We visited this monastery early in the morning (10am). It was a very steep switchback drive up to the Monastery but in Provence, if you want to visit a touristic site, they are usually perched on a mountain side somewhere up near the heavens!
As a matter of fact, if you wish to feel even more spiritual, the St-Jacques-de-Compostelle trail runs through the monastery’s site and young pilgrims are able to spend the night. They are also the only ones that get to visit the cloisters as they are blocked out to any public access. This was pretty sad, considering that it looked beautiful looking into it through Plexiglas windows from inside the chapel.
The morning that we went, there was a team of web-engineers with all of their equipment. The monastery wanted to update their website, so they got a team of professionals to dash and roam around everywhere we thought was interesting to go, which turned out to be annoying.
Access to the 12th century mosaics was blocked with a velvet rope. Having gone through a lot of trouble to come here and being aggravated by this team in my way, I jumped the rope to photograph these marvelous war drawings around the altar. There’s a lot of irony in that last sentence…
Walking around the site, we fell upon some almond trees, a cemetery for the monks that had passed on and a great view of the Durance River overlooking Les Mées and their penitent rock formations.
The monastery also has a gift shop with many pleasant things. Local products, religious artifacts, food, Provence specialties, and books.
Aside from the team, I would have loved to go back…especially for the Official Church visit in the afternoon. Hint: Check the opening hours if you want to visit this place, otherwise, access is restricted.
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