Abbaye de Flaran

Every then and again, we will take a Sunday drive (sometimes even on a Saturday) out into the country, which for a person in the 31 means the Gers. Often we would head towards Condom (insert your own, um, joke) or Larressingle and pick up a bottle of armagnac. On the way, we would go through the small town (they’re seemingly all small in the Gers) of Valence-sur-Baise, home to the Abbaye de Flaran.

Every time we drove past it, I thought that it looked like an interesting place (even though you can’t see much from the road), but we had never stopped to check it out. And so it was that one bright Sunday – or maybe it was a Saturday – we decided to make the short (1h10m) drive to the abbey.

‘Twas time well spent.

Turns out the abbey is the number one tourist destination in the Gers. As we Americans might say” Who’d a-thunk it?

The abbey, built in 1151, was home to an order of Cistercian monks and it stayed with them until the Revolution. Then it passed from person to person before ending up with the Gers departement in 1972 and opened to the public.

View of the courtyard.

View of the courtyard.

The cloister.

The cloister.

Inside the church.

Inside the church.

Balcony view of the cloister.

Balcony view of the cloister.

But what really makes the place stand out is its series of rotating art exhibitions. When we were there, we saw sculptures by Dali and Renoir, sketches by Picasso, and paintings by Matisse, Turner, Renoir and more. Alas, they didn’t permit cameras in the gallery or I could have shown you an incredible piece by Dali of a chicken’s head on a donkey’s body, scaled for size of course.

Still, it was a great way to spend a Sunday (or was it a Saturday?) afternoon.

The church as seen from the garden.

The church as seen from the garden.

Afterward, we stopped in Valence and saw some sheer cliffs acting as the town’s defense and strolled through the main square.

Steep cliffsides acting as ramparts at Valence.

Steep cliffsides acting as ramparts at Valence.

The town hall and the church.

The town hall and the church.

For more photos, click on Abbaye photos.

 

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About skinsphins

The stories of a 'never out of the country until we moved to France' American.
This entry was posted in Entertainment, Food and drink, Organizations, Travel and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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