Pope Jean XXII raised our abbey to a bishopric in the 14th c. and Maillezais became rich. 200 years later, did you know the bishop Geoffroy d’Estillac hosted his friend Rabelais, the famous French doctor-writer from the Renaissance, who lived here 7 years, before his going for Paris?
Rabelais, first a Franciscan monk, clashed with his superiors who charged him with heresy (the swine one red Greek). All his books were seized. So Rabelais changed of religious order, he left for the Benedictine Maillezais abbey, with all those well-read, open-minded monks… Whoa, real happiness! Rabelais wrote a big part of his famous novel Gargantua here in the quiet library...
Let's meet another famous French man, now, in our abbey. At that time, Maillezais was seized by Protestant troops during the war of Religion: Agrippa d’Aubigné, grand-father of the famous Madame de Maintenon (king Louis XIV’s mistress)! He was born in Charente and was a great Protestant poet: in Maillezais, he was appointed governor during the war.