Take the D541 and the D203 from Grignan (or the D4 and the D550).
Surrounded by fields of violet lavender, Monjoyer is a peaceful agricultural village, located far from the crowds...
At the village entrance stands a large white church built in the 19th century.
Then walk up the main street lined with beautiful old stone-built houses and you arrive in the square, with its "mairie", school, fountain and war memorials.
Montjoyer was owned by the Counts of Provence in the 13th century, but all it has kept from its medieval past are a few alleys with covered passageways, and a section of the defensive wall including a gate which must have been the entrance to the village.
Snuggling in an isolated valley, surrounded by wooded mountains, and therefore faithful to the rule of Saint Benoît which recommended silence and withdrawal from the world, to this day the Abbey houses a Cistercian community of roughly thirty monks, aged from 30 to 89, who live on their own toil, help the poor as much as they are able and welcome those who wish to devote a period of their life to meditation.
Despite a few demolitions and many restorations, the abbey has preserved most of the medieval conventual buildings: church, cloisters, sacristy, chapter, monks' room, refectory, kitchens and the entire lay building.
The abbey is not open to visitors; only access to the church is authorised.
But those who are interested can watch a video about monastic life. They will learn that the chapter is the community’s meeting room. Here a chapter of the Rule is read out (hence the name capitulum), on which the Superior then gives a commentary.
They will also learn that the scriptorium is a reading room and study, that the library contains 90,000 books and finally that in the cloisters the small columns are surmounted by capitals displaying a huge variety of foliage and crockets, comprising graffiti and inscriptions from the 14th century, while sentences taken from the Bible run all around the cornice.
The abbey church exudes an atmosphere of contemplation with its very thick walls, massive pillars, semi-circular arches, its ogival archways, and rare windows...
Then it will be time to taste more earthly nourishment in the shop adjoining the video and exhibition room.
Here you will find personal hygiene products, fragrances, creams based on essential oils, medicinal and aromatic plants as well as monastic products made here or in other abbeys: cakes, biscuits, chocolate, confectionery, cold meats, drinks, candles, etc...
Not forgetting the religious library where you can buy the book "God for every day", Koutaba’s CD "Blessed be God" or the audio CD "Mary"...