As part of our June road-trip to Sancerre we visited Fleury Abbey, in Saint-Benoit-sur-Loire a rather remarkable place in a rather unremarkable town. It is a Benedictine abbey and is here because the founding monks had fled from their original abbey in Naples. Montecassino Abbey to the north of Naples had been founded by St,Benedict who died there in 547 . When the abbey was being looted in 580 the monks fled for their own safety and his remains were left behind.Not sure why they chose to stop here but they did and around 630 founded the Fleury monastery. Some of the monks returned to Naples in 672 and recovered the remains of their foundinf father and brought them back to Fleury which then made it the centre of the Benedictine movement,
Entrance to the Abbey church is through the 'Porch-Tower' which dates from 1020
It is an architectural delight with fabulous carved capitals ( you can see much more detail here)
We didn't get many photographs inside as service was just about to commence but it is quite stunning inside
The nave above dates from around 1150 and survived as part of the church in spite of most of the monastery being destroyed during the French Revolution. The monks were forced to leave the site and it would not be until 1865 before members of the order returned and not until 1944 before full monastic life was restored at Fleury.
Like many religious buildings it has had major restoration works which will allow to be appreciated for many years to come. I can't think why we didn't take a photograph of one of its best views but found this good shot on an interesting blog, going under the great name of oldgitonabike!