Port-RoyalFounded in 1204, the Abbey of Port-Royal de Champs became a focus for Catholic reform in the 17th century under Mother Angélique, who restored the rule of St. Benedict. The community was established in Paris in 1625, and named Port-Royal du Saint-Sacrement. The Abbé de Saint-Cyran became the monastery's spiritual director in about 1635. He encouraged the formation of a group of ?Solitaires?, first in Paris, then at Port-Royal des Champs, and inspired the foundation of the ?Petites Ecoles?, which made Port-Royal one of the crucibles of modern education. The main centre of Jansenism in France, Port-Royal stood as a symbol of resistance to royal power that Louis XIV was unable to overcome throughout his long reign. In 1661, he ordered the dispersal of the Solitaires and the closure of the Little Schools. A respite from anti-Jansenist sentiment came with the Peace of the Church in 1669 and the abbey flourished once more. After the Peace of Nijmegen, however, the ageing monarch sought to banish the Jansenists from his realm. Unable to compel the nuns of Port-Royal to obedience, he had them dispersed in 1709 and their abbey razed to the ground. A major intellectual centre during the 17th century, Port-Royal fascinated several generations of writers and thinkers, including Pascal, Racine, La Fontaine and Mme de Sévigné. The remaining buildings of the former Abbey of Port-Royal des Champs are the large dovecote and the old mill. The abbey's foundations were excavated by the Duc de Luynes. Other features of interest: the farm buildings and Pascal's well, the Little Schools, the Solitaires' lodging-house, the orchard and the historic garden.
Internet : www.port-royal-des-champs.eu
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