Cîteaux Abbey, Saint-Nicolas-les-Cîteaux

The Abbaye de Cîteaux is a historically important abbey located in Saint-Nicolas-les-Cîteaux, south of Dijon, France. It is the mother house of the Cistercian monastic order, which is named for the abbey.


History of Cîteaux Abbey

The abbey was founded in 1098 under the rule of Saint Benedict by St. Robert of Molesme. Cîteaux Abbey's most famous monk is Bernard, later known as St. Bernard of Clairvaux, who left Cîteaux to found Clairvaux Abbey in 1115. St. Bernard's influence in the Cistercian order and throughout Christendom is of major importance. He reaffirmed the importance of strict observance to the rules of Saint Benedict.

The great church of Cîteaux, begun near 1140, was completed in 1193. The Dukes of Burgundy would later be buried there. The influence of the Cistercian Order flourished, thanks in large part to Saint Bernard, and at the beginning of the 13th century the order had more than 500 houses. In 1244, King Louis IX of France (St. Louis) and his mother Blanche of Castile visited the abbey.

During the Hundred Years' War, the monastery was pillaged in 1360, 1365, 1434 and 1438. The monks sought refuge in Dijon during these turbulent times. By the dawn of the 16th century, the abbey was once again a strong community of about 200. But the abbey was badly hit by the Wars of Religion, and then slowly declined for the next century. In 1698, the abbey only had 72 monks.

In 1791, during the French Revolution, the abbey was seized and sold by the government. In 1898, the remains of the abbey were bought back and it was once again repopulated by monks of other abbeys.

What to See at Cîteaux Abbey

Today, the abbey belongs to the Order of the Cistercians of the Strict Observance and has about 35 members. The monks, faithful to a tradition of manual work, sell their products to the public, which include the well reputed Cîteaux cheese, honey candies and caramels.

Quick Facts on Cîteaux Abbey

Site Information
Names:Cîteaux Abbey · Cîteaux Abbey
Categories:monasteries; abbeys
Faiths:Cistercian order
Status: active
Visitor and Contact Information
Coordinates:47.111939° N, 5.054172° E
Address:Saint-Nicolas-les-Cîteaux, France
Lodging:View hotels near Cîteaux Abbey
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Map of Cîteaux Abbey, Saint-Nicolas-les-Cîteaux

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