The first sight of the remains of the immense abbey church, in its verdant setting in a meander of the Seine, is unforgettable. A major cultural and artistic centre, the abbey, once under the protection of kings, carries the scars of its many years watching over the region.
Jumièges has had a turbulent history.
One of the most ancient and important monasteries in the Western world, the abbey was founded in 654 by Saint Philibert, a courtier at the court of king Dagobert 1st. Destroyed in 841 by the Vikings and again during the Hundred Years War, it was used as a source of dressed stone after the French Revolution.
Despite its many wounds, the great silhouette seems engraved forever in the landscape. Its surviving structures, though bare now and stripped of their finery, continue to give off a certain power of their own. The vestiges of the cloisters and the conventual buildings are dominated by impressive twin towers 150 ft high which enclose the Romanesque facade.
The park and its ancient trees give the measure of what Victor Hugo called, "the most beautiful ruin in France". Draped in white limestone, watching over the banks of the Seine, it lives with the rhythm of the seasons, elegant and secret.
Worth a visit
- July and August : Every Saturday evening the site is magically brought to life by the "Nocturnales", when visitors may walk around the darkened site under the constantly-changing illumination of the Abbey walls, accompanied by music. An unforgettable experience.
- Saint-Wandrille (website in French)
- Caudebec-en Caux
- The fruit trail
- The abbey trail
- Parc Naturel Régional des boucles de la Seine-Normande (Seine Valley Regional Nature Park)
- Saint-Martin-de-Boscherville and the Abbey of Saint-Georges