Bellevaux 1

Ancient Abbaye of Bellevaux

Bellevaux was founded in 1119 as the first daughter house of the primary abbey of Morimond and as the first cistercian abbey in the Franche-Comté. It's foundation was an initiative of the family de la Roche. Their donations as well as thouse of numerous other nobles in the region assured a rapid growth and prosperity.

Many members of noble families had their tombs in the church, the lateral chapels and the cloister. One inhumation contributed particularly to the fame of the abbey: Peter II archbishop of Tarentaise died in Bellevaux in 1174 and was inhumated, at his own request, in the choir of the church. The widespread veneration lead to his canonization in 1191.

The wars and plagues of the 14th century put an end to the golden age of the abbey. Another crisis was the Thirty Years' War that ravaged the Franche-Comté.

The actual buildings reflect the reacquired economic blossom. The French Revolution marked the end of all monasteries in french territory. The inventory and buildings of Bellevaux abbaye were sold at auction by the Republic in 1791. During the following decades all the buildings, that had not been reconstructed in the 18th century, were demolished. From the huge romanesque church only fragments survive. The actual main building, called 'castle' since the 19th century, is the ancient conventual building of the abbey, constructed 1786-1788 under the direction of Joseph Cuchot, architect in Besançon.

Particularly well preserved is the abbey's hydraulic system. Part of it, northwest of the private property, is currently restored by the municipality of Cirey-lès-Bellevaux and is freely accessible.




Ancienne Abbaye de Bellevaux
70190 Cirey-lès-Bellevaux

Visit Guided visits by appointment

Tel. +33 (0)3 84 91 95 34
or 00 41 79 833 04 32 (mobile)

Coordinates 47° 24’ 14,2’’ N 6° 07’ 13,9’’ E
Other infos Site of the owners



Bellevaux chapiteau

Capital from the abbay church dedicated in 1143


Postal card from the 1920ies, side of the cloister


Bellevaux 1928

Photo from 1928, in the background the village of Cirey-lès-Bellevaux