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Grandselve

Founded in 1114 by Géraud de Sales, Grandselve became a cistercian monastery in 1144 when it was affiliated to Clairvaux. The first hundred years saw a dramatic development of the real estate through donations and alms. Grandselve took control of Fontfroide and was able to create a few daughter-abbeys. The XIIIth century was the time for intense construction activity, necessary to house a large community of monks and lay-brothers. The church was dedicated in 1253. Near the end of the century, the abbey founded two cities and created Saint-Bernard?s College in Toulouse. The 100-year War stops this prosperity. Later, subjected to the commendam system from 1476, it managed rather well through the Religious wars (XVIth century). The French Revolution, however, will ruin Grandselve. It was sold in 1791 to private owners who decided to make money by selling its walls for construction materials. Only the gate-house will survive as it could easily be kept as a residence. Turned into farming, the site fell in oblivion. The unexpected discovery of magnificent pavements in 1969 will be the wake-up signal: excavations revealed the place of the church chevet as well as walls and significant elements of furniture. Today, numerous remains are on display in a museum established on the monastery site. Hundreds of box-trees were planted to present the make-up of the walls.

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