Jumieges Abbey | Attraction Guides | History Hit

Jumieges Abbey

Jumieges, Normandy, France

Luke Tomes

24 Nov 2020

About Jumieges Abbey

Jumièges Abbey is a former Benedictine monastery, situated in the commune of Jumièges in the Seine-Maritime département, in Normandy, France.

Jumieges Abbey history

Ranking among the most beautiful ruins in France, Jumièges Abbey now stands as a stark yet picturesque shell, all that remains of its once glorious past.

In fact, Jumieges Abbey was one of the oldest monasteries in Western Europe, tracing its history back as far as the mid-7th century, when it was founded by Saint Philibert. This first incarnation of Jumièges was destroyed by the Vikings but it would be rebuilt by the dukes of Normandy. The monastery was consecrated anew in 1067 by William the Conqueror.

There was an irony here, for Robert Champart, its great builder-priest, had been Bishop of London under King Edward the Confessor as a reward for his support of Edward’s claim to the English throne in 1042. Edward had himself spent 25 years in exile in Normandy and knew Jumièges well. Robert did well since he’s the one who appears crowning Harold Godwinson in Westminster Abbey on the Bayeux Tapestry, but managed somehow to keep his job after the conquest!

For several centuries after Jumieges thrived – despite damage during the Hundred Years War. It then prospered until the Wars of Religion in the 17th century, which saw it sacked by the Huguenots.

As with so many monastaries in the Age of Revolution, Jumieges Abbeymet its end during the French Revolution, when the monks were forced to leave and the abbey closed. Following the Revolution, Jumièges Abbey was sold off, stripped of valuables and much of the masonry pillaged for other structures.

Jumieges Abbey today

Today, the attractive ruins of Jumièges have become a popular attraction, and visitors can explore the remains of the abbey as well as its scenic grounds. The Department of Seine-Maritime has owned Jumièges Abbey since 2007.

They recently decided to open the abbatial dwelling to the public, which is part of their policy in favour of visual arts, and to organize prestigious seasonal exhibitions. The magnificent lapidary collection kept in the abbey is associated to the exhibitions in order to create a dialogue between these major pieces of medieval art and contemporary creations.

Getting to Jumieges Abbey

The address of the abbey is 24 Rue Guillaume le Conquérant, 76480 Jumièges, France. Jumièges is situated on the right bank of the River Seine and in one of its loops, between Rouen (30km) and Le Havre (50km).

If you are travelling from Rouen, take the departmental road D982 towards Le Havre-Duclair, then the D65 or the D143 once Duclair is passed. From Le Havre, take the highway A131 towards Rouen, then the departmental road D982.

If travelling from the left bank, take the A13 (Paris-Rouen-Caen), then exit 25 “Bourg-Achard/Pont de Brotonne”. After that, take the D313 towards Pont de Brotonne, and get on board the ferry (there is a crossing every 20 minutes); the abbey is 800 metres from the landing-stage.

There is disabled access by the exterior car park.

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