The Cistercian Abbaye Royale de l’Épau was founded in the 13th century to ensure the salvation of its founder, the Spanish-born Berengaria of Navarre, queen consort of England as the wife of Richard the Lionheart. Today, this lovely site on the outskirts of the city of Le Mans is located only a short tram ride from the city’s train station, less than an hour from Paris.
The abbey was burnt down during the Hundred Years’ War and rebuilt in the 15th century, giving it its current graceful form. After the monks were ousted during the French Revolution, it was variously used as farm outbuildings and an orphanage. On its way to becoming a ruin, it was saved when the Sarthe department bought it in 1959 and gradually restored it over the years.
Today, while some spaces are used for departmental political functions, the abbey is open to visitors, who come to admire its buildings and grounds, see indoor and outdoor photo exhibitions and attend concerts.
- Coin Alloy Name: Nordic Gold
- Coin Alloy Color: old gold
- Coin Diameter: 34,00
- Coin Thickness: 2,25
- Coin Edge: serrated, fine
- City: LE MANS
- Country: France
- Available: yes, exact location unknown
- Location: LE MANS, France