Photographer's Note

Founded in the 10th century, the abbey received its present form some hundered years later.

Few eremits started the construction on a rock surrounded by swamps, which they dried out later.

As the coastline was much closer at that time, the abbey looks more like a castle; it was nescessarily to protect against pirates.

In the 12th century Montmajour became famous; a splinter of the cross was present in the abbey, thus thousands of pilgrims 'overflooded' the abbey. For 1409 it was reported, 150,000 pilgrims came to honour the splinter and to make donations in order to receive the “Pardon de Montmajour”. For this purpose, the Chapelle Sainte-Croix was built. The relic had now its own place for worshipping.

The strict life after the rules of monk abbey life decreased with the end of the Middle Ages and the decadence started with the increasing influence and richness.

It was quite common in 17th century, that kings and popes served themselves in the abbey when needing some money...

Montmajour became a fief for usless cardinals, of course the never showed up in this place. The decay went on.

In the 18th century the building collapsed partly, due to lack of attention and supervision, when Cardinal de Rohan became involved in a scandal concerning the famous necklace of Marie-Antoinette.

During the french revolution, only few monks still lived in the abbey.

The sold out and the use as a stone quarry started, which could not stopped before 1872, when restauration started.

The 12th century church of the abbey is one of the greatest romanesque churches in the Provence. Impressive: A never completed nave, considered one of the masterpieces of romanesque art, the crypt, above ground showing five radiating chapels.

A visit of the abbey offers you a wonderful view of the surrounding countryside.

Van Gogh was one ot the 'fans' of Montmajour too:
Amsterdam Van Gogh museum: La Crau, seen from Montmajour
British museum: Landscape at Montmajour with a train.

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Additional Photos by Knut Thieme (HOBO) Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 836 W: 29 N: 1057] (5282)
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