Pontlevoy , which you
will find 25km east of Amboise is a village which prospered due to the presence of its Abbey
and campus but it has now fallen under the 'sleepy village'
spell with not a lot happening other than the odd tourists
looking to take in a piece of the abbey's history.
now plays host to the European-American Centre for
a private concern offering a unique
The Abbey's origins date back to
the 11th century when apparently as the fulfilment of a vow
to the Virgin Mary for saving his ship at sea, Gueldin de
Chaumont a returning Crusader provided the founds for the
building of a Benedictine Abbey which would form the basis of prosperous order of the
monks. It has, like many buildings in France throughout its
history, been affected by religious instability and
wars. In the 13th century it was ravaged by fire which led
to the loss of what was at the time one of the largest
ecclesiastical libraries in the whole of France.
Restoration of the chapel
was begun at the end of After 'The Hundred Years War' but
was not completed due to lack of funds. It wasn't until into
the 17th century under the instructions and patronage of
Cardinal Richelieu that it was returned to its position as a
great religious and learning centre. This was when the grand
central building was added giving
the regimental look of the
military academy it was to become.
1776 by the order of Louis XVI - the large cedar of
Lebanon in the courtyard was apparently planted in honour of
his accession to the throne. The buildings managed to
survive the French Revolution and The Great Wars building a
strong reputation as an academy up until 1973 when it
activity as an "International School of Thought" began in
2002 when it passed into private hands. In its new capacity
it provides programmes for study abroad as well as catering
for conferences and weddings.
The campus also houses
Municipal Museum which has rooms dedicated to one of the
village's ifamous sons - Auguste Poulain - the chocolate
maker of distinction . It consists mainly of his
advertising cards which at the time were equivalent to and
as collectable as the soccer cards of today. There are other
rooms displaying some of the photograph collection of
Louis Clergeau, a local watchmaker, and his daughter that
were taken between 1902 and 1963 --over 10,000 -- displaying
life in the village. A truly unique window to its history
The village has
a small market on Thursday mornings.
sponsors an annual classical music festival on Saturdays
during the months of July and August which is performed
within the Abbey.