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Fontevraud Abbey was founded in 1100 and was a double monastery, with both monks and nuns on the same site. Robert of Arbrissel declared that the leader of the order should always be a woman and appointed Petronille de Chemillé as the first abbess. She was succeeded by Matilda of Anjou, the aunt of Henry II of England. This was the start of a position that attracted many rich and noble abbesses over the years, including members of the French Bourbon royal family. It also became a refuge for battered women and penitent prostitutes, and housed a leper hospital and a home for aged religious. During the French Revolution, the order was dissolved. The abbey later became a prison from 1804 to 1963. Prisoners–men, women and children–began arriving in 1814. Eventually, it held some 2,000 prisoners, earning the prison the "toughest in France after Clairvaux." Political prisoners experienced the harshest conditions: some French Resistance prisoners were shot there under the Vichy Government. Following closure of the prison came major restoration, an opening to the public in 1985, and completion of the abbey church's restoration in 2006 under architect Lucien Magne. The abbey was originally the site of the graves of King Henry II of England, his wife Eleanor of Aquitaine, their son King Richard I of England, their daughter Joan, their grandson Raymond VII of Toulouse, and Isabella of Angoulême, wife of Henry and Eleanor's son King John. However, there is no remaining corporal presence of Henry, Eleanor, Richard, or the others on the site. Their remains were possibly destroyed during the French Revolution. (Taken from Wikipedia).

I found the history of this one of most impressive abbeys in France very interesting so I went to see it. In one of the old halls there was this modern installation. I do not know its meaning but it seems good subject of a photo, for me rather unusual.
Other view, more general, as Workshop.

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Additional Photos by Malgorzata Kopczynska (emka) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5069 W: 81 N: 12919] (75107)
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