In the 11th century, it was a small priory belonging to St-Maurice d’Agaune abbey (Switzerland). A small priory that became an abbey in 1139! Abondance monks left and founded monasteries of Entremont and Sixt: yes! Abondance abbey was very influential, it was the main spiritual and intellectual centre in Alps during the Middle-Ages!
But rien ne va plus! Benedictine rule became laxer. François de Sales was called in reinforcement, but in vain. In 1606, pope replaced Benedictine monks by Cistercian ones. Unfortunately, our abbey was dissolved in 1761...
Prefect Henry Ferrand rediscovered it in 1862: it went to ruins! Maybe because it was raised with molasse stone, a very tender material which easily crumbled away... Ferrand immediately restored the abbey.
Thanks to Ferrand, we can nowadays visit the Gothic buildings. Come here... There, the abbot church (13th century) with its typical bell-tower from Savoie (18th century).
Here, the nice Gothic cloister with magnificent frescos (15th century) made by Giacomo Jaquerio, from Piedmont. Those scenes deal with Virgin Mary’s life, full of small details, but also rural scenes with peasants from Savoie! Nothing to do with religion, but pretty funny!