Abbaye Sainte-Marie de Lagrasse - Provence Beyond
The Lagrasse Abbey, or Abbey of Saint Mary of Lagrasse, was founded in the 7th-century at the village of Lagrasse, between Carcassonne and Narbonne.
Known as Abbaye Sainte-Marie-d'Orbieu or Abbaye Sainte-Marie de Lagrasse in French, it was elevated to the rank of abbey in the 8th century (779) and expanded from the 11th to 18th centuries to a large complex ot Benedictine buildings.
The Abbey is located on the left bank of the Orbieu river, opposite the village of Lagrasse. The original village grew just in front of the abbey until the 12th century, when a bridge was built and the current village began on the east side of the river.
In 1792 the state took over the abbey buildings and threw out the monks. The abbey was then split into two parts, la grande partie and la petite partie. The large part is still privately owned, but was eventually sold to a religious order, and still functions today as an abbey. The small part was also privately owned, eventually by the mayor of Lagrasse; it's now owned by Departement of the Aude, and has been open for public visits since 2007.