Zen and contemplation at the Abbey Gardens
The beauty of nature and inner peace
Villeneuve-les-Avignon is a timeless place. Sheltered within the walls of Saint-André fort, it stands on the Mont-Andaon opposite the city of Avignon. Around the magnificent abbatial palace, where exhibitions are regularly held, the remarkable gardens, the pine forest and the archaeological relics are infused with the essences of a new botanical path.
HISTORY AND EXHBITIONS AT THE ABBATIAL PALACE
A registered Historical Monument since 1947, Saint-André Abbey and its gardens are a haven of peace.
Nowadays, only the abbatial palace remains, but it perfectly renders the splendor of the place. Once we’ve passed through the entrance to the estate, we find ourselves beneath the vaulted ceilings of the large, honey-coloured stone building. Films, icons and ancient texts retrace the history of the Abbey, beginning with the story of St. Casarie, a 6th-century venerated hermit, who marks the origin of spiritual life on this hill. Then came the rebirth of this place thanks to Elsa Koeberlé, with her love for art, the gardens… and cats!
Several alternating exhibitions take place here: painting, sculpture, photography, concerts on summer evenings… No mode of expression is forgotten. Sybille Friedel’s exhibition, “Morphologie” (Morphology), has been extended to the 28th June. It tells the story of these gardens through the black and white filter of this artist, who loves to build bridges between all art forms.
Did you know?
Workshops are also put on regularly. Currently, enjoy the calligraphy workshops led by Sybille Friedel, who is the subject of the current exhbition. The next workshop will take place on the 6th June at 10am.
MAGIC AT THE PARK
A poetic spirit inhabits this place, with its different, separate areas spread over 2 hectares of vegetation. Statues, large terraces, ponds, walkways and a pergola form a sublime, calming route. The art of the Italian gardens in front of the building, and the Mediterranean gardens around the edge, form a magnificent mosaic of colours and scents. On the balcony which leads to the terraces, motionless cherubs standing at the foot of tall cypress trees smile at us and guide the way.
Then, the round stone tables of the Italian garden invite us to pause in front of the two ponds scattered with water lilies. Beneath the great arch, a gentle slope bordered with poppies and dandelions leads to the botanical path. Asphodel, phillyrea, strawberry trees, euphorbia… 75 different Mediterranean plant species adorn this path, which leads all the way up to St. Casarie’s Chapel at the top of the hill. Below, the former cemetery lies beside an olive grove.
Did you know?
The gardens of the Abbey were used as a filming location for several scenes of the popular 70s TV series “La demoiselle d’Avignon”, based on the novel of the same name by Frédérique Hébrard and Louis Velle.
A GRACEFUL GARDEN
Did you know?
An evening stroll in the gardens as the sun sets! Every Thursday evening until 8pm, the Abbey invites visitors to admire the secret corners of the Mediterranean garden and its unobstructed view in the fading evening light. A moment that will leave you feeling restored.
Yoga facing the Popes’ Palace
Take a deep breath! Each week the Abbey organises “dynamic” yoga sessions (dynamic hatha yoga & vinyasa) and slow-paced (yin) yoga as well as pilates, all taking place outdoors. Settle down on the large terraces facing the splendid view in spring, or in the shade of the olive grove in summer. A well-being break in perfect harmony with the gardens!
Stay up to date, because several other events (including poetry readings set to music) are also scheduled during the summer months. A magical moment to live in the present!
Pilates at Saint André Abbey
“La forêt des sons” by artist Sybille Friedel
Wellbeing and poetry in the Abbey gardens
Welcome to Saint-André Abbey
When to come
All year when there’s lovely weather, except in the winter months
Yoga: every thursday (10h-11h and 18h30-19h30) and saturday (10h-11h)
Visit: refer to the website
Free in the market square or at the foot of Saint-André Fort