A little history of Silvacane abbey

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The abbot church - ©Jochen Jahnke / CC0 The abbot church - ©Jochen Jahnke / CC0
Silvacane abbey Abbey Cistercian

A powerful abbey

Located on a vast valley on the river Durance's banks, the abbey was named after swamps: yeah! Silvacane means "reeds' forest"! Anyway, the place was disreputable at that time.

So much that pontiff brothers (their name mean "who raise bridge") decided to raise bridges on swamps and helped travelers to pass by. They also raised a small priory and started to drain the water off. Other monks came, so they needed new buildings: but our priory had mighty protectors, princes of Baux!

Those one allowed monks, in 1147, to found an abbey, because they helped people a lot in the area. The monastery became rich and famous. Monks raised a church and new buildings. Just imagine: Silvacane was so powerful that others were jealous! Especially abbot of Montmajour, in Arles city...

Problems!

In the end of the 13th century, problems began: plague epidemic, river Durance's floods, famines... In 1440, Aix-en-Provence's chapter seized Silvacane, after a short negotiation with the abbot, who gave all the lands and buildings.

Abandoned in the 14th century, the poor abbey was plundered by the English. At the same time, monks started to leave and their goods decreased little by little. Protestants damaged and besieged it during war of Religion.

We must wait until 1607: the proud abbey was but a shadow of its former self, when the French Revolution came... the estate was sold to a merchant who sold every stone...

They tried to restore it in the middle of the 19th century, and the French Nation owned it in 1945. Nowadays, we can visit it. We visit the beautiful abbot church, the 13th century cloister, the chapter room which houses every year a music festival!