In 1139, Raymond Trencavel, Vicomte de Béziers, founded the Abbey of Valmagne in the commune of Villeveyrac, near Mèze and the pond of Thau in Languedoc Roussillon. From the 12th to the beginning of the 14th century, it was one of the richest Cistercian Abbeys in southern France.
The Abbey of Valmagne is listed as a historical monument and is also one of the oldest vineyards in Languedoc. The family who have been the owner for nine generations has opened the doors to the vineyard cathedral.
The former church was built on the foundations of a first Romanesque church between 1257 and the end of the 14th century. Visitors can discover the Russian oak wounds, over 400 hectolitres of oak found on the lower sides of the central nave. It consists of a seven-span main nave, bordered by two collateral. In the cloister is the sacristy, the “Capitular Room” also known as “Chapter Room”, the hall, the refectory and the fountain-washbasin.
The Abbey of Valmagne has mainly Gothic architecture and its foundations are Romanes. Basil plane, vaulted in rib cross, its dimensions are equal to the large Gothic cathedrals with 83 meters long and 24.50 meters high in the nave, up to 25 meters high in the transept. The latter gives way to the choir, with almond pillars, classic of Gothic architecture; Finally, the ambulatory closes the choir with nine radiant chapels.
The cloister in the northern gallery
The cloister consists of four covered galleries opening onto a garden. Each area serves all the essential parts of the monastery.
The North “Spiritu” gallery adjacent to the church wall is often called the “Mandatum Gallery or “Collations Gallery”, the monks sometimes came to listen to a holy reading, snacks and recite the Complies Office after the evening meal.
The cloister in the east gallery
The east gallery “Anima” fulfills a high spiritual function by serving: the armarium, the sacristy, the capitular room, the hall and the scriptorium. It is also the oldest part of the abbey, the decorations are made of saw teeth and the vaults in the cradle, typical elements of Romanesque architecture.
The Cloister in the South Gallery
In this gallery you will find the location of the former heater as well as the latrines. A little further away is the former refectory converted into a lounge in the 19th century. Opposite the refectory is the fountain.
The latter is surrounded by an octagonal fence topped with an open dome. The vine that climbs along the dome at more than 180 years old; she resisted phylloxera. The Fountain washbasin is a rare place: there are only two lavatory fountains left in France, Thoronet Abbey and Valmagne Abbey.
The Abbaye de Valmagne is surrounded by gardens and a “farm hostel” restaurant.