This week’s micro-adventure was to the small community of St. Genis des Fontaines. Specifically we went to see the 8th century Abbaye St. Genis des Fontaines, a Benedictine abbey which was part of the kingdom of Aragon when the Catalan people lived and ruled this area. Built between 778 and 780 AD it is dedicated to the martyr Saint Genis (303 AD).
This little abbey was destroyed by Norman looters in the 11th century and rebuilt throughout the medieval period, including architectural evolution of the 12th century church ceiling vault and the 13th century cloister construction.
In 1507 it was united with the larger Catalonian abbey of Montserrat, also a Benedictine abbey, near Barcelona. This alliance is what caused its decline in the 16th century during the French Wars of Religion. It became French governed under the Treaty of the Pyrenees in 1659, when the northern kingdom of Aragon was turned over to France.
Only seven monks remained when it was finally closed during the French Revolution. It remained empty until 1850, when the church became a village parish once more. The abbey and cloisters, sold off in 1924, were finally returned to the parish in 1995.
The abbey has lovely Roman origins and though some parts are still privately owned or still in need of restoration, we certainly found a lot to see in this small, but lovely, little abbey.
The entrance fee also included an art exposition. Most of the photos included in the expo had been taken in Cerbere and Port Vendres in France and Port Bou in Spain. We recognized them immediately and appreciated the artists unique angles having just done photos in this areas recently ourselves.
The town itself had only a handful of businesses, but we still managed to find a place to grab a cup on coffee while waiting for the abbey to open and lunch (mushroom, bacon and cheese quiche) at the little boulangerie as the restaurants were not yet open and we wanted a quick bite before heading home on the bus.
The photos below are mine, Alan posted his to Facebook!