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Soft-boiled eggs and philosophy: the life behind Bernardins' walls

The façade | / CC-BY-NC-SA
Cistercian Enseignement Paris Bernardins college

The abbey was founded in 1245 by abbot of Clairvaux, Etienne of Lexington. And yet, the business wasn't simple... The context?

At that time, Cistercian monks raised their monastery in remote lands, because this order said their lives should be make of obedience, poverty, humility...

With his brand new abbey, Lexington had to convince his superiors to send young monks in Paris. Paris, place of all sins and debauchery...

Anyway, they owned 5 hectares between river Seine and rue Saint-Victor, in a place called clos du Chardonnet, in order to raise the abbey, from 1248 to 1260.

The monks building was completed first: it's a 71 metres long room, composed of a scriptorium ("study"), a large vaulted room on the ground floor, a kitchen, a refectory and a classroom.

It was a blend of a monastery and a school, and they worked hard here! About fifty monks woke up at 4:00 AM and started to learn philosophy and theology, until 9:00 PM.

In the end of the 17th century, we had about 80 scholars. When the French revolution came, the abbey was seized: only 6 monks left!

Then, it was transformed into a jail, a repository then into a fire station. Completely abandoned in 1990, it was owned by the bishopric in 2001 in order to house a place of debates and searches: the Cathedral School.

About the the author

I'm fond of strolls and History, with juicy and spicy details!