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“Great views, wonderful history, horrible modern art displays”

Abbey of Montmajour
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Arles, Les Baux and Saint Remy de Provence from Marseille
Ranked #7 of 72 things to do in Arles
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: This exceptional architectural ensemble was built in the Middle Ages on the island of Mont Majour. The Abbey incorporates a pre-Roman edifice from the 10th century, an abbey church and a 12th century Roman cloister built by Benedictine monks. Montmajour was extended in the 18th century with the second, monumental Saint-Maur monastery to the west. Open:> 1st April to 30th June: from 9.30 a.m. to 6 p.m.> 1st July to 30th September: from 10 a.m. to 6.30 p.m. (everyday).> 1st October to 31st March: from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Closed:> Mondays from 1st October to 31st March.> 1st January, 1st May, 1st November, 11th November and 25th December. Admission fees: Adults : 7,50 €; Concessions (18 to 25) = 4,50 €; Free admission: minors under 18*; Free admission: 18-25 years old* (citizens of one of the 27 countries of the EU or are non-European permanent residents of France) * excluding school groups
Level Contributor
26 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
“Great views, wonderful history, horrible modern art displays”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 11 October 2013

Enjoyed a late afternoon visit today and was glad we timed it perfectly for a guided tour of the Chapel of the Holy Cross, which is just a short walk down the road (only French spoken). I was anxious to see inside this most holy place; but the chapel's amazing simplicity and wondrous symmetry is marred by the ugly display of red plastic elongated bells with red human-like arms grasping red cords attached to machinery that turns to pull the bell cords. Ridiculous, boring and not worthy of this very special, holy structure. Such a disappointment.
Our tour took us back to the main abbey and up to the highest courtyard level where we then ventured out on our own. Climbing the tower afforded the best views of the surrounding farmland and hills--just beautiful. Walking around the exterior courtyards felt more like being within a castle.
The interior building restoration work was great but there is little or no remnants of monastery life itself--furniture, artwork, books, etc. and once again the modern art displays throughout the galleries by Christian Lacroix were so out of sync with the abbey. The very solemnity of the beautiful cloister is totally ruined by the zombie-like figures dressed in priestly robes. So very disrespectful of a holy place. I couldn't wait to leave.
This is a wonderfully preserved piece of history that would be better left empty than cluttered with
Modern art.

Visited October 2013
Thank deeann7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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385 reviews from our community

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English first
Uzes, France
Level Contributor
158 reviews
22 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 92 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 22 July 2013

A powerful and handsome complex of buildings on a hill with glorious views all around. A fascinating and long history of good and bad times. The building is complemented by modern art displays which give context the the scale and majesty of the buildings. A place of wonderful serenity on a hot afternoon. A pity it was so hot as we would have liked to linger.

Visited July 2013
Thank JMP49
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
ann arbor, MI
Level Contributor
312 reviews
33 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 286 helpful votes
“fine, but nothing fantastic”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 13 July 2013

A large Benedictine Abbey just outside Fontvielle, this site is impressive from the roadway. It is nice as being well preserved, but honestly there are other more interesting monasteries to see in the south of France. They have tried to spruce it up by adding modern art exhibits for the Cultural year of Europe hosted in Marseille, and one or two of these are interesting including the circular stairway which artistically represents the stairway that had been in the Abbey and the bells in the small private church about 200 meters away.The latter represents the childhood vision of Christian La Croix who paid for the art exhibition. You can only visit the church as a guided tour (in French). It was nice to see the red glass bells ringing, but otherwise again a bit underwhelming. If you have gone to some of the other magnificent Abbeys in the region, you can save your 7.5 euros on this one; however, if this is your first or one of the first, maybe you will find it fascinating. Clearly other readers enjoyed it. For me it was a lot of climbing up for little reward on a hot day, but I have seen maybe 50 of these so maybe I am jaded...

Visited July 2013
2 Thank aagourmet
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level Contributor
209 reviews
122 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 71 helpful votes
“peacefull visit”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 17 June 2013

nice place to visit, for the moment there is a special exihibition with nice glasswork and clothing. it was selected by Christian Lacroix and is called 'Mon île de Montmajour'. You can also visit exeptionally the small chapel situated outside the abbey.
Don'forget to pay a visit to the restaurant on the parking.

Visited June 2013
Thank Dominique C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Fort Mill, South Carolina
Level Contributor
114 reviews
39 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 59 helpful votes
“The climb to the top is worth it for the views”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 15 June 2013

My husband and I visited the Abbey on a beautiful afternoon in May. Hardly anyone was there. The modern exhibit inside didn't hold much interest for us, but the hike up the stairs for the beautiful view was well worth it.

Visited May 2013
Thank Lynette796
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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