Abbaye de Valloires is a 12th century Cistercian abbey situated in the commune of Argoules in the Somme department of France.The abbey is located 200 kms North of Paris, 100kms South of Calais.
In 1138, Guy II of Ponthieu agreed with Cistercian monks to the foundation of their seventh abbey in France. The monks established themselves at Valloires in the valley of the Authie river in 1158 AD. At the height of its prosperity, in the 12th and 13th centuries, the abbey was home to about one hundred monks. The abbey’s wealth allowed the construction of the first abbey in the rib-vaulted style as early as 1226.
In the following centuries, especially during the Hundred Years War and the Thirty Years War, the abbey suffered badly because of military operations and pillage. By the 17th century, it was nothing much more than ruins. But the abbey was rebuilt, the work being completed around 1730. In 1738, the preserved 13th century parts of the abbey collapsed and it was necessary to construct a new church. The work began in 1741, to the plans of the architect Raoul Coignard. The internal decoration was entrusted to the Austrian sculptor Simon Pfaff of Pfaffenhoffen and to metal worker Jean-Baptiste Veyren. The new church was consecrated in 1756 and as early as 1790 became a national monument during the Revolution , thanks to the efforts of the lord of the manor of Argoules and so escaped further desecration.
In 1817, the abbey was handed into the care of the lay brotherhood of the Basilians, then in 1880 to the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul to be used as an orphanage. Sold again in 1906, it was classified as a historic monument, then abandoned. During the World War I it was transformed into a Belgium military hospital.
In 1922, it became a preventorium for children at the instigation of Thérèse Papillon, a Red-Cross nurse.
Today the abbey is the property of a private non profit association founded in 1922. One part is devoted to services for the elderly on the grounds and the second part to foster children in difficulty, after being rescued from terrible home circumstances of abuse, neglect…
As to maintain such support, the Association de Valloires opens up its abbey from March to November for paid visits. You can admire the oak wood panelling in the sacristy, in the Louis XV rocaille style, and the Baroque church (gallery, superb grating in the chancel)
At the same time, 18th century suites-rooms are opened all year round.Thus you have a breath-taking view on the gardens.
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