Would you like to take a tour of France and leave the usual tourist routes near Paris?
Then you absolutely must visit Soissons!
The city of Soissons deserves to be visited in complete tranquility, but there is a building that left me very amazed: the ancient abbey of Saint-Jean-des-Vignes.
Come and find out why this beautiful abbey was abandoned and destroyed.
Soisson abbey and its centuries-old history
Once upon a time the Soissons abbey was very important: it was founded by Ugo the Great in 1076, but the current structure dates back to the 13th century and was endowed with towers only between the late 15th and early 16th centuries. Among the activities that covered his monks, important were medicine and herbal medicine but also cultivation.
At the height of its grandeur, Soisson Abbey dominated many surrounding lands and had about 150 monks.
History, however, as often happens, has decided to leave only the memory of its incredible greatness: the church and the monastery were in fact looted by the Huguenots in 1567 and it was decided to destroy it in 1805. The French revolution had caused the fall in ruins.
The facade of Saint-Jean-des-Vignes
The large empty façade of the Soisson abbey looks like the skeleton of a giant: the cloister walls appear as if they came out of a gothic novel. Only the medieval refectory suggests how complex the complex should be.
There are no tinsel or stained glass but only the bare stone. The impression one has is of an indescribable sadness mixed with compassion. One would almost want to go near his old towers and console them.
The skeleton of Soisson Abbey
At the foot of this “violated” structure I was wondering about the fugacity of time, the fact that not even art and beauty escape the corrosion and cruelty of the centuries, the wars and the ruthlessness of man, capable of building things great to then destroy them or abandon them.
Another French place that has experienced an equally touching story is that of the cathedral of Reims that I absolutely recommend you visit.