The Abbey of Thoronet

Cultural and historical site

duration of the visit
45 min
church
park

Along with Sénanque and Silvacane, Le Thoronet is one of the three major Cistercian monasteries in Provence. The monastery was founded in 1157, making it the youngest of the three. Almost completely abandoned before the revolution, the complex fell into disrepair until it was bought by the state in 1854.

Photo all rights reserved © by André M. Winter. Photo taken 2020 during our field research for Provence-Guide.Net.
No reproduction is permitted without the written consent of the author. (id2616)
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In front of the monastery church of Le Thoronet

The Cistercians avoided any pomp, the masonry is smooth and unadorned. The building is impressing through its arches and proportions only. Furniture is also missing today, only the church has benches.

Site history

The location was not the monks' first choice. In 1136 they founded the Abbaye de Florièyes monastery near Tourtour. If they had stayed there, the first monastery in Provence would now be there. Despite numerous donations, the site cannot be used successfully and so the monks move to its current location.

Here the monastery flourished quite quickly, and in 1312 it also took over the grounds and goods of the dissolved Templar Order. Nevertheless, the descent begins as early as the 14th century. Disputes in the order and the religious wars are bad for the community. In 1787 the monastery came under the authority of the Bishop of Digne-les-Bains. In the year of the revolution, only seven friars are present. They live miserably in the ruins.

The restoration begins in the second half of the 19th century. It is done in sections, but not all parts of the facility could be erected again.

Description

The church, the monastery garden and the monks' dormitory are executed in a particularly fine way. The style remains Romanesque throughout.

The monastery bears the name of the village further east. However, the village was only created after the construction of the monastery.

All main areas can be visited. These are the church, the monastery garden, the chapter house, the dormitory, the pantry and the ruins of the lay brothers' compound. All of these parts of the building were erected by the end of the 12th century.

In principle, access is open all year round. April - September 10h - 18h30, October - March 10h - 13h and 14h - 17h. Entrance fee 2022: EUR8,- and joint ticket with the cloister of Fréjus EUR11,-. Admission is free every first Sunday of the month. The website of the Abbaye du Thoronet lists current opening times and prices.

The village of Le Thoronet has little public access and the monastery is over an hour's walk west of it.

Photo all rights reserved © by André M. Winter. Photo taken 2020 during our field research for Provence-Guide.Net.
No reproduction is permitted without the written consent of the author. (id2624)
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Apse of the monastery church of Le Thoronet

Access by car

Le Thoronet is north of the A8 motorway, between Brignoles and Le Luc.

From Brignoles you drive through Vins-sur-Caramy and you come to the Lac de Carcès reservoir. Here at first follow the indications to Cabasse, but at the next crossroads we go to Le Thoronet. After less than three kilometers through a sparse forest, we come to the monastery car park. It is imperative that you head for it if you want to visit it.

From the Le Luc exit, at the roundabout after the tollbooth, take the exit for Le Thoronet. After a while you cross the said village and then follow the arrows to the monastery car park. It is a few kilometers west of the village.

Photo all rights reserved © by André M. Winter. Photo taken 2020 during our field research for Provence-Guide.Net.
No reproduction is permitted without the written consent of the author. (id2674)
sites photo

Sunbeams penetrate through a church window

Parking site

The car park is quite large and can be used free of charge. It is west of the monastery and on the opposite side of the street. A zebra crossing makes passing easier. A paved footpath leads to the ticket offices.

Picnic tables have been set up around the parking lot.

Photo all rights reserved © by André M. Winter. Photo taken 2020 during our field research for Provence-Guide.Net.
No reproduction is permitted without the written consent of the author. (id2675)
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Abbaye du Thoronet

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Photo all rights reserved © by André M. Winter. Photo taken 2020 during our field research for Provence-Guide.Net.
No reproduction is permitted without the written consent of the author. (id2679)
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Walk around the monastery garden

Photo all rights reserved © by André M. Winter. Photo taken 2020 during our field research for Provence-Guide.Net.
No reproduction is permitted without the written consent of the author. (id2680)
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Arcades of the monastery garden

Photo all rights reserved © by André M. Winter. Photo taken 2020 during our field research for Provence-Guide.Net.
No reproduction is permitted without the written consent of the author. (id2700)
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The monastery garden in winter

Photo all rights reserved © by André M. Winter. Photo taken 2020 during our field research for Provence-Guide.Net.
No reproduction is permitted without the written consent of the author. (id2704)
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Fountain in the monastery garden

Photo all rights reserved © by André M. Winter. Photo taken 2020 during our field research for Provence-Guide.Net.
No reproduction is permitted without the written consent of the author. (id2711)
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Chapter house of the le Thoronet monastery

Photo all rights reserved © by André M. Winter. Photo taken 2020 during our field research for Provence-Guide.Net.
No reproduction is permitted without the written consent of the author. (id2745)
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The monks' dormitory in Le Thoronet

Photo all rights reserved © by André M. Winter. Photo taken 2020 during our field research for Provence-Guide.Net.
No reproduction is permitted without the written consent of the author. (id2606)
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The monastery church of Le Thoronet

Note

The information about this site was collected with the greatest care in 2020. Nevertheless, all information is provided without guarantee. Should you find any errors, please contact the author of this site, thank you!

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