16 Sep 2009

Journees du Patrimoine: Abbaye de Paix-Dieu

So, about a kilometer down the road from the Chateau de Jehay (see yesterday's post) was an old cistercian Abbey founded by nuns in the 13th century: l'Abbaye de Paix-Dieu. The current buildings were built in the 17th and 18th centuries in brick and limestone (the colour is typical of architecture from the Mosane region).

Check out the old water-mill:

Although currently privately owned (it was sold off in 1797 after the French Revolution), it was declared a Monument in 1974 and in 1996 the Walloon Government leased most of it (except for the farmhouse and lands) for archaeological work, to restore the buildings and use the site as a Centre on Restoration Crafts... it's become an important site for people (artisans, construction workers, architects, engineers, art historians, archaeologists...) to come and learn or perfect their skills in ancient construction techniques. They also have a dorm room in the old Abbess's apartments for schoolkids to come for 4 days and awaken their interest in archaeology.

Thanks to another wrong turn (damn the lack of signs on small country roads!) I made it there just to late for the last guided tour... but since the same thing happened to another 4 people the head archaeologist from the site just decided to take us out and explain the work that was being done herself! Sweet! It's cool getting your info from the boss herself... ;o)

Here you can see the south side of the old Church, under scaffolding, and in the background the old infirmary where the current owner lives:

Just on the other side of the digs you can get a better impression of how the buildings are connected, the Abbess's apartments to the Church, which used to be connected to the destroyed cloisters. The metal mesh with glass roofs will be a garden wall to recreate the feeling of separation in the ancient Abbey.

In the old brewery they're working aluminum and also re-building the top of the pigeon roost tower.

Check out the wooden pegs holding it together:

Here's the farmhouse, still used by the current owner:

Driving away... the small tower was the pigeon roost.

Tomorrow: one crazy tower built in the 1960s by a very talented (and slightly crazy) guy: philosopher, architect, artist, palaeontologist...


  1. I love to see restoration projects such as this one…preserving history. The craftsmanship is stupendous, thank you for showing us a close-up of the pegs. I'd love to be schoolchild and be able to stay in the dorm!

  2. I am so glad that you shared this...I love the whole thing..and believe that you were simply meant to be with the boss...smiles.


Hey there! Yes you! The quiet one in the back... I'd love it if you hung out for a bit and shared your thoughts!

I might stop by your place with an answer, but I'm more likely to reply right here so click on "email follow up comments" if you'd like to see what I and others have to say and come continue the conversation! ;o)