Gruchet Le Valasse 2023 Abbaye Du Valasse Surrounded By Nature In Its Park CsntGruchet Le Valasse 2023 Abbaye Du Valasse Surrounded By Nature In Its Park Csnt
©Gruchet Le Valasse 2023 Abbaye Du Valasse Surrounded By Nature In Its Park Csnt|CSNT

Valasse Abbey

In Gruchet-le-Valasse, between Rouen and Le Havre, there’s an abbey: l’Abbaye du Valasse. With a history spanning more than nine centuries, this abbey has lived many exciting lives. Today, it is a haven of peace where Caux Seine Normandie tourisme has its offices, and where seminars, weddings, trade shows and public events are organized. It’s a place where you can recharge your batteries while you work, a place for sharing and meditation.

The Abbey in the past

The Abbaye du Valasse bears another name, Notre Dame du Vœu. In the 12th century, Mathilde the Empress, the granddaughter of William the Conqueror, vowed to found an abbey while held captive in Oxford. At the same time, Galéran de Melan made an identical vow if he managed to survive a terrible storm on his return from the Crusades. Having both survived, they decided to found an abbey.

The Archbishop of Rouen advised Galeran de Meulan and Mathilde to unite their vows, and on February 18, 1156, Pope Adrian IV confirmed the foundation of Le Valasse Abbey under the name of Notre Dame du Vœu.

A community of Cistercian monks settled there. Cistercian monks obeyed the rule of Saint Benedict, focusing on prayer, manual labor and land reclamation.

Over the centuries, the Valasse Abbey was to suffer the ravages of history.

During the Hundred Years’ War, the abbey church was destroyed. It was then rebuilt in the 15th and 16th centuries in a Gothic style, far removed from the sobriety of the Cistercian style. But the Abbey suffered further damage in 1516.

During the French Revolution, the Abbey was sold as national property. Its abbey church was destroyed, and the rest of the Abbey became the residence of a wealthy Le Havre merchant: Jacques-François Begouen, in 1792.

It is to him that we owe the classical château appearance we know today. It was also at this time that architect Pierre-Adrien Paris designed the estate’s surroundings.

These transformations were continued by the Fauquet-Lemaitre family, who became owners of the property in 1833. They left the Abbey after the Second World War.

The Abbaye du Valasse then became a dairy producing a cheese called Le Lillebonne. Cheese production caused considerable damage to the building, which underwent major renovation in the first decade of the 21st century.

The Abbey in the present...

Today, under the impetus of Caux Seine agglo, the Abbaye du Valasse has once again become a place of work and conviviality. Its management was entrusted to the Tourist Office in 2013. Caux Seine Normandie Tourisme has most of its offices there, and has since developed a wide range of activities. These include corporate seminars, trade and consumer shows, weddings and tourist events. More recently, space has been set aside for coworkers. Rental offices are also available for young entrepreneurs.

La Laiterie is a convivial place to stop for a drink or lunch. Its grassy terrace is particularly popular in fine weather.

More than ever, Valasse Abbey is a place of exchange, sharing and work, not far removed from the values of the 12th century Cistercian monks.

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