Flaran Abbey

Valence-sur-Baïse
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Flaran Abbey
The Abbey of Flaran is a remarkable site in the Gers. More than a magnificent religious monument, it is also a witness of Gers medieval history and an architectural ensemble representative of Cistercian art. Since the 1980s, it has hosted an art center with an impressive collection of works of art. To make you discover it in all its facets, tours are suitable for all ages and you will surely find what you are looking for. Finally, you will enjoy walking around this natural bubble, made up of a charming cloister and a large park.


Photos of the article : @ Guide du Gers


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The Abbey of Flaran, a turbulent history in the heart of the Middle Ages

The Abbey of Flaran was founded in 1151. At that time, the Cistercian order was growing in Europe. It is an order created in reaction to the excesses of the Cluniac order. The excessiveness of the Cluniac buildings and their rapprochement with the State no longer meet the requirements of the rule of Saint-Benoît. The Cistercian order is born from a desire to return strictly to the Christian vows of humility, poverty and charity. Manual work is part of the daily life of the monks, who apply themselves to valuing the lands of the Church, which are granted to them.

The establishment of the Abbey of Flaran on the banks of the Baïse, in a green and rich valley of the Gers, in the wine-growing region of Armagnac, therefore meets this objective. In addition, the initial construction was more modest than today. It was built on the land of the Benedictine Abbey of Condom, which was ceded to the Cistercian order. It has a large area and to protect certain neighboring inclinations, it is fortified in the 13th century.

Flaran Abbey

Flaran Abbey

Entrance to the Abbey of Flaran

History did not spare him. It suffered damage during the Hundred Years War, a fire during the Wars of Religion. It is sold during the Revolution. It is then transformed into a grain barn and a cellar for Armagnac. It will be fully restored 18th century to meet the needs of the community with a new dormitory and dining hall.

In 1970, a fire destroyed the abbey, which was to be bought and restored by the department of Gers. Since 2000, it has housed the Departmental Heritage and Museum Conservatory, which offers many activities. In 2004, an art center was set up there around pieces from the “ Simonow ” collection.

Flaran Abbey

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A gem of Cistercian architecture

The Abbey of Flaran is one of the remarkable religious sites, even if it is not strictly speaking part of the Ways of Saint-Jacques-de-Compostelle. Nevertheless, it is a very popular detour for pilgrims, which is located near the episcopal city of Condom.

In keeping with Cistercian art, the architecture of the buildings is of majestic purity. It is organized around its church, in Romanesque style. The outbuildings are at the heart of Cistercian ethics and they allow manual activities to be carried out, which bring the abbey to life: stables, cellars, a henhouse and a garden of simple for care and cooking.

Flaran Abbey

Flaran Abbey

The spaces will be redeveloped over the centuries and today they represent an architectural ensemble of different eras, which extends over 2000 m². The Gothic cloister and chapter house date from the 14th century, but some galleries are rebuilt in the 15th century. The refectory, dormitory and the abbey house, including prior of the apartments are restored in the 18th century. It still includes all of its buildings, which makes it one of the best-preserved abbeys in the South-West.

Flaran Abbey

Flaran Abbey

An exceptional collection of works of art and unusual tours

The visit allows you to visualize the organization of the abbey and to know its history. You will understand the life of the Cistercian community there. Another part of the museum is on the theme of the ways of Compostela.

In the former monks' dormitory, the Abbey of Flaran brings together remarkable works, signed by renowned artists : Cézanne, Renoir, Matisse, Picasso, Monet, Braque… They come from the “ Simonow ” collection. They allow you to admire the artistic evolution from the 16th to 20th century. You will also see temporary exhibitions of ancient or contemporary art, classical music concerts and many other activities. In addition to the permanent collection, it hosts temporary exhibitions. The site also provides an archaeological and scientific mission for the “ Museums of France ”.

During school holidays, the emphasis is on fun, child- friendly tours. A space is reserved for them, with coloring workshops, to represent and share, through their drawings, their understanding of the exhibition. A game booklet allows them to visit the abbey, while having fun.

Flaran Abbey

Flaran Abbey  Flaran Abbey

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Cooking workshops or on specific themes allow you to discover the abbey from different and unusual angles. To attract all audiences, the site sets up pricing conditions for young people and certain Sundays of the year. Regular and varied activities make it one of the most visited sites in the Gers.

A cloister and surrounding gardens

The herb garden was an essential pole in the abbey of the Middle Ages. Plants were used to decorate the dishes served to the monks as well as to treat the sick. In a spirit of preservation and transmission, it was interesting to reconstruct this medieval monastic garden.

The abbey is located in the heart of a park, which extends to the banks of the Baïse. It is a good opportunity to stroll along the water and in a preserved environment. In the surrounding area, you can also take advantage of the Armagnac vineyards for walks and wine tours.

We hope that these few information made you want to visit the Abbey of Flaran during your next vacation in the Gers.

Flaran Abbey

Flaran Abbey  Flaran Abbey

Flaran Abbey

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