Nieul sur L’Autise

The Abbaye Royale Saint-Vincent at Nieul sur L'Autise

The Abbaye Royale Saint-Vincent at Nieul sur L’Autise

The Abbaye Royale Saint-Vincent Cloisters

The Abbaye Royale Saint-Vincent Cloisters

This is an extremely charming and beautiful village situated only 12 km from Fontenay-le-Comte in the south of the Vendée. The renowned Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine (Aliénor d’Aquitaine) was born here in 1122 and her mother Aénor de Châtellerault was buried in the cloisters of the Royal Abbeye St.Vincent.

Abbaye Royale Saint-Vincent

The Abbaye Royale Saint-Vincent was founded in 1068 and benefited from the protection of the counts of lower Poitou and also the Dukes of Aquitaine. It is one of only a few monastic complexes in the lower part two region to have conserved its three main elements of church, cloister, and convent in superb condition. In fact, astonishingly, it’s 12th century Romanesque cloister is the only one of its kind to have survived in its entirety in the whole of western France. In these cloisters you can find Aénor de Châtellerault’s sculpted funeral niche next to the chapter house. Eleanor, her daughter, granted the Abbey royal status when she became Queen of France by her first marriage to Louis VII.

Later, by her marriage to Henry II (Plantagenet) she was to become Queen of England. Although the abbey was burnt down by the Huguenots in 1568 and went into decline for centuries, it was listed as an historic monument in 1862 and restored in an excellent fashion.

Activities and features available throughout the year include an exhibition on monastic life, touch books and state of the art museum technology. Of special interest to music lovers will be the display of medieval instruments, each magically begins to play as you approach. At the side of the abbey, the Romanesque church has some wonderful carving around its portal betraying the seven deadly sins as well as geometric motifs and animal masks.

Abbaye Royale Saint-Vincent Photo Gallery

Maison d'Aliénor - a restored 19th-century house

Maison d’Aliénor – a restored 19th-century house

Maison d’Aliénor

This restored 19th-century house can be found on the south side of the abbey and within you will find a virtual tour by leading characters from Nieul-sur-L’Autise’s history.

Maison de la Meunerie

This restored picturesque 18th-century watermill was built around 1728 and was returned to active use by a local association in 1997 today producing around 50 tons of flour a year for the local boulangeries. You can view the large oak paddle wheel as it revolves to the flow of the mill stream and you can also see all the workings and gears that turn the mill stones. The two ground floor rooms of the millers house have been refurnished to show how the Miller and his family would really have lived.

The local restaurant: Creperie du Moulin du L’Autise serves sweet and savoury pancakes and other snacks inside a small stone house near to the town’s watermill at 15 Rue du Moulin (Tel: 02 51 50 47 13)