Brou, Margaret's heavy burden

Margaret of Austria (1495), Louvre museumMargaret of Austria (1495), Louvre museum | ©Siren-Com / CC-BY-SA

A special wish

Our story began in 1480, when duke of Savoie Philip II was wounded during a hunting party.

His wife Margaret of Bourbon prayed for his recovery: if he came through, she would raise a Benedictine abbey with a church on Brou estate!

Fortunately, the duke was cured, but... the duchess died and her wish wasn't accomplished! The duke put his son Philibert II in charge of the construction, just before he died.

But the family dogged by bad luck... Philibert passed away in 1504, leaving a 24 years-old widow, Margaret of Austria, archduke Maximilian I's daughter.

She had to make her mother-in-law's wish come true. Finally! In 1505, Margaret entrusted monastery's plans to king's painter, Jean Pérréal. Foundations began one year later.

The construction

The young lady often came in Brou in order to keep an eye on the building works.

There was grievance with Perréal, so Loys Van Boghem succeeded him in 1512. In 1516, Jean of Brussels completed graves drawings, then, in 1522, church's choir and transept were finished.

Between 1525 and 1530, stained-glass windows from Flanders were completed by artists from Lyon city.

But Margaret died in 1530 and two years later, the church was dedicated. The buildings were preserved from the French Revolution's damages; the abbey was transformed into a farm, so they could not demolish it.