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The abbeys

The Caux-Seine Valley area contains two superb abbeys – Notre Dame du Voeux, or Valasse, Abbey, and Fontenelle Abbey at Saint-Wandrille-Rançon which still houses a community of Benedictine Monks. These two gems of the region’s heritage are without a doubt well worth a visit!


Le cloître de l'abbaye de Fontenelle

The cloister at Fontenelle Abbey

Fontenelle Abbey, Saint-Wandrille-Rançon

This is a living abbey, where life moves to the rhythm of Gregorian chants. The current community belongs to the Solesmes congregation which follows St Benedict’s rule: “To live by the work of one’s hands”. Before leaving, take the opportunity to visit the shop, which sells monastic handicrafts such as bees’ wax, jams and their delicious ginger bread. The abbey was founded in the Fontenelle Valley in 649 by St Wandrille and is one of the oldest religious establishments in the Seine Valley area. Like many abbeys, it has experienced varying prosperity throughout its history. It was re inhabited by monks at the end of the 1800s  after having been sold off as a national asset during the Revolution. You can be guided by a Benedictine monk around the gothic cloister with its recently renovated windows, the vaulted wooden refectory and the wonderful Romanesque chapel of St Saturnin.




Fontenelle Abbey

76490 Saint-Wandrille-Rançon

+33 (0)2 35 96 23 11


Perron sud de l'Abbaye du Valasse

The south porch, Valasse Abbey

Valasse Abbey came into being due to two pious vows. On returning from the Second Crusade in 1149, the Count of Meulan wished to establish an abbey, following a vow which he had previously made. He donated some land which had belonged to his wife, Agnès de Montfort, at la Haye-de-Lintot. Meanwhile, the Empress Mathilde, granddaughter of William the Conqueror, had also vowed to build an abbey, so the Archbishop of Rouen asked them to combine their two vows into one project. Pope Adrian IV carried out the abbey’s investiture on the 18th of February 1156, and it was affiliated with that of Montremer. Richard de Blosseville was the first of a succession of 40 abbots over a period of 635 years. The original abbey was completely destroyed by the English in 1437 and was subsequently rebuilt using stone from quarries at nearby Gruchet. During the Revolution, the monks were dispersed and the buildings bought by a merchant from Le Havre. The abbey itself became barracks, before being demolished in 1810. The property was then bought in 1831 by a family of industrialists from Bolbec named Fauquet-Lemaitre. During WWII it was used as a cavalry depot and veterinary hospital. Later, from 1959 to 1984, it was home to the Lillebonne dairy.

Now owned by the municipality and managed by the local agglomaration authority, the abbey hosts both private and public events, while its parkland is open to the public all year round and its tea-rooms from April to September.



Valasse Abbey

76210 Gruchet-le-Valasse

+33 (0)2 32 84 64 64

Tourist Office of Caux Vallée de Seine

Tourist Office of Caux Vallée de Seine - Maison de l'intercommunalité allée du Catillon - 76170 Lillebonne - Normandie - France

+33 (0)2 32 70 46 32