The abbey

The abbey

The former “Monasterii Villare”, which gave its name to the town, is amongst the greatest monastery establishments of the 7th century in the lower valley of the Seine.

It was there that Saint Philibert, founder of Jumièges, created a women’s monastery in 684 later destroyed by the Vikings and only rebuilt at the beginning of the 11th century.

Thanks to the granting of the Charter of Exemption by the Duke of Normandy, Robert the Devil, which provided the abbey with its autonomy and its own means of existence, the construction of the main church started in the second half of the 11th century. Throughout the Middle Ages the abbey enjoyed considerable prestige and contributed to the prosperity of Montivilliers.

The French Revolution definitively abolished monastic life. The convent buildings, initially converted into a prison, were broken up.

The abbey merged with the town.

The entire abbey is classified as « Historic Monument » in 1992 during the restoration of the abbess’s dwelling for installation of the municipal Library in 1994.

The cloister and all the convent buildings (chapter house, dormitories and refectories) are restored from 1997 to 2000.

This second phase enabled the return of the original architecture, the creation of cultural and tourist center.

The temporary exhibition hall and a program of guided tours and activities allow visitors to discover the sites throughout the year.