Fécamp and the Bénédictine liqueur

The palace, stained-glassThe palace, stained-glass | ©isamiga76 / CC-BY

This nice palace was put up by the industrialist Alexandre Le Grand, the man who invented the famous Benedictine liquor.

The legend tells us a Benedictine monk from Fécamp abbey, Bernardo Vincelli, liked to gather plants and concoct remedies. He prepared a miracle drink in 1510... later called Benedictine!

This one quickly became very popular: in 1534, king of France François I visited the abbey and tasted it; he liked it very much!

Meanwhile, the monk wrote the recipe on a piece of paper... a paper hidden for centuries. But Alexandre Le Grand's grandfather found it during the French Revolution, when they destroyed the Fécamp abbey.

He gave the recipe to his grandson Alexandre Le Grand in 1863. With a chemist, he developed the famous drink with 27 plants.

It was a huge success. In 1864, 30 000 bottles were sold. Just before the 20th century, they sold 1 million bottles! On the abbey foundations, Le Grand raised his palace Benedictine, which was in fact his factory.

But the house was burnt in 1892 (a malicious act) and buildings were rebuilt in Neogothic and NeoRenaissance style by architect Camille Albert. Le Grand organized a big party in order to inaugurate the "palace-factory". Nowadays, the liquor is still manufactured here.

By the way, do you know what does DOM mean, on the bottle? Deo optimo Maximo, which means "God almighty", the Benedictine friars' motto...