine village of Chablis. The village of Pontigny has a population of about 750. It's in the northern part of Burgundy — Bourgogne [boor-GUH-nyuh] in French.
The Abbaye de Pontigny [ah-bay-EE duh põ-tee-NYEE] is a Cistercian institution. The Cistercians are a Christian monastic order that was founded in the year 1098 at the abbey church in the village called Saint-Nicolas-de-Cîteaux, also in Burgundy and just south of Dijon. The Latin name for Cîteaux is Cistercium.
Over the centuries, there were about 340 Cistercian abbeys in Europe. A couple of years ago, CHM and I visited one just south of the city of Bourges, not very far east of Saint-Aignan. It's called Noirlac and here are three links (one, two, three) to posts about it, with photos.
When it came to architecture and life style, the early Cistercians were purists. They rejected the worldliness of the medieval church. Their buildings and the decoration were plain and simple. The Cistercians were also workers and builders. They grew food crops — their motto was "the cross and the plow" — and they figured out how to channel streams and build irrigation systems. They grew, bred, and improved plants, and they ended up owning a lot of land and selling a lot of food. They too got rich.
I'm not getting rich writing this, so I'll stop. I have to do my U.S. taxes this morning! The deadline for Americans living outside the U.S., or anyone who happens to be out of the country on April 15, is June 15. I've put it off as long as I can.
Enjoy the pictures of the abbey church at Pontigny. Know that Thomas Beckett took refuge here for two years (1165-66) when he was in exile. It's a beautiful place just on the edge of a small village, out in the fields.