Saturday, October 14, 2017

France: Abbaye de Royaumont

The Abbaye de Royumont, located 30km north of Paris near Asnières-sur-Oise. The design of the entrance was well constructed to attract visitors and novices alike.

Staring at the main building of the Royoumont Abby down the alley of trees that forms its entrance is an instantaneous narcotic for the soul. Staring at the well placed trees will slow your breathing. When I last visited I swayed restlessly from side to side trance-like. Was this real, or was it jet lag? For a moment life in the 15th Century did not seem so brutal and cruel. Silence oozed from the rocks. If one had to spend an entire life in one spot, one could hardly do worse.

The cloistered hallways were open airy, and filled with the rustling of leaves.

A glimpse across the square. The garden was still bare dirt.

My reveries were instantly shattered, however, upon the arrival of two enfants terrible who raced up behind me shrieking with youthful exuberance. They began throwing stones into the pool. The ripples they caused raced across the water and into my psyche. Time to move on. I managed to stay ahead of them as I toured the grounds. The central cloister garden was torn up and under construction, but he vaulted corridors surrounding them were there. The ghosts of monks long dead rustled in the damp spring air along with a few leaves, dried and forgotten in the corners.

Medieval tiles on the floor of the old refractory
Part of the ruins of the old cathedral. Just out of view to the left is what is left of the tower. It looks like it was cut in half with a dull knife.
Besides the corridors, there are two main rooms, one of which is the dining hall for the monks. It has huge vaulted ceilings, a large organ for when the room was converted to a church, and replicated medieval floor tiles. It was chilly and beautiful at the same time. It is hard to imagine this place of worship being turned into a Grist Mill, but it was. The main entryway was where the wheel was located. The nuns, who later took over the building, tried to restore it sacredness by repairing walls but placards show where various industrial machines were located.

Wandering around the back side of the complex. Birds were singing merrily away, but spring had yet to come with its greenery.

In one corner of the building is a small tearoom. After exhausting myself strolling slowing about, I required a pastry and tea to fortify myself. It is possible that the monks might have enjoyed such indulgences but I gave silent thanks to the modern era, strawberries, crème, and the wonders of international travel.

2 comments:

~Cheryl said...

How very beautiful! That's quite a contrast: monk ghosts to exuberant children! Glad you found some tea and pastry as a reward.

Linda said...

I share your shudder about the rackety children (and that's as a parent). The floor tiles are fascinating. If you took away all our modern technology and we had to start again from scratch, how hard pressed we'd be to create something like this.

Glad you were revived by tea and patisserie!