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Photo of Fontenay Abbey

Monks' Dormitory

The monks' dormitory in Fontenay Abbey, northern Burgundy. The Cistercian monks slept communally on straw mattresses, separated by low partitions. They slept fully dressed, both for warmth (the room was not heated) and to be ready for midnight services. It has a beautiful roof of hand-hewn beams of Spanish chestnut, dating from the late 15th century. Fontenay Abbey was founded by St Bernard of Clairvaux in 1118 and mostly completed by 1200.

Photo © David Joyal.

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