pdf

The Villers Abbey, part of Wallonia's exceptional cultural heritage

  • Discover the Villers Abbey, in Villers-la-ville in the Walloon Brabant region
  • Abbey
  • Arena
  • Park/garden
  • Architectural heritage
  • Religious heritage
  • Vegetable garden - medicinal plants
  • Museum & discovery

The Villers Abbey, built in 1146, now in ruins is a stunning witness of how the Cistercian Monks lived. The site is considered one of the most complete in Europe as it features remains of all the buildings used daily.

History

This extensive monastic complex constructed in the 13th century is an evocative memorial to the small Cistercian community which initially settled here in 1146. Within two centuries of its founding, the monastery had become a wealthy landowner with more than three thousand brothers, 100 monks and an abbot running a large estate of more than 100 square kilometres. Ransacked in the French revolution and allowed to fall into disrepair over the following two centuries a walk through the lofty walls and arches surviving today gives a vivid insight into abbey life over the centuries. From the chauffoir, where the chimney of the only room kept warm all year is still standing, to the impressive cloisters of the church and the transept, the sheer size of the complex cannot fail to impress. Outside the walls, the square garden which reflects the Cistercian ideals of order and balance is bordered by high chestnut trees and was used by the monks to supply vegetables for their table. Beyond, a less formal area was used to cultivate medicinal plants. The ruins lie in a pretty wooded valley and there are themed-based guided visits or discovery walks around the Abbey and its lands available for visitors. Every year in August an international choir festival takes place in its floodlit ruins.

Conclude your visit with stopping at the abbey's microbrewery and vineyard.

Visiting the Villers Abbey

Visit the estate with the free brochure or audioguide for adults (available in English, French, Dutch and German).

At the heart of the ruins are 5 fantastic gardens: the Jardin des Simples (inspired by the medicinal garden used by monk in Middle Ages), the Jardin des Moines (a modern medicinal garden), the Jardin de l'Abbé (a French style garden), the Jardin de la Pharmacie (a 10 acres ornamental garden on the hill) and the Jardin des Senteurs and its meditative path (follow this scented path all the way to the Saint-Bernard chapel).

Many activities are organised throughout the gardens during the year, as well a musical shows and theatre play.

The abbey's tactile slate

"Slates" (modern digital ones!) are lent to the visitors. Augmented reality makes the experience interactive, allowing children and adults to see the abbey differently. Fictive characters present parts of the estate, let you see what the site was like in the past and give you access to a wide variety of details.

Visitors with specific needs

The Villers Abbey is one of the many sites certified by Access-i (meaning with facilities or/activities adapted to travellers with specific needs). You will find more details on the website to plan your visit.

 

 

Schedule

From 01 January to 31 December 2019.

April 1st to October 31st: 10 am to 6 pm

November 1st to March 31st: 10 am to 5 pm

Price

Individual

€ 9
€ 7
€ 7
€ 4

Group

€ 8
Free for children under 6. School groups: 2.50 €/person (upon presentation of a valid teacher accreditation). Tablet: 5 € Audio guide 1.5 € Group visit: 15 persons min.

Facilities

Services

  • Animation
  • Credit cards accepted
  • Outdoor catering
  • Indoor catering
  • Audioguide
  • Library or document centre
  • Educational service
  • Visitor guide for groups

Equipement

  • Lift
  • Mobility translation booth
  • Cafe
  • Garden
  • Daylight
  • Shop
  • Training materials provided
  • Car parking
  • Cycle rack
  • Parking
  • Restaurant
  • Common bathroom
  • Terrace

Animals

    Pets allowed

    Visites

    FR - EN - German - NL
    Audioguide/mobile app/tablet

    Additional information

    Parking busYes
    The information provided is an indication only. We advise you to inquire directly with the organisers of the event that interests you before you leave.