Abbaye de St Philibert

  Monday, June 1, 2015 / Stephanie / Exploration  

At the town of Tournus, we found a great pontoon managed by Pavillon Saone (a boat hire company).  There is no charge for a 36-hour stay at this pontoon, including electric and water hook-ups, so long as priority is given to Pavillon Saone boats to dock.  There is also a town quay with rings that would have sufficied nicely if the pontoon were full, as we did not require any services.  This was convienent access to the lovely town of Tournus!  Here we visited the Tourism Office to obtain an audio tour for the Abbaye de St Philibert.  The abbey itself was fantastic, yet the audio tour brought it to life!  The abbey was founded by a group of monks who had been driven from their island by invading Normans during the 9th century.  Relics of the monks' patron saint, Philibert, are still housed in the church's choir. The abbey was constructed from a beautiful, pink sandstone.  It's interior is bright, filled with light protruding through contemporary stained-glass windows.  The monks welcomed pilgrams through the main hall and into the church.  Above the church was a private chapel for the monks' access for prayer and contemplation.  They lived a simple, dedicated life within the walls of the abbey.   The crypt of l'Abbaye de St Philibert is unique because the entire crypt is above ground; in the photograph below the crypt extends out the back of the church.  Inside, visitors are able to walk through the entire crypt.    The courtyard of l'Abbaye de St Philibert would have been entirely walled closed during the monks' time.  Now, the courtyard has been opened and visitors are able to walk from town into the abbey via the courtyard.  The abbey buildings are now used as the town's library as well as several shops.  The abbey often houses art exhibitions in the room where the monks would have retreated several times daily for prayer.   During our abbey tour we remained dry during a downpour of rain; one of several throughout the overcast day.  Afterward we chatted with a very friendly and knowledgable woman at the Tourism Office.  I informed her that my first abbey tour was spectacular!  Then, we were able to stroll through town and locate the bakery on our way back to Detour.  Another rain shower passed through but we had made it home and were nice and dry inside while we enjoyed warm baguettes, baked goat's cheese, and wine.