Spiritual retreat in France: the top 10 of the most beautiful places

► Our Lady of the Hermitage

Located in a valley surrounded by forests, on the heights of Noirétable (Loire), at an altitude of 1,110 m stands the sanctuary of Notre-Dame de l’Hermitage. According to tradition, the Virgin would have appeared to a hermit near the sanctuary, and a spring would have sprung up below the altar of the chapel.

A few hundred meters away, a reception house and a hotel are run by the community of the Sisters of Notre-Dame-de-la-Salette. Pilgrims, individuals, seniors, families and groups are welcome all year round, except in November. Many hiking trails pass near this sanctuary conducive to meditation.

Website : https://www.notredame-hermitage-noiretable.fr

► The Home of Sufferchoix

Built at the top of a rocky outcrop in the heart of the Provençal countryside, the Foyer de Sufferchoix (Lambesc, Bouches-du-Rhône) offers a breathtaking view of the Lubéron, Saint-Victoire, Étoile and Sainte -Balm. Between pine forest and scrubland, the foyer offers so-called fundamental or deepening spiritual retreats, weekends, spiritual days, and thematic sessions. The communities of the Foyers de Charité are communities of life made up of lay people, men and women, and priests who respond to a vocation of service and Christian spiritual formation.

Information : https://www.foyer-sufferchoix.fr

► Lérins Abbey

Founded by Saint-Honorat in the 5th century, the Abbey of Lérins was a radiant center of monasticism in the West. The Cistercian monks still live on a 40-hectare island off the coast of Cannes (Alpes-Maritimes), leading a fraternal life of prayer and work. The unique location of the place, wild and removed from the world, attracts many retreatants who come to share the daily life and the prayers of these monks.

The retreats are open to all, individually or in groups. Various proposals are open to young people: themed retreats, welcoming visitors or revising exams for students. The island being dotted with oratories, the retreatant can isolate himself and make a short pilgrimage of about three kilometers if he wishes.

Website : http://www.abbayedelerins.com

► Abbey of Saint-Pierre de Solesmes

This majestic abbey overlooks the Sarthe valley above Sablé-sur-Sarthe, between Le Mans (Sarthe) and Angers (Maine-et-Loire). Place of the rebirth of the Benedictine order in France in the 19th century, the abbey is inhabited by a community known for having found the sources of Gregorian chant, intoned at the office. The hotel industry welcomes only men and advocates silence. Women and families can stay in the houses of the village which belong to the Benedictine monks, or go to the Sainte-Cécile de Solesmes abbey, where a community of Benedictines lives. Everyone can take part in community prayer and ask for spiritual help from a monk.

Information : https://www.abbayedesolesmes.fr

► Rhuys Abbey

In Morbihan, in southern Brittany, this former 6th century abbeye century has become a cultural and spiritual reception center where lay people and the community of the Sisters of Charity of Saint-Louis offer stays. At the edge of the ocean, the abbey welcomes individually or in groups, for a day, a weekend or a week, all those who wish to take some time away, in the middle of an exceptional natural environment. Spaces for rest, restoration, work, relaxation are available to retreatants who can also take advantage of the paths of the wild coast located 200 meters from the center.

Website : http://www.abbaye-de-rhuys.fr

► Abbey of Our Lady of Sénanque

Immersed in lush greenery, in the middle of lavender fields, the Abbey of Notre-Dame de Sénanque (Gordes, Vaucluse) remains one of the witnesses of primitive Cistercian architecture. A masterpiece of Romanesque art, this Luberon abbey is inhabited by a small community of Cistercian monks who receive people or small groups wishing to share their life of prayer in silence and meditation.

Guests, who can stay up to eight days, are invited to participate in community services at their own pace. The unique prayer and walk setting promotes spiritual refocusing.

Information : https://www.senanque.fr

► Spiritual Center of Penboc’h

By the sea, in the Gulf of Morbihan, the Spiritual Center of Penboc’h (Arradon, Morbihan) is run by the Jesuit community of Penboc’h, lay people, priests and nuns of Ignatian spirituality. Open to all those who are in search of interiority, spirituality and meaning, whatever their path of faith, the center welcomes retreatants from all walks of life. Spiritual stops, training sessions, spiritual exercises of Saint-Ignatius, and themed retreats are offered throughout the year… All in an exceptional maritime location to experience a time of solitude conducive to rereading one’s life course by the Word.

Website : http://www.penboch.fr

► La Flatière Charity Home

At an altitude of 1,400 meters, in the Chamonix valley, the Foyer de Charité de La Flatière (Les Houches, Haute-Savoie) disposes the soul to rise and be receptive to the word received in the retreats preached silently. The view of the Mont-Blanc range offers an ideal setting for retreats, wedding preparations and couples sessions. Believers and non-believers are welcome in this home which welcomes children at the same time as their parents in a house nearby, and teenagers for summer camps. Between snowy landscapes and green settings, the Foyer de La Flatière is an ideal site for a retreat carried by the contemplation of Creation.

Information : https://www.flatiere.org

► Sainte-Foy Priory of Conques

On the way to Compostela, Conques (Aveyron) is a magnificent medieval village where the Romanesque abbey of Sainte-Foy was built. The tympanum of the abbey representing the Last Judgment is one of the most famous works of Romanesque art. The abbey hostelry is run by canons of the Mondaye community who receive pilgrims, or any other person on the way: single guests, with family or friends, in search of silence, prayer and beauty, to a spiritual and fraternal halt. Retreatants and passing guests are invited to share in the prayer of the community.

Website : https://abbaye-conques.org

► Notre-Dame de Bonneval Abbey

In a wild valley in the north of Aveyron, in the south of France, the Abbey of Notre-Dame de Bonneval offers a spiritual break for several days to all who feel the need. The community of Trappist Cistercian nuns who have been established there for almost nine centuries lives from their work, in particular from the manufacture of a chocolate known and appreciated in the region.

It is also possible to isolate yourself in nature, beautiful and wild around the abbey: many walks from the monastery allow you to discover its forest, the valley, and the first foothills of Aubrac. A Saint Joseph hermitage, located 1.5 km from the monastery, can accommodate groups of young people.

Information :

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Spiritual retreat in France: the top 10 of the most beautiful places

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